2019 General Education Grants

Review the list of 2019 General Education Grant recipients.

General Education Grants

To support the General Education Requirements, additional funding has been made available. Below, you can learn about the goals, framework, and implementation of the General Education Requirements. 

Grants in Support of the New General Education Requirements

Two funding opportunities have been announced for faculty interested in developing new courses or redesigning a current course in light of the recently passed changes to the General Education requirements. Brandeis Teaching Innovation Grants and Information Literacy Grants are intended to promote excellence and innovation in teaching through the development of new instructional methods or materials, methods of assessing learning, or course design. A  successful proposal describes a project that is related to the new General Education requirements, is innovative, and includes an evaluation method to assess the impact of the innovation(s).

Applications for the current academic year (2018-2019) will be due by Sunday, November 4, 2018.   Awards will be announced before the end of the fall term, and funds must be spent by June 15, 2019  The application for the Gen. Ed .Teaching Innovation Grant can be found here

Please click here to access the application for the Teaching Innovation Grant.

Click here to access the application for the Library Information Literacy Grant.

Information Literacy Grants

Have you been considering ways to incorporate digital literacy into your teaching under the new general education curriculum? Are your students looking to hone their research skills while also enhancing their work with virtual reality tools or presenting findings in multimedia projects? We encourage you to apply for one of the Library’s Information Literacy Grants. These grants are intended to promote faculty partnerships with library staff members. Our goal is to empower students with research skills and an in-depth understanding of how information is produced and disseminated.

Nearly all information literacy skills will serve students well in digital literacy. We invite grant applications from faculty who are interested in exploring ways to integrate digital literacy and information literacy learning goals into their courses.

Examples of student learning goals related to digital literacy and information literacy:

  • critically evaluate the authority of digital sources
  • discover, evaluate, and develop insights from data sets
  • conduct research and present findings in a traditional format or in a digital medium
  • present and share research findings with an understanding of citation practices and issues concerning intellectual property and copyright
  • utilize appropriate digital tools, such discipline-specific research databases

Teaching Innovation Grants

Fundable projects related to the implementation of the new general education requirements might include work in the following and other related areas (see more details on the new general education requirements at the end of this letter).  

  • Development of Critical Conversations contributing to the new First Year Experience requirement
  • Creation of department specific models for integrating the new curriculum into the major (e.g. writing, digital literacy, oral communication in the major)
  • Development of criteria, outcomes and assessment in specific courses to align with the goals of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies in the United States or Difference and Justice in the World or other components of the new requirements
  • Redesign of a current course to meet the criteria stated by the committee or division, the learning goals of the major, and/or potentially the research methodologies used in your discipline.
  • Development of innovative ways of teaching and assessment (e.g., portfolios, paired courses) that will align with the learning goals of the requirements  

What can grants pay for?

  • Summer stipends
  • Attendance at courses, seminars, conferences, or workshops
  • Teaching assistants or student workers
  • Equipment, software, or supplies
  • Publications
  • External consultants or specialists
  • Honoraria/travel for external experts
  • Travel and admissions fees (e.g., for museums)

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Tenured faculty
  • Tenure-Track faculty
  • Contract faculty on multi-year contracts
  • Part-time faculty who have taught at least four courses in the previous three years

Supporting services:

The Library, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Rabb School’s Instructional Design team will offer a variety of instructional design and other services to help you plan design and implement your innovation.  Questions about Teaching Innovation Grants should be directed to Dan Perlman or Karen Muncaster.  Questions about the Library Information Literacy Grants should be directed to Laura Hibbler. Specific questions about general education should be directed to Susan Birren.

Proposals are due Friday, April 20, 2018.

Applications for the upcoming academic year (2018-19) will be due by Friday, April 20, 2018.  Funds will be released on July 1, 2018 and must be spent by June 15, 2019.   Applicants are asked to provide a rationale with clear goals, a project timeline, an assessment plan, evidence of applicability to other areas and sustainability beyond one year along with a detailed budget.  In order to be eligible for funding, projects must have an assessment plan that details how the project’s impact on student learning will be evaluated.  Projects that require funding beyond the year of the grant will not be considered without a letter of commitment from the relevant dean or vice president.

Application Links

Please click here to access the application for the Teaching Innovation Grant.

Click here to access the application for the Information Literacy Grant.

Further Information About:

General Education at Brandeis

Goals and Framework

The goals of the General Education Curriculum are to provide Brandeis students with a set of knowledge and skills that will prepare them to navigate and succeed in a rapidly changing world.  Upon graduation Brandeis student should:

  • Understand the nature of evidence, be able to assess its validity and impact, make sound evidence-based arguments and apply them to an assessment of contemporary problems and to the creation of new knowledge
  • Think critically, communicate effectively, assess and manipulate quantitative information, understand historical context, and operate effectively within a digital world
  • Acquire the broad knowledge, skills, experiences, flexibility and resilience required to navigate and succeed in chosen careers, engage in civil discourse, and contribute to community, national and global relationships
  • Understand the meaning and importance of social justice and inclusion in its many forms, including issues of gender, race, ethnicity, the environment and climate justice, and recognize the nature and roots of inequity in the United States and the world

Students will acquire knowledge and skills across five thematic areas: The First Year Experience (writing, civil discourse, evidence and argument, assessment of contemporary problems, experiential learning); Foundational Literacies (critical thinking, effective communication through writing and oral communication, digital literacy, quantitative ability, field-specific skills); Schools of Thought (critical thinking, broad knowledge, historical perspectives); Health, Wellness and Life Skills (career skills, personal interaction skills, financial, physical and mental well-being, community engagement); and Global Engagement(understanding difference and justice in the US and the world, cross-cultural communication in languages other than English).

We constructed a curriculum that was precise and flexible enough to attend to urgent contemporary matters (free speech, diversity, climate change) within the implementation of broad categories (Critical Conversations, Global Engagement, Foundational Literacies) to allow for the inclusion of future developments. Free expression will be critically addressed in our curriculum by carefully modeling civil discourse in Critical Conversation, where two (or more) faculty will actively discuss/debate an issue from divergent points of view. The aim here is to make central the importance of ‘viewpoint diversity’, free expression and intellectual humility in the first year of a Brandeis education. In the implementation stage, we will work to maintain these themes as key features of curricular and co-curricular life for all Brandeis students. Strict attention to defining learning goals and assessing learning outcomes for all requirements and the integration of requirements into revised learning goals within the majors will ensure that students gain the knowledge and competencies needed for success in starting and future careers and for engagement and contributions in civic life.

Implementation and Assessment

The university will undertake an implementation process that will, over an 18 month period, define the specific courses and structures needed for students entering, at the earliest, in the 2019-20 academic year to complete the new General Education requirements.

Criteria for course inclusion in the General Education curriculum

Inclusion of courses in the general education curriculum is dependent upon approval of the appropriate oversight committee. Each oversight committee will be charged with consulting with stakeholders and working with the Dean of Arts and Sciences office to define a set of criteria required for inclusion in the course list for a particular General Education requirement.  There will be a total of eight committees  established for Brandeis First Year Experience; Writing Intensive; Quantitative Reasoning; Oral Communication; Digital Literacy (new); World Languages and Cultures programs; Health, Wellness and Life Skills; and  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Studies in the United States and Difference and Justice in the World.  Schools of Thought requirements will continue to be approved by Division councils as they are currently done. Criteria for course inclusion will be set by these committees as part of the implementation process and will include learning goals specific to the particular theme and others that more broadly provide the knowledge and skills defined in the General Education framework.  Examples of these criteria include:

  • Inclusion of competing or divergent viewpoints on course topics
  • Balanced attention to contemporary issues and to populations and demographics
  • Analysis of evidence used to build arguments and draw conclusions
  • Respectful engagement with opposing arguments
  • Consideration of historical context and ethical and philosophical underpinnings
  • Development of specific writing and other skills appropriate for study in the majors
  • Rigorous assignments that demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes

Additional Notes on Global Engagement

The goal of this set of requirements is to provide Brandeis students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a complex and interconnected world.  The requirements are designed to encourage students to explore difference, diversity, and justice in social, political, cultural, religious, economic, environmental, legal and linguistic structures and to understand their impact on life in the US and in the world.  Students will fulfill this part of the general education requirement by taking courses in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies in the US (DEIS-US); Difference and Justice in the World (DJW); and World Languages and Cultures (WLC). Taken as a whole, this set of requirements emphasizes the profound connections between local and global forms of understanding and justice.

The DEIS-US requirement, diversity, equity and inclusion are understood as individual and group differences and the experience of these individuals and groups with the cultures and institutions that have shaped life in the United States. A key characteristic of courses that are meant to fulfill this requirement is that they advance open-ended inquiry hospitable to competing perspectives. This means that a wide range of classes will be possible candidates to fulfill this requirement.  While this is a new requirement, there are already many classes currently taught that could be revised and proposed for this requirement.  With support from the Provost’s teaching innovation awards additional new courses that examined topics such as debates about justice, equality, and democracy, or ethical dilemmas in American public life would also be considered for inclusion.