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The Lift Awards


The Lift Awards supports the professional development of non-tenure eligible faculty to enhance their valued contributions to the College Humanities and Sciences’ teaching and service missions and to help them achieve career milestones as delineated by the CHS’s promotion and tenure guidelines. Examples of eligible proposals include certification programs, training, conference fees and travel, curricular development, creation of course content, research and scholarship on teaching, learning, and other relevant fields, salary support or the purchase of software licenses or equipment for use in the classroom.

Award Information

Applicants must clearly explain how the award will contribute to their professional development in their current capacity as term faculty and result in a pedagogical outcome or service contribution that benefits our students, the applicant’s unit, the College of Humanities and Sciences and the university.  

Number of Awards

Up to $50,000 will be allocated to funding these awards corresponding to up to 10 awards.


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

Budget/Allowable Costs

A detailed budget is needed at submission. CHS will fund up to $5,000 for each award. Funds must be used in accordance with university guidelines for direct costs associated with the proposal, which can include a course release during the spring 2024 semester or for summer salary. Course releases need approval prior to submission from the associate dean of research and the faculty member’s department chair/director.

Cost extensions are not allowed and all funds must be expended by June 30, 2024. 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.

Proposal Narrative

Three pages maximum, including title, abstract and project description.

The project description must address how the proposed activities are consistent with the goals of the program as outlined under Review Criteria below. The description should include sufficient detail such that reviewers can evaluate the appropriateness and feasibility of the proposed plan. The narrative should describe the proposed activity in a concise manner.

  • 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 the applicant’s professional development in their current capacity as term faculty; the applicant’s unit, the College, the university and field; and the applicant’s students (where applicable)
  • Importance of Lift 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

References Cited/Bibliography

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

Budget and Justification

Please submit a detailed account of the expenses associated with the planned proposal with written justification via the CHS internal budget form

  • Personnel: For each person included in the proposal, describe the activities they will perform, the estimated number of hours to be worked, the hourly rate of pay 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: Please itemize supplies 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 or pending funding information 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 should be uploaded by 5:00 p.m. on September 8, 2023 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 the applicant’s achieving career milestones as delineated by the College’s P&T guidelines (e.g., by leading to a useful certification establishing expertise, resulting in beneficial pedagogical innovation, contributing to professional reputation or other indicators of success in teaching and service)
    • benefit the applicant’s unit, the College of Humanities and Sciences, the university and the field of higher education enhance student success
    • enhance student success
  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


  • Christine Booker, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences - Pursuing an Online Certificate Program
  • Gretchen Comba, Professor, Department of English - Tidal Basin: Linked Stories
  • Catherine Connon, Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Science - STRmix: Untangling DNA mixtures
  • Eli Coston, Assistant Professor, Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies - Social Justice Case Studies: A Pedagogical Intervention in GSWS Introductory Courses   
  • Judith Crenshaw, Instructor, Robertson School of Media and Culture - Tools and Resources for Inclusive Learning: An EID Toolkit for Teaching
  • Bernard Means, Assistant Professor, School of World Studies - Revisiting Peale’s Mastodon and America’s First Scientific Expedition
  • Kamilia Rahmouni, Assistant Professor, School of World Studies - ‘Giving Voice’ to Students: Arabic Heritage Learner’s Attitudes Towards Second Dialect Learning
  • Maria Carolina Yaber, Associate Professor, Department of Biology - General Education Assessment Program at VCU (ConnectED); Leadership and Execution of the Program