Academic Innovation Fund

Designing the future of learning with the University of Michigan Community

2014

Established in 2014, the AIF enables the Center for Academic Innovation to provide financial and in-kind support for the purpose of growing a culture of innovation on campus

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Initiatives across all 19 Schools & Colleges have been developed leveraging the AIF. Collectively, these have reached 90% of current U-M undergraduates, and nearly 4 million global learners.

What is the Academic Innovation Fund?

Established in 2014, the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) gives the University of Michigan community access to financial and in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI). The Center stewards the AIF with the goal of facilitating the creation, growth, and research of engaged and inclusive educational experiences.

Purpose

The AIF helps our partners build new technology, develop engaging and interdisciplinary content, design more flexible and personalized learning experiences informed by data, and host events and communities that bring thought leaders together. We develop projects that

    • extend academic excellence, 
    • expand the University of Michigan’s public purpose, and 
    • foster equity and inclusivity in higher education.

Rolling Proposals

Proposals to the Academic Innovation Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. The proposal process begins with a consultation about the problem you are trying to solve, after which projects that are aligned with the goals and mission of the CAI are invited to submit a formal proposal. The criteria by which proposals are evaluated include: 

    • contribution to the culture of innovation in learning on campus
    • type and scale of problem being addressed 
    • degree of innovation proposed
    • alignment with campus priorities and initiatives
    • support for equity and inclusivity in higher education

Current Priorities

  • Diversifying the disciplinary mix of offerings in our online learning experiences
  • Integrating online content and innovative technologies into the residential learning experience.
  • Experimenting with translating high-touch teaching practices, like apprenticeships and learning communities, into online learning experiences
  • Exploring new models for alumni learning
  • Creating new learning experiences and educational models that support learners’ skill acquisition, accounting for the shifts in the nature of work
  • Increasing access to and affordability of higher education
  • Creating conversations and opportunities for learning and knowledge exchange between U-M scholars and community experts
  • Exploring opportunities for students to become creators of learning experiences

Get Started

To begin the proposal process for the rolling AIF, please use the “Setup a Consultation” form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the open calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined below.

Open Call for Proposals

Overview

Join the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to create, preserve, and open access to the University of Michigan’s diverse wealth of knowledge and expertise.  Through our faculty partnerships and the development of open online content, we help millions learn new skills and competencies, highlight and amplify emerging research and ideas, and develop new pedagogies and practices at-scale.  We invite faculty to submit proposals to partner with us and develop short open online-mini courses that appeal to personal interests or just-in-time professional development, as well as MOOC specializations that provide more intensive, real-world professional skill-building. Proposals are due November 24, 2019.

Details

The Center for Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning in support of the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world.  By creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge, art, and purpose-driven academic values, we hope to develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and create a better future by partnering with incredible faculty and experts across the University. Through our work we aim to extend academic excellence, expand public purpose, and end educational privilege. 

Our faculty partnerships provide opportunities for experimentation at scales unachievable by traditional means, creating space for faculty to develop new pedagogies, conduct research, reach audiences, and develop tested strategies and resources that further enrich their residential courses.  Faculty partners are able to engage in the generative, challenging, supported construction of world-class online learning experiences in close collaboration with the Center for Academic Innovation’s learning and technology experts.

Over the last five years, the Center for Academic Innovation and our faculty partners have developed a broad portfolio of over 160 online learning experiences across the 19 schools and colleges.  These MOOCs and series highlight some of the incredible expertise here at the University, provide Michigan students with supplemental and exploratory learning opportunities, further position faculty and schools as leaders in their fields, re-engage alumni as lifelong learners, and help a global community of over 4 million learners on-ramp into disciplinary programs, level-up existing skills, and dive deeper into key areas of interest.

However, there is still more to teach, more to learn, and more of the breadth and depth of the University community’s expertise to showcase and connect.  Learners everywhere are looking to develop new skills, master new competencies, and better understand the world around them. To that end, we would like to invite faculty to submit proposals aimed at highlighting complex and growing areas of academic excellence at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.  Come help us celebrate, support, and make accessible the diversity of scholarship, knowledge, and experience of our institution.

Criteria

Proposals should fit one of two tracks:

  1. MOOC Specializations: A series of 3-6 massive open online courses intentionally designed together to build professional skills for real-world applications, focusing current high-demand areas that include but are not limited to mobility, poverty solutions, health professions, urban development, policy, analytics, data visualization, product management, artificial intelligence, etc.  Additional ideas and topic areas not represented here are also welcome. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged but not required.
  2. MOOCs that: 
    • Provide just-in-time professional or personal development in key skill areas that include but are not limited to communication, storytelling, personal health, design, research, consulting, people management, creativity, persuasion, collaboration, time management, adaptability,world-building, family care, civic engagement, etc.
    • Explore the whimsical and lesser-known or unexpected sides of your discipline in fun and interesting ways.
    • Mini-MOOCS (2 hours of learner effort or fewer) are highly encouraged.

Proposal Requirements

  • Special Considerations for MOOC Proposals:
    • Proposals for the creation of new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) must be submitted by a faculty member.
    • MOOC proposals must be submitted to the appropriate Dean’s Office administrator in the lead faculty member’s School/College prior to submitting to Academic Innovation. If School/College approval is not received before November 24, applicants are encouraged to submit their MOOC proposal to Academic Innovation, but the review committee will not make decisions until School/College approval is received.

Timeline

  • Proposals are due November 24, 2019. 

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the appropriate proposal form (MOOC Series Proposal Form or MOOC Proposal Form) as you can.

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line  “OLX Call”

Proposal Forms: MOOC Series Proposal Form | MOOC Proposal Form

Overview

What is a socially just university? As scholars across campus explore this question this Fall, the Center for Academic Innovation is issuing a call for proposals for projects that explore the role innovation can play in creating a socially just university. We invite proposals aligned with our missions of 

  • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence, 
  • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
  • Creating connections between the university and diverse publics.

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: creation, investigation, or adoption/adaptation. All faculty and full time regular staff appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call. Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until the funds have been exhausted, but no later than December 6, 2019.

 

Details

The Center for Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning in support of the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world.  By creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge, art, and purpose-driven academic values, we hope to develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and create a better future by partnering with incredible faculty and experts across the University. Through our work we aim to extend academic excellence, expand public purpose, and end educational privilege. 

Over the course of this fall semester, Academic Innovation invites proposals to our Academic Innovation Fund for projects that will help University of Michigan grow to be the leading socially just university of the 21st century.  We invite proposals aligned with our goals of 

  • Increasing access to higher education for individuals that are from underrepresented and under-resourced communities
  • Increasing the affordability of higher education
  • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence, 
  • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
  • Creating connections between the university and diverse publics.

Criteria

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: creation, investigation, or adoption/adaptation:

Investigation Projects

Investigation proposals may include requests for in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation. Allowable expenses include funding for student support, analysis software, transcription services, and other related project needs. Investigation projects may be formal research projects, but they might also be pilot studies or user discovery research that will serve as the foundation for future projects.

Creation Projects

Creation projects are often developed using in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation, but funds can be requested to hire other resources as needed. Some projects may include a modest stipend for faculty leads. Creation projects may include the design and development of new online learning experiences, new software to support teaching and learning, or new ways for the university to engage its publics.

Adaptation/Adoption Projects

Adaptation and adoption proposals will receive in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation so that project teams have the necessary access to tools and platforms. Allowable expenses include student support, transcription services, and other related project needs. Adaptation/adoption projects may include the integration of open educational resources and content into a learning experience or adoption of one of the software tools developed by Academic Innovation into a learning experience.

Timeline

  • Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until the funds have been exhausted, but no later than December 6, 2019.

Proposal Requirements

Eligibility: All faculty and full time regular staff appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call.

Special considerations for DE&I MOOC Proposals: Proposals for the creation of new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) must be submitted by a faculty member.

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the DE&I proposal form as you can (if a MOOC or Research request please fill out those dedicated forms).

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Socially Just University Call.” In your submission email, please include a paragraph describing how your project team is defining “socially just.”

Proposal Form: Academic Innovation Fund Proposal Form

Overview

Join the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to remove barriers of access to exceptional U-M learning experiences and to consider new approaches to engaging with learners at different stages of life and career. We invite academic units to submit proposals to partner with us to develop a fully online or hybrid degree program that is part of degree program portfolio. Strong proposals will identify opportunities where the degree program can be combined with open content to create a variety of pathways for learners to engage as part of the Michigan community. We encourage academic units to embrace strategic rebundling of content and the creation of program portfolios that leverage our strengths in graduate education so we can explore new opportunities and new modes of learning and engagement. Proposals will be accepted throughout the fall semester on a rolling basis until December 9th; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the winter semester.

Details

As the University of Michigan broadens our efforts to develop and deliver online and hybrid degrees, there exists a unique opportunity to shape the future of higher education by leading online education into new pathways that meet the needs of a diverse population of lifelong learners. We invite academic units to work with the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to remove barriers of access to exceptional U-M learning experiences and to consider new approaches to engaging with learners at different stages of life and career.

We encourage academic units to explore opportunities to strategically rebundle content to

create online program portfolios. The portfolio approach combines degree programs with open

learning experiences—such as massive open online courses, a MicroMasters program, or a MasterTrack certificate—to create a variety of pathways for learners to engage as part of the Michigan community. Online program portfolios leverage our institutional and academic unit strengths to explore new opportunities and new modes of interdisciplinary learning and engagement, providing innovative learning experiences of various durations, commitment level, and depth of study. This approach is key to our institutional mission of making high quality learning experiences that promote multidisciplinary problem solving and diversity, equity and inclusion while being affordable, accessible at scale, and available for global and lifelong learners.

Criteria

Academic units should take the following criteria into consideration. These criteria will be used to evaluate and prioritize the use of seed funding for new and exemplary online and hybrid programs.

Strong proposals will: 

  • Further establish U-Ms position as a leading institution shaping the future of learning and the future of higher education;
  • Show clear alignment with institutional priorities around multidisciplinary problem solving; global and lifelong learning; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and access and affordability;
  • Embrace strategic rebundling and the creation of program portfolios that leverage our strengths in graduate education so we can explore new opportunities and new modes of learning and engagement;
  • Demonstrate pathways to financial sustainability and innovative business models relative to a rapidly changing market landscape;
  • Consider opportunities to leverage optimal centralization/decentralization of capacity in order to ensure excellence and sustainability at the program, portfolio, and institutional level 
  • Increase our ability to make high quality learning experiences accessible at scale and available for global and lifelong learners; 
  • Address unmet learner/market needs through innovative pedagogy and novel curricular design and student experiences;
  • Demonstrate clear alignment with academic-unit level strategy and reflect areas of existing or emerging strength;
  • Demonstrate clear commitment and readiness of academic unit leadership, faculty, and other key contributors.

Timeline

  • Proposals will be accepted throughout the fall semester on a rolling basis until December 9th; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the winter semester. 

Proposal Requirements

  • Eligibility: All academic units are eligible to submit a proposal.
  • Special Considerations for OHP Proposals:
    • Online and Hybrid Program proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support by the proposing School/College’s dean. 
    • It is strongly recommended that academic units consult with staff in the Center for Academic Innovation prior to submitting a proposal. 

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the OHP proposal form as you can.

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Online and Hybrid Programs Call”

Proposal Form: Online and Hybrid Program Proposal Form

Overview

How can XR technologies transform the way we teach and learn? As scholars across campus explore this question, the Center for Academic Innovation is issuing a call for proposals for projects that explore the role XR technologies play in achieving learning objectives and transforming pedagogies. We invite proposals aligned with our missions of 

  • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence, 
  • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
  • Advancing the public mission of the University

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: content creation, innovative application, and research (as it relates to using XR for teaching and learning). All faculty appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call.  Proposals are due December 9, 2019.

Details

As the Center for Academic Innovation explores the most effective methods to bring XR technologies to online and in residence curricula, we invite faculty and academic units to join us in exploring creative applications of this technology to further the mission of the University. One of our guiding principles is to ensure a multidisciplinary approach to represent all points of view across the 19 schools and colleges at the University. The promise of XR technologies is vast and has been heralded for many years, and we are creating an opportunity to bring experience in putting into practice theories to shape the future of learning.

Over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year, Academic Innovation invites proposals to our XR Innovation Fund for projects that will help University of Michigan implement XR technologies in online and in residence curricula.  We invite proposals aligned with our goals of 

  • Advancing multidisciplinary learning and teaching
  • Creating innovative learning experiences with Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Increasing access to XR technologies to a broad audience
  • Creating repeatable processes for content creation and deployment
  • Developing research to better understand the effectiveness of XR in education

The Center for Academic Innovation will offer in-kind services that include but not limited to XR production, development, and 3D modeling. Additionally, we will provide project management and design support.

 

Criteria

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: content creation, innovative application, and research:

Content Creation Projects

Content creation projects are often developed using in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation, but funds can be requested to hire other resources as needed. Some projects may include a modest stipend for faculty leads. Content creation projects may include the design and development of new learning experiences, new software to support teaching and learning, or new digital assets.

Innovative Application Projects

Innovative Application proposals will receive in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation so that project teams have the necessary access to tools and platforms. Allowable expenses include student support, technical support services, hardware and software purchases, and other related project needs. Innovative Application projects may include the integration of open educational resources and content into a learning experience or adoption of one of the software tools developed by Academic Innovation into a learning experience.

Research Projects

Research proposals may include requests for in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation. Allowable expenses include funding for student support, analysis software, technical support, hardware purchases,  and other related project needs. Research projects may be formal research projects, but they might also be pilot studies or user discovery research that will serve as the foundation for future projects.

Timeline

  • Proposals will be accepted throughout the fall semester on a rolling basis until December 9th; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the winter semester. 

Proposal Requirements

Eligibility: Faculty Status Policy

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the XR proposal form as you can.

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Extended Reality Call”

Proposal Form: Academic Innovation Fund Proposal Form

Setup a Consultation

To begin the proposal process for the general Academic Innovation Fund, please use the form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the themed calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined on the page for that call.