Impact Awards


The Impact Grant supports the development of scalable strategies, inclusive pedagogies, and/or best practices in the classroom and laboratory that engage students across all disciplines and modalities while responding to new and existing challenges in higher education. 

Examples of eligible proposals include but are not limited to:

  • New instructional models and innovations (e.g., high-impact practices, vertically integrated projects, applied learning, undergraduate research)
  • Strategic use of technology to encourage student engagement and interaction, experimentation with hybrid, blended and online modalities
  • Experiential learning, peer-learning models or course redesigns that expand learning opportunities, such as through mini-mesters and modules.The grant is open to individual faculty and faculty teams within and across units. For the 2023-2024 cycle, general education courses (in development, approved or submitted for approval) will be given priority for a portion of the allocated funds.

Award Information

Applicants must clearly identify desired outcomes, metrics for evaluating outcomes, and ways that the project can be scaled to benefit other courses and faculty. Proposals must be associated with specific courses or labs that will be offered during the academic year to which the grant applies. Successful applicants will report on and publicly share their experiences implementing the proposal and share relevant data about outcomes upon completion of their project. A tentative detailed budget or description of intended use of funds is needed at submission. 

The dean’s office will allocate up to $70,000 to fund a maximum of 14 awards of up to $5,000. A portion of these funds will be dedicated to proposals focusing on general education courses (in development, approved or submitted for approval).

All full-time faculty in CHS whose employment is not conditional on a waiver are eligible to apply.

Applications must include a detailed budget or a description of the intended use of grant funds. Funds must be used in accordance with university guidelines for direct costs associated with the proposal, which can include the following: 1) professional development, 2) supplies/equipment, 3) travel, 4) summer salary, and 5) a course release during the Fall 2024 or Spring 2025 semester as long as there will still be implementation of the proposed project. Course releases need approval prior to submission from the Associate Dean of Research and the faculty member’s department chair/director. The award period will be from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025.

Cost extensions are not allowed and all funds must be expended by June 30, 2025. Awardees will need to complete the requested final report and be willing to share their experiences and results at a CHS event.


Please keep in mind that not all reviewers will be experts in every proposed field of study, and thus project descriptions should be written for a broad audience.

Proposals are limited to three pages and must include the following:

  • Title
  • Abstract (concisely convey, in lay terms, the nature of the project and its significance. 250 words maximum).
  • Introduction/Background
  • Specific aims
  • Significance to and impact of the project on teaching and student success in the associated coure(s).
  • Importance of Impact funding to launching/implementing/concluding the project, including whether the applicant has received/is currently receiving/will receive additional funding support from other sources
  • Plan to achieve aims

Applicants should address the proposal’s alignment with the Review Criteria outlined below. The narrative should be concise yet sufficiently detailed so reviewers can evaluate the proposal’s appropriateness and feasibility.

Use the citation format that is appropriate for your field. No page maximum, but limit it to highly relevant citations.

Please submit a tentative detailed budget or description of intended use of funds via the CHS Internal Budget Form.

  • Personnel: For each person included in the proposal, describe the activities they will perform and the estimated time and cost with these activities.
  • Travel: List estimated airfare, lodging, meals and incidental expenses as well as the approximate dates of travel and number of days of research. Economy class flights only are allowed. Travel funding requests must otherwise comply with VCU Office of Procurement Services guidelines. International travel must comply with current university policies.
  • Supplies/Equipment: Please itemize supplies and/or equipment in separate subcategories, such as software, subscriptions, books, materials, recordings, tools, chemicals, reagents, etc.
  • Other: Please describe and estimate the cost of any additional activities to be supported by the grant (e.g., conference fees, registration fees or tuition). Please indicate how you arrived at the estimate.
  • CV
  • Current and pending funding, and intended funding request (if not provided on CV)

Submission Instructions

Font should be Arial, at a size of 11 or larger. Margins, in all directions, must be at least 1”. The entire package (project description, CHS internal budget form, CV, current, pending and intended support) should be uploaded by 5:00 p.m. on February 2, 2024, via the form. The applicant should speak to their chair/director prior to submitting so that they are aware of the submission and can support the application. A letter of support from the chair/director is not required.

Submit form

Review Criteria

  1. Impact: The extent to which the proposed activity will:
    • Contribute to scalable strategies and best practices in teaching and learning
    • Enhance student success
    • Benefit the applicant’s unit, the College of Humanities and Sciences, the university and the field of higher education
  2. Quality: The strength of proposal elements (e.g. proposal narrative, budget, CV and other submitted materials)
  3. Preparedness: How well the applicant establishes readiness and/or competence relative to proposed activity (e.g. relevant knowledge, interests, skills or certifications)
  4. Deliverable: What is the anticipated product or output resulting from the conclusion of the proposed activity

2024 Recipients

  • Caddie Alford, Ph.D. (English)
  • Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D. (Robertson)
  • Volkan Aytar, Ph.D. (Sociology)
  • Leigh Ann Craig, Ph.D. (History)
  • Andrew Crislip, Ph.D. (History)
  • Christine Cynn, Ph.D. (GSWS)
  • Heather Nunnally, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Sachi Shimomura, Ph.D. (English)
  • Joshua Sieber, Ph.D. (Chemistry)
  • Faedah Totah, Ph.D. (World Studies)
  • Amanda Wintersieck, Ph.D. (Political Science)

Past Recipients

  • Rebecca Gibson, Ph.D. (Anthropology)
  • Sierra Beecher, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Jaclyn Vick, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Cara Cario, Ph.D., and Jennifer Olson, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Gastón I. Jofre Rodríguez, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Jody Cox, Mason Hester and Aimee Ellington, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Oyita Udiani, Ph.D., Rani Satyam, Ph.D., and David Chan, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Caddie Alford, Ph.D. (English)
  • Daniel Morales, Ph.D. (History)
  • Danielle Kirkman, Ph.D., and Matthew Scott (Kinesiology and Health Sciences)
  • Nicholas Wong, Ph.D. (Math)
  • Jessica Trisko Darden, Ph.D. (Political Science)
  • Amanda Wintersieck, Ph.D., and Allie Reckendorf, Ph.D. (Political Science)
  • Chris Burdett, Ph.D., and Bill Newmann, Ph.D. (Political Science)
  • Ellen Carpenter, Ph.D. (Psychology)
  • Judith W. Crenshaw (Robertson)
  • Tim Bajkiewicz, Ph.D. (Robertson)
  • Mariam Alkazemi, Ph.D. (Robertson), and Julie Zinnert, Ph.D. (Biology)
  • Frankie Mastrangelo, Ph.D. (Sociology)