2016-2017 Interdisciplinary Course Development Grants CFP

Interdisciplinary Course Development Grants

Fostering interdisciplinary education across the undergraduate curriculum

The deadline for the 2016-2017 academic year has passed. Please check back in the fall for information on the 2017-2018 CFP.


With funding support from the Office of the Provost, the Center for Teaching and Learning is pleased to solicit applications for Interdisciplinary Course Development (ICD) Grants for Undergraduate Courses. These grants are designed to help faculty create new courses or redesign existing courses that cross department, program, and school/college boundaries using – and to help faculty and departments sustain interdisciplinary initiatives. This program is intended to promote faculty collaboration across disciplines in support of innovative undergraduate education.

Participants in this year-long program engage in ongoing ways with colleagues at the CTL and with other faculty who have adopted an interdisciplinary approach to their course(s).

Faculty members are encouraged to propose designs, or redesigns, of any interdisciplinary course in any department, program, or undergraduate school/college. Instructors who are open to learning-centered approaches to teaching and those willing to fully and actively participate in small, structured learning communities are especially sought. We are particularly, but not exclusively, interested in courses that build on, or might lead to, interdisciplinary research efforts. Preference will also be given to instructors/departments committed to continuous improvement and permanent change.


Awards for ICD will generally amount to between $5,000 and $30,000 with an upper limit of $40,000.* ICD Grant  funding can be used for:

  • Partial summer funding for faculty.
  • Undergraduate or graduate student research and design support.
  • Expenses related to course development meetings.
  • Expenses related to the development of course materials.
  • Expenses related to the benchmarking of cross-disciplinary courses offered at other universities (travel, literature reviews, etc.).
  • Training for faculty in the use of technology.
  • Other legitimate course development expenses.

Any full-time Assistant, Associate and Full Professors (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track) and full-time Lecturers from any discipline may apply for an ICD Grant. Previous recipients of ICD Grants are not eligible unless part of an inter-departmental team. 


All ICD participants, both individual and interdepartmental teams, are expected to…

  • Design or redesign an undergraduate course where they 1) develop robust obtainable learning objectives, 2) identify common barriers that students have when learning interdisciplinary concepts and develop appropriate learning objectives to overcome these, and 3) create a variety of learning-centered assessments.
  • Teach their undergraduate course in the fall or spring semester of the award year and, minimally, the next two consecutive iterations of the course;
  • Develop a continuous improvement plan and systematically assess student learning in their course;
  • Participate in on-going program assessment of their course and students’ learning, to include, for example, in-class observations, surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups;
  • Produce a portfolio so that their course materials are available to the CTL and home department.

In addition, we encourage all ICD participants to take part in:

  • An on-going faculty learning community that begins in mid-August and meets up to every month during academic year. Meetings will be held during the summer to support the course design/redesign process;
  • Reciprocal peer observations and follow-up discussions with other participants at least twice during the first semester their course is taught.


Courses eligible for ICD grant funding can be new or existing courses that:

  • Are taught at the undergraduate level.
  • Bring more than one discipline to bear on a contemporary question or problem.
  • Approach an object of study–an event, a text, an artifact, a set of texts or artifacts, etc.–from more than one disciplinary vantage point.

In addition:

  • Courses will cross departments/programs, preferably colleges/schools.
  • Courses could be team-taught, or designed by a multi-disciplinary team that will teach the course in rotation.
  • Courses could be rooted in one discipline and integrate expertise from other disciplines. This would need to be more, however, than a series of guest appearances in a course.
  • Courses will satisfy a program requirement (for general education or a major or minor for undergraduate programs).
  • Courses will be/become part of the regularly-offered curriculum; participating departments/programs will commit to offering the course at least three times over the next four years for undergraduate programs and at least every other year for graduate programs.
  • Undergraduate courses may be at any level (100-500), should require active learning and should appeal to students in more than one discipline.
  • Including undergraduate, graduate and/or advanced doctoral students, as appropriate, as part of the course design process is highly encouraged so that the course development can, itself, be an educational experience for our students and so that faculty can benefit from the student perspective.
  • Mentor for one semester any colleague who takes on future iterations of the course (if applicable).


Proposals for Interdisciplinary Course Development Grants must include the following materials, emailed to Matthew Trevett-Smith (mtrevett@bu.edu) as described below. The deadline for the 2016-2017 academic year has passed.

  • A detailed description of the proposed course, a rationale for its development, an explanation of its place in the permanent curriculum of the program, and a schedule of its offering for the next four years.
  • Brief bios of the faculty and students who will be involved in the course development.
  • A statement of how the program will measure the success of the course and how learning in the course will be assessed, and a plan for continuous course improvement.
    1. A timeline for course development.
    2. Brief statements of support from all department chairs and Deans.
    3. A budget.
      1. Proposals must include a financial contribution from the hosting Department and/or School. Such financial support will be an eligibility, rather than a review criterion.
  • Any current course syllabus/syllabi, which should include course descriptions, learning objectives, and general means of assessment (if applicable).

Proposal length: No more than 5 pages, plus supporting statements, budget, and syllabi.

Download the ICD Proposal Form and the ICD Budget Template. For help understanding BU fringe benefit requirements, please refer to these online guidelines while completing your budget proposal.


Email the Center for Teaching and Learning, at ctl@bu.edu.