Southwest Minnesota State University seeks proposals from MSUAASF employees for
projects or special performance objectives that promote excellence in student learning. The
Special Initiative Awards are supported by funds from the Board of Trustees of the
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and through agreement with the MSUAASF
   Special Initiative Award proposals are expected to support excellence in student
   learning through new personal performance objectives, or by means of projects that are
   of benefit to the University, its mission, and/or the MnSCU system. Proposals are
   encouraged from individuals or a group of ASF members.

   Proposals must include the following three characteristics:

   1. The proposal must involve work that is above and beyond the normal
      requirements of the individual’s position(s); and
   2. Successful achievement of the objectives or outcomes will promote excellence in
      student learning; and
   3. The proposal must clearly identify the methods to be used for assessing outcomes.

   Proposals that have one or more of the following characteristics are especially
   encouraged and will receive priority consideration:

    Successful Student Learning Outcomes
     Project addresses a significant issue or problem related to student learning.
     Project plans to implement and assess new, appropriate teaching and learning
     Project develops or improves programmatic career pathways.
     Project creates or fosters student learning communities.
     Project implements academic research on learning (from cognitive psychology, brain
       biology, reading or language, learning technologies, learning in organizations, etc.).
     Project is likely to improve retention of students in academic programs.
     Project fosters completion of certificates, diplomas, and degrees for students who
       seek them.

   Student Access
     Project focuses on improving college readiness and/or transition from high school to
       college or university.
     Project addresses the needs of new college learners.

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Global Perspectives
 Project includes a focus on the impact of globalization on Minnesota citizens,
 Project increases student awareness of Minnesota’s involvement in a global

Advance Diversity
 Project addresses access and/or success for students from under-represented or
   underserved populations.
 Project increases instructor’s ability to acknowledge and serve the wide array of
   student backgrounds, perspectives, ways of knowing, approaches to learning, and
   purposes for education—in the context of their cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, or
   disability identities.

 Project integrates advanced or innovative instructional technologies into courses in
   ways that improve student learning outcomes.
 Project employs the Internet and network-based technologies in ways that improve
   student access, knowledge and competencies.
 Project creates sharable learning objects or course materials.
 Project offers students experience in real or simulated professional environments.
 Project increases the technology skill and/or information literacy of students.

Collaboration and Partnership
 Collaboration is evident between or among faculty, administrators, or staff.
 Collaboration is evident between or among departments, programs, campuses,
   institutions, or K-12 schools.
 Project improves college and student involvement with business and industry
 Project involves community service-learning or community development.
 Project serves distinct needs of students of color, students from disadvantaged
   backgrounds, students with disabilities, or English-language learners.

Quality and Continuous Improvement
 Project serves or reinforces the University’s mission and goals.
 Project will have impact university-wide or across the system (in multiple
   institutions, across a discipline or program area, etc.)
 Project addresses accreditation criteria and goals.

Stewardship and Providing Value
 Project seeks to improve efficient use of resources via inter- or intra- departmental or
   institutional sharing of resources.
 Project reduces student instructional costs.

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Proposals that have the following characteristics are discouraged and will receive
lower priority:
 Budget supplants existing professional development funds.
 Budget supplants sabbatical or other reassigned time.
 Budget requires non-personnel funds (for equipment, supplies, travel, etc.) that have
   not been identified and obtained or approved.
 Project is ongoing beyond end of grant period, with no committed support for
   sustaining the innovation.
 Project involves minor course or program changes.

All full- and part-time ASF members at Southwest Minnesota State University are
eligible. Individual ASF members pursuing teaching innovation projects are encouraged
to include at least one other faculty or staff member in some capacity; for example, as an
outside peer reviewer for the project, a consultant on instructional design, or an
administrative partner to overcome barriers.

Awards will be limited to $5,000, to be paid as salary compensation only after the
University President and Special Initiative Award Committee have accepted and
approved the ASF member’s report of outcomes. If the proposal assumes or is
dependent upon additional resources or equipment, the kinds, amounts, and sources of
these additional resources or funds must be identified in the application.

Application/Implementation Timeline
Proposals might be implemented over one or two semesters, and may or may not
include work to be done in summer.

 Fiscal Year        Application Deadline         Project Approved

 2007-08            December 1, 2007              December 15, 2007
 2007-08            February 1, 2008              February 15, 2008
 2007-08            March 1, 2008                 March 15, 2008

All final reports must be submitted by June 1, 2008.

                                                                                  PAGE 3 OF 8
Proposal Submission and Review Process

Step 1. Your individual or individuals’ supervisor(s) reviews and approves the

Your supervisor must review your proposal and approve it by signing the Cover Sheet.

Step 2. The Special Initiative Award Committee reviews and approves the

The Special Initiative Award Committee reviews and approves the proposal after the
supervising administrator’s written approval is obtained. The committee may accept,
reject, or make suggestions on how to improve the proposal to make it acceptable.
Rejected proposals and proposals with improvement suggestions shall be returned to
the proposer(s). In the event the committee is deadlocked, the proposal shall be
forwarded, with supporting documentation, to the Provost or designee for a decision.

The committee will use the guidelines below under “Review Criteria” in evaluating
proposals. The first three criteria are required of all Special Initiative Award

Step 3. If approved, you begin the proposed work or project after receipt of notice
from the Provost or designee.

You will receive a letter of notification from the Provost that your project (as proposed,
or as modified, if the committee requested modifications) is approved. The letter will
identify the monetary award to be paid upon successful completion. The monetary
award is also subject to modifications based upon recommendations of the committee
and final approval of the Provost or designee.

Step 4. Upon completion of the project, a final report is sent to the Special
Initiative Award Committee narrating the completion of the project and outlining
how the goals and objective have been achieved.

The monetary award will be paid upon the submission of the final report. The
information contained in the final report (such as partial versus complete success in
achieving outcomes; partial versus complete contributions of all participating members;
etc.) will assist the committee in determining recommended payment of monetary
award. Again, final authorization of monetary payments is reserved for the Provost or

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Review Criteria
1. Work is above and beyond the normal requirements of the individual’s
   position(s): The Special Initiative Award is given for work:
   a. performed at a time outside the normal work hours or duty days, or
   b. involving an activity not normally required, or
   c. encompassing a scope of activities not normally required; or
   d. achieving a level of excellence not attainable under normal constraints of time
      and resources.
2. Promotion of Excellence in Student Learning: Project goals and objectives prioritize
   student learning and successful achievement of students’ goals. Student learning can
   also be promoted through such projects as extra curricular events, social experiences,
   and other innovative methods of engaging students in the university experience.
   Efforts in outreach, building diversity, and developing community partnerships
   which touch student’s lives in an enriching fashion promote learning. Projects in
   research, data collection and other assessment functions that can impact student
   learning in various forms meet these criteria, along with projects contributing to the
   improvement of student services which enhances the overall delivery of the
   university experience and learning.
3. Evaluation and Assessment Methods: An appropriate selection of assessment
   strategies and tools are used throughout the proposed performance period/project.
   The evaluation plan is clearly connected to program or course learning goals and
Review criteria must address the three characteristics above which are required of all
proposals. Additional examples of project review criteria are listed below.

Student Access: Enables students of all backgrounds to enter and succeed in programs
of study. Projects can provide particular support for students from communities
traditionally underserved in higher education or in a given professional field.
Advance Diversity: Enables students and instructors to better acknowledge, and
incorporate into course content and activities, diverse identities and perspectives.
Global Perspectives: Demonstrates understanding of Minnesota’s role and engagement
in an interdependent national and global world.
Collaboration and Partnership: Faculty, administrators and other staff involved are an
integrated team, perhaps including entire departments or programs, working together,
or collaboration between different system institutions.
Impact: Provides appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures of project outcomes.
Number of faculty and/or students directly affected is appropriate to the size of the
Innovation: Innovative within the context of the program or university. Action steps
clearly relate to change in instructional approaches or other effects on student learning

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   Quality and Continuous Improvement: Project fills a demonstrated need in the
   university or in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Connects
   professional development, student learning, program goals, and/or campus or
   community/industry outcomes.
   Stewardship and Providing Value: Budget request is closely aligned to project goals,
   and request is justified with clear rationale and details. Difficulties are realistically
   addressed; timeline is clear and feasible; budget and personnel are sufficient; future
   funding is discussed where necessary.
   Compliance with proposal guidelines: Goals, rationale, timeline and evaluation are
   clearly explained. All proposal areas are addressed in a well-written and documented
   Dissemination of results: Proposal details appropriate plans for publicizing the project
   and sharing its results with campus, regional or statewide colleagues through campus
   presentations, conference presentations, articles, an electronic portfolio, etc.

Proposal Format
   Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss their ideas with Committee members
   and/or supervisors before applying. Please allow enough time (at least 1-2 weeks)
   before the deadline for your application to be reviewed and approved by your
   supervisor. All applications must follow the format below. The proposals should be
   clear and concise. Proposals suggested length 3-5 double spaced pages.

Proposal Section       Suggested Questions to be considered in proposal
Project                What issue or problem is being addressed?
Description            What are your goals and methods?
                       What activities will address your goals?
                       How is the project innovative for your own development, your
                       program or the college?
                       Who will be involved: how many AASF Members, students,
Rationale/             Why is the project important? How do you know it is
Evidence               important, what is your evidence (i.e., how has the issue or
                       problem been documented)?
                       What is the need, both locally and in a system or national
                       How is the project linked to university and/or MnSCU
                       priorities and initiatives?
                       How will the innovation or change be sustained after the
                       project funding has ended?
                       What is your analysis of the costs, both economic and non-
                       economic of your proposal versus the benefits to SMSU and its

                                                                                       PAGE 6 OF 8
Anticipated       What kinds of hurdles or limitations do you expect to
difficulties      encounter?
                  How would you address them?
Timeline of       When are activities planned?
Activities        When are the start and end dates of your project?
                  How can you assure the project will be completed within the
                  proposed timeframe?
Outcomes          What specific outcomes do you want to achieve?
                  How will your planned activities achieve these outcomes?
                  How will your plan promote excellence in student learning?
                  Each outcome must be matched to an assessment in your
                  evaluation plan.
Evaluation plan   How will you know that you have achieved your outcomes?
                  What kind of evidence will you gather?
                  What kinds of assessments will you use?
                  Is there an assessment matched to each outcome?
                  What is the impact on campus or the surrounding community?
Dissemination     With whom will you share this information?
                  How will the project be shared with others? Consider campus
                  professional development days, conference presentations,
                  articles, electronic portfolio.
Budget            How much money will the entire project require?
                  What resources, equipment, or other funding are you
                  requesting from other sources?
                  How did you arrive at this budget?
                  How did you arrive at the requested amount for the incentive
                  award? Justify the amount requested for the incentive.

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                               SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY
                                     SPECIAL INITIATIVE AWARD

  Cover Sheet

  Applicant Contact Information

      Name                                                                 Other Contact Name

      Title/Position                                                       Title/Position

      Phone                                                                Phone

      Fax                                                                  Fax

      E-mail                                                               E-mail

  Project Information

      Title of the Project __________________________________________________________________

      Total Amount of Incentive Requested $_____________________

  Certification Signatures

Based on the criteria for eligibility in the Southwest Minnesota State University Special Initiative Award Guidelines, I am
eligible to apply. I understand and agree that a written final report, including how the objectives and/or goals have been
achieved, is due as stated in the Guidelines. I will provide a copy of my report to the Special Initiative Award Committee and
to my supervisor. I understand that unless there exists a law characterizing some portion of the information submitted as
private, proposals will be treated as public information on submission in accordance with the Data Practices Act.

      Applicant Signature                                                                      Date

  Supervisor’s Signature                                                                       Date

  All applications must be received by appropriate deadlines and must include:

       Project narrative
       Signed and completed cover sheet

 Submit your proposal via email to: Special Initiative Award Committee, c/o

                                                                                                                   PAGE 8 OF 8

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