Large Grants for Projects up to $30,000
The Wabash Center provides funds for projects that enhance teaching and learning in the fields of religion and theological studies as taught in colleges, universities, and theological schools. Routinely, we fund projects that focus on: improving teaching and learning practices in and beyond the classroom; nurturing supportive environments for teachers; nurturing supportive teaching environments for learners; strengthening student learning; connecting the classroom to the wider society.
The Wabash Center understands its grant projects as learning processes. A grant proposal will need to support projects, initiatives, programs, and design moments of exploration, discovery, learning, and response for those participating in the grant project. The project director should think of the presenting pedagogical issue as that which needs investigation, exploration and interrogation, and the activities of the grant project as the means by which this exploration is satisfied.
In 2023, consider proposals with these foci:
Please note that the Wabash Center, in 2023, will accept grant proposals supporting themes and topics beyond these two foci.
#1 Communal Care and Connection
The Wabash Center requests large project grant proposals, up to $30,000, for initiatives, programs, and/or events focused to encourage faculty to critically and imaginatively engage micro and macro-level ways to build an ecosystem of care and connection designed to uplift teaching and the teaching life.
Special attention will be given to leaders of theological and religious institutions who seek to create widescale institutional learning that moves universities/colleges and seminaries toward collective well-being.
Consider these prompts as you plan, dream, design and strategize for a large project focused upon communal care and connection:
- What does it mean to create trauma-informed learning spaces?
- In what ways might spaces of communal care and belonging be privileged?
- What would it mean for faculty to engage in communal care and connection with one another?
- What institutional strategies and practices of wellness within classrooms or institutions will assist with building toward collective well-being?
- What would it mean to design multilayered conversations that tend towards healing, restoration, and wholeness in educational spaces?
- In what ways might we better prepare students in a world where mental health and trauma is a pervasive reality?
- What would it mean to host productive conversations about trauma and mental health within the school?
- What would it take to build capacity and integrate communal care in the school ecology?
- What would it mean to design multilayered conversations that tend towards healing, restoration, and wholeness for faculty, for students, for administrators?
Proposals could address issues such as:
- Student engagement with communal care and connection
- Understanding the role of religions and theologies in relation to communal care
- Exploring ways that communal care counter systemic injustice and hyper-individualism
- Exploring the benefits of communal care and connection in pedagogical contexts
- Diverse forms of trauma that impact pedagogical contexts (racialized trauma, multigenerational trauma, community violence)
- Notions of belonging and work on anti-racist spaces
- Institutional strategies for issues of sexism, homophobia, classism – any form of dehumanization that might be affecting the learning ecology and maintaining disconnection among the community
#2 Teaching Social Justice and Civic Engagement
The Wabash Center requests large project grant proposals, up to $30,000, for initiatives, programs, and/or events focused to encourage faculty to critically and imaginatively engage pedagogies for social justice and civic engagement.
Special attention will be given to leaders of theological and religious institutions who seek to create widescale institutional learning that moves universities/colleges and seminaries toward a deeper and more widespread ethos of social justice.
Consider these prompts as you plan, dream, design and strategize for a large project focused upon social justice, civic engagement, institutional culture, teaching and the teaching life:
- In what ways might teaching toward justice be integrated into the curriculum?
- What would it take to develop student capacities for engagement in the public square?
- What would it mean to design multilayered conversations that attend to the variety of cultural commitments that are brought to conversations of current events?
- What would it mean to prepare students for work in societal worlds enmeshed in conflicted and conflicting realities brought on by injustice, prejudice, and systemic hatred?
- How might classroom better engage and prepare students to become civically active in a radically pluralistic and multi-religious world?
- What would it take to teach a multi-religious, multi-ethnic student body to honor one another and the pluralistic world?
Proposals could address issues such as:
- Understanding the role of religions and theologies in the public square
- Facilitating difficult conversations in the classroom
- Student resistance to learning related to social justice and civic engagement
- Anti-racism work
- Religion or Theology and democracy and the upcoming election season
- Issues of freedom, liberation, and justice among faculty, in the ecology of the institution, in the teaching and experience of the students
Please read in advance;
Submitting a Project Grant Proposal
3 parts need to be included in a Wabash Center Project Grant Application.
Login to mywabash
Select > Grant
You will be prompted to attach the required documents (pdf format) to the online application, including a signed copy of the Grant Information Form, the Proposal Narrative & Budget, and an Institutional Letter of Support.
You will be prompted to attach a signed copy of the Grant Information Form, the Project Proposal, and the signed Institutional Letter of Support to the online Grant Application.
Part 1 – Grant Information Form
The Grant Information Form requests information necessary for the consideration of your proposal, including contact information, grant project dates, amount of the grant request, and a 150-word proposal abstract. The Grant Type to select is “Project.”
This form requires contact information for and signatures from:
- The Project Director/s: The person/s responsible for providing narrative report on grants, typically the person/s overseeing the administration of the grant and writing the project proposal to apply for the grant.
- The Financial Contact: The person responsible for receiving the check and providing financial reports of expenditures for the institution. This should be a different person than the project director.
- The Authorization Contact: The person authorized to sign grant contracts for the institution.
Part 2 – Proposal Narrative and Budget
No longer than 12 pages long (single-spaced), CV limited to 4 pages, and page numbers required.
The Project Proposal must follow an outline of the seven elements indicated below.
Successful proposals will include specific examples, demonstrate thoughtful reflection about the project’s presenting problem, identify and address relevant pedagogical questions, attend to the alignment of the design with the goals, and provide clear plans for evaluating, assessing, and responding to what was learned during the course of the project.
Project Proposal Outline
- Title of Proposed Project
Give us a central idea of what the project will explore
- Framing Question or Problem
A good framing question or problem can help you identify what you do not understand and articulate why you must pursue it. It can also help you identify what strategies and activities can be most helpful and who might collaborate in the work. Ask yourself: What do you want to know? What is the student learning issue at the heart of this project? What classroom practice will this project address? What is the pedagogical issue or problem that this project is seeking to address and why does it matter?
- Project Goals
List the goals for this project. What do you hope to accomplish or learn? What will this grant help you to do that you couldn’t do without funding? At the conclusion of the grant project, what change will have occurred as a consequence of this grant project?
- Description of Activities
What is the scope of work envisioned for this grant project? What activities will be planned and carried out? How will these specific activities meet the needs of your context and help those involved with the project explore particular teaching and learning challenges? Include a timeline of activities envisioned.
- Supportive Literature
Briefly, describe what others have done when working with the pedagogical issues or question that you want to pursue. What literature have you consulted and how will that literature inform your project?
- Assessment, Evaluation, and Response
How, when, and who will provide the midway assessment? How will you know if the grant activities are effective or whether the project should be revised? When the project is complete, how will you know that your objectives have been met? Who will be assessing what was learned? Who will be responding to what was learned, and how will they get this information? What connection will be made to a larger, public audience (if applicable)?
- Plan for Dissemination
How will you disseminate what you learn through the grant project? Blogs, podcasts, essays, etc.? In what specific ways will you share what you’ve discovered through the grant project?
Line Item Budget and Budget Narrative
In consultation with your institution’s financial officer, build a budget to support the activities projected, delineating yearly estimates if requesting a multi-year grant. Provide a brief narrative in support of each line item expense. Make sure the budget is congruent with how expenses can be allocated at your institution.
Read: Grant Budget and Expense Guidelines (pdf)
Part 3 – Institutional Letter of Support
This letter should be written by the appropriate dean, department chair, provost, president, principal, or rector in order to demonstrate the institutional rationale and support for the project, as well as how the institution will respond to the things that will be learned during the grant project.
If the project director holds one of these offices, the letter of support should be written by someone higher in the institution.
This letter must be signed on institutional letterhead, scanned and attached to the online application.
Policy on Deadlines for Program Deadlines
The program deadlines are meant to facilitate application by a wide array of participants, as well as create fairness in the selection process. Program deadlines also assist administrative staff who work to support each group and all programs. The Wabash Center will, when we see the necessity, extend the deadline of an application process. We will rarely, if ever, extend the deadline for individual requests. We ask participants, as well as recommenders, to respect these important deadline boundaries. Adherence to deadlines foster fair-mindedness and a spirit of collegiality. Should an issue need to be arbitrated, please be in touch with the Director of the Wabash Center.
Each fall we gather project directors of large grant projects, whose proposals have been accepted in the March adjudication, for an online meeting facilitated by the Wabash Center. The aim of this meeting is to help project directors share what they are learning through their grant projects, to talk about adjustments to grant projects, and to build capacities for subsequent grant projects.
2023 Project Directors Online Meeting:
2023 Deadline for Submissions
February 15, 2023
2022 Large Grant Projects
Directors Online Meeting:
October 10, 2022 at 10 am
Grant funds can be spent on items and activities such as:
- Child care, elder care to support members attendance to group meetings
- Meals for the convened group (face to face only)
- Travel, meals, lodging should group meet for extended conversation (retreat center, hotel, conference center)
- Stipends for participation in the group
- Equipment, supplies, materials to support group meeting and discussions
- Honorariums for guest speakers with group
Activities and items NOT Funded:
The Wabash Center generally does not fund:
- International travel for research
- Travel for attendance at disciplinary conferences
- The preparation of textbooks
- Research focused primarily on field content and only secondarily on teaching
- Publication of conference papers or books, or production costs of other media
- Food delivered to homes or food to be consumed while meeting on-line
- Stipends for writing the grant proposal or making application
- Fees for WIFI or other home utilities should group convenes online
- Any items designated as gifts, presents, offerings or donations
- Travel, meals, lodging expenses should family or friend accompany participant on an extended conversation
- Put most bluntly, the Wabash Center does not underwrite the ordinary, ongoing work of the professorate, much of which is already supported by the home institution or departments.
Successful grant proposals will demonstrate:
- A clear focus on an issue or question of teaching or the teaching life within higher education
- Readiness to learn on the part of the project director
- A set of project activities that will explore the central question or issue
- Alignment in its focus, goals, activities, and assessment
- An institutional readiness to listen and respond to what is discovered during the grant project
- A strategy to disseminate the learnings of the project within and/or beyond the school
- An allocation of grant monies for work the institution could not ordinarily do
The Wabash Center gives grants to accredited universities, colleges, or seminaries in the United States and Canada and occasionally to non-profit organizations providing services to improve teaching and learning at institutions of higher education. The project director will ordinarily be a full-time faculty member in religion or theology. In colleges or universities without a department of religion or theology, we will consider, on a case-by-case basis, project directors from other departments whose primary teaching responsibility is in the area of religion.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
When preparing a grant proposal, we strongly recommend that you consult and learn from others’ experience.
The Wabash Center understands our grants program as a part of our overall teaching and learning mission. We are interested in not only awarding grants to excellent proposals, but also in enabling faculty members to develop and hone their skills as grant writers.
We strongly encourage you to be in conversation with us as you develop your ideas for a grant project into a formal proposal. We will gladly give you feedback on your ideas and draft proposal.
There is no guarantee that a grant that has gone through our coaching process will be funded—funding decisions are made by a separate Advisory Committee—but we will help you present the project in the clearest and most coherent way.
Direct Questions to:
Sarah Farmer, Ph.D.
Paul O. Myhre, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Director