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The ACS Innovative Instruction program is a part of our larger Faculty Advancement grant program. For more information on the entire Faculty Advancement Program, click here.

Teaching excellence is clearly vital to the success of all ACS colleges and universities, and our Faculty Advancement program will further excellence by encouraging pedagogical experimentation.

We want to continue to develop learning-based pedagogy (such as the process of applying lessons from cognitive science and neuroscience), and blended learning (or technology enhanced teaching). In the last thirty years, advances in cognitive science have greatly increased our understanding of the nuances of learning, and advances in technology have created new opportunities for applying that knowledge. As research and innovation in these areas continue to grow, methods of teaching must be re-evaluated and adjusted accordingly. Therefore we propose a faculty grant program that builds upon our previous initiatives and promotes a generative culture of teaching and learning that continues to renew and invigorate teaching methods in keeping with new advances in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).

In the past, faculty grants have supported the development of blended learning through workshops that introduced faculty to new technologies as well as specific projects such as flipped classrooms in biology and statistics.   In order to remain competitive, liberal arts institutions must continue to support innovative educational applications of technology.  An informal survey of the technological capabilities of our colleges indicates clearly that much has changed since the first rounds of ACS blended learning grants several years ago.  In particular, all of our colleges now have access to relatively low cost means of providing high quality, two-way audio/video communication that can easily be delivered almost anywhere on campus, while also being easier to use. Our current proposal pays greater attention to the coordination of IT-related issues between campuses.

Despite the importance of new advances in cognitive science, ACS grants for learning-based pedagogies have attracted fewer proposals than other categories.  We believe this reflects faculty misperceptions and a lack of information.  While faculty express enthusiasm over improving their teaching, and often integrate into their teaching many of the concepts introduced through cognitive science, they do not define them in such terms.  They may not describe experiential or engaged learning projects in terms of multisensory learning, or interdisciplinary approaches in terms of the memory processes of the brain.

Innovative Instruction also supports modest faculty grants to support course redesigns for online instruction as well as inclusive pedagogy.

How to apply: Check this space and watch your email for an upcoming call for proposals. You must be on the ACS Palladian subscriber’s list to receive the email (click here to subscribe)