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Category: Grants-funding (Page 1 of 2)

Zx23 Project Request for Applications Released

zzzVCCS colleges interested in being part of the…drumroll please…ground-breaking…innovative…envelope-pushing Zx23 Project can now download the official Zx23 Project Request for Applications.

The Z x 23 Project is a one-year grant to support the VCCS’s long-term goal of scaling Z-Degrees to all 23 VCCS colleges. The $200,000 grant from The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, combined with matching funds from Chancellor DuBois and the System Office, will be used to fund, support, and train faculty and staff at up to fifteen Virginia community colleges interested in building Z-Degrees. Each Zx23 Project college is eligible for a grant of up to $15,000 to develop the first twelve courses of a Z-Degree. Lumen Learning, Inc. will work closely with faculty and staff at participating colleges to help build these pathways, host the courses in Blackboard Learn, and evaluate the outcomes of the pilots. The grant period ends June 24, 2016.

Please read the Request for Applications for application deadlines, grant details, project deliverables, and timelines. The Request for Applications and the Zx23 Project online application form can be found on the project website at​


First in the World Grant

Home___U_S__Department_of_EducationOn Monday, the US Department of Education announced another round of First in the World grants, offering $60 million to eligible colleges and universities for the development and testing of innovative approaches and strategies to improve postsecondary education attainment.  A significant chunk of the grant funds–$16 million–is reserved for institutions designated as minority-serving institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

From the USDOE’s FITW website:

The First in the World (FITW) Program will provide grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes and make college more affordable for students and families, and to develop an evidence base of effective practices. Institutions of higher education or consortia of such institutions are eligible applicants for FITW grants. We encourage applicants to partner with public and private institutions and agencies that can assist the applicant to achieve the goals of the project.

The deadline for applications is June 26, 2015.  The grants will be awarded no later than September 30, 2015. For more information on the grant program, go to

The Portable Z: We’re Doing Five Blades

Portable ZOne of my favorite Onion articles is an expletive-laced “op-ed” by fictitious Gillette CEO and President James M. Kilts responding to his company’s lack of innovation in the “multi-blade” razor game. Softening up the language a bit so the VCCS will continue to allow me to blog, the modified headline reads: “Screw It. We’re Doing Five Blades.” I’m not going to link to it for obvious reasons, but you get the drift. Google the Onion + five blades if you want to read the whole, hilarious, testosterone-soaked article. Again: lots of cuss words.

Well, Virginia’s Community Colleges are “doing five blades,” too. Not in the multi-blade razor/moisturizing aloe strip space, of course. No, instead–building on the pioneering work of Tidewater Community College–the VCCS is taking OER to the next, audacious, metaphorical five-blade level by scaling the zero-textbook-cost degree–or Z Degree–to all 23 VCCS colleges.

The initiative, called the Z x 23 Project, is made possible by a generous grant from The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, an organization with a deep interest in understanding how to successfully scale OER. The one-year grant will allow the VCCS to kickstart the process of building out the Z Degree by providing funding, support, and training to fifteen (15) VCCS colleges to begin building pathways to their own Z Degrees. An initial cohort of 6 colleges will begin work right away and work through the summer. A second cohort of 9 colleges will get underway in early fall 2015. Each participating Z x 23 college will pilot the open courses they adopt for this project. Lumen Learning, the VCCS’s partner in this endeavor, will work closely with participating institutions to build these pathways, host the courses in Blackboard Learn, and evaluate the outcomes of the pilots. Along the way, we also want to document how OER successfully scales and becomes mainstream, and answer the question, “How do we make Z degrees portable?”

Virginia’s community colleges are known internationally for their innovative OER work and significant accomplishments in developing and using open materials. TCC’s groundbreaking Z Degree, the first all-OER degree in the world, is partially responsible for putting Virginia on the OER map. However, much of this attention also comes from Virginia’s uncommon central structure, which enables the system to translate a commitment to scale OER into action. Sixteen VCCS colleges have developed and deployed OER courses. Over 70 open courses have been developed using Chancellor’s Innovation Funds (CIF), Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grants, Professional Development Grants, or local college funds. Collectively, the efforts of Virginia’s Community Colleges have saved students millions of dollars in textbook costs. And with the addition of 2 new Z Degrees from NVCC, the VCCS now has 3 all-OER associate degrees. All of this has taken place in less than 3 years.

This is a growing, global movement, and the next three years are going to bring even more dramatic results. This grant from the Hewlett Foundation is going to allow the VCCS to continue to lead the way forward.

Details about how your college can become a Z x 23 college will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. In the meantime, feel free to post a comment on here or contact me directly to express your interest or get additional information.

Announcing the 2014-15 CIF Awards

Sticky_Notes_2 Congratulations to the following projects selected to receive awards from the 2014-15 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund. The 21 winning proposals below were selected from a total of 37 submissions from 21 different VCCS colleges. Due to limited funding, the CIF Review Committee, made up of both academic and workforce staff, was faced with the difficult task of judging the best projects from among many very worthy proposals.

The winning proposals include the development of a mobile 3D printing lab, several open educational resource (OER) projects, as well as many other compelling projects, including one that explores innovative financial aid processes and another that will create competency-based instruction for developmental math.  Once completed, these openly licensed projects can be used by any of our 23 VCCS colleges.

You can read more about each CIF project by clicking on the word Link beside the project titles below.

Link Project Title College Credit Award
Link Educacion Para Todos/Education for All LFCC Credit $13,748.00
Link Enhancing Learning through Early Academic Intervention Strategies VWCC Credit $16,130.00
Link GET CONNECTED with Pathway Connection: “Connecting high school completion to college and career readiness/success” NVCC Non-Credit $5,214.00
Link Faculty Inquiry Groups (FIG) – A Collaborative Approach to Hybrid Certification NVCC Credit $13,250.00
Link LEAD Academy: Leadership, Education, Engagement And Development to Increase Student Success through the GEC VHCC Credit $29,250.00
Link Expansion of Paul D. Camp Community College's Trades Programs (Fast-Track Facilities Maintenance Technology CSC and HVAC CSC) PDCCC Credit $10,700.00
Link Expanding Student Access and Success Through New Financial Aid Initiatives PDCCC Credit $25,320.00
Link Charlottesville Area Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAAMP) PVCC Non-Credit $14,820.00
Link Fabricating a Fast Track Credentialed Welder Pipeline through a K-12 and Industry Partnerships DSLCC Credit $50,000.00
Link Jump Start to College Success MECC Credit $46,575.00
Link Innovative Student Success Strategies NRCC Credit $13,600.00
Link ACT-4 Scholars Program RCC Credit $10,200.00
Link Capstone for Learning Online and Universal Design (CLOUD) JSRCC Credit $13,470.00
Link Veterans Training and Employment Network (VTEN): Advanced Manufacturing TCC Non-Credit $37,370.00
Link Bridging the Gap for Success in CTE RCC Credit $19,800.00
Link Active Learning Classroom Space BRCC Credit $39,000.00
Link Dynamic Texts: Multiple models for integrating OER JTCC Credit $14,074.00
Link Fabulous Fab Lab: Traveling Rapid Prototype Maker Workshop TCC Non-Credit $25,000.00
Link Capturing the Methods of Master Teachers PVCC Credit $16,303.00
Link Developmental Mathematics @ PVCC: Implementing and Aligning Competency-Based Instruction PVCC Credit $20,850.00
Link Creating an OER Community between Community College and High School Faculty JSRCC Credit $42,473.00
Link Project Title College Credit Award
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Get innovatin’: Announcing the 2014-15 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund


Today Chancellor Glenn DuBois announced the call for proposals for the 2014-2015 Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF). This fund provides crucial support to college faculty and staff who are driven to develop innovative projects, test out their ideas, and investigate new, inventive ways to meet the goals of Achieve 2015, particularly the goals of supporting access and increasing student success.

Past CIF recipients have used the funds to contribute such valuable, lasting projects as PluggedIn VA, the courses in the Teaching Online Program (TOP, IDOL, LOGO, TOTAL), Northern Virginia’s OER-Based Associate Degree Project, and a number of crucial workforce certifications and academic programs.

Awards range from $5000 to $50,000 for innovative proposals from colleges. Of particular interest to the CIF Selection Committee are proposals for projects that address the following areas of need:

  • Competency-based learning
  • Credit for prior learning
  • Employability skills
  • Expedited program pathways
  • Innovative approaches financial aid disbursement
  • Innovative student success strategies
  • K-12 alignment & transfer
  • Open educational resources
  • Structured program pathways

Proposals are due by 11:59 pm October 10th, 2014. The announcement of awards will be made after October 24th, 2014. CIF awards must be spent by June 30th 2014.

You will find all of the application materials and online submission form at


Did you miss yesterday’s Chancellor’s Innovation Fund webinar?

Tsk, tsk. However, you’re in luck, thanks to my Ronco® Video Majik Webinar Playback Recorder and Rotisserie. During the hour-long webinar I not only talked about the upcoming release of the Call for Proposals for the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund but also prepared a delicious rump roast for my entire family, with no pots to scrub or webinar grease to clean up afterwards!

Kidding aside: you can find a link to the recorded session here and a copy of the slidedeck here. The infomercial for the Ronco Rotisserie and BBQ is posted below for your enjoyment.

Announcement: the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant, Deux

open_book_neonTonight (April 10th, 2014) during the New Horizon’s Excellence in Education Awards dinner,  Chancellor Glenn DuBois will be announcing the next round of the Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant. Because you are reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you get an advanced peek at the grant details and online application. Don’t say I never gave you nothin’.

Building on the success and momentum of the 2013 grant, which produced twelve high-enrollment, faculty-developed courses in which all required materials are free and openly licensed, the next phase of the Chancellor’s project will focus on increasing OER adoption by incentivizing VCCS faculty content experts to build and curate a library of open educational resources . The 2014-15 grants will be awarded to individuals who will form multi-college content teams to identify and review open content for high-enrollment course sequences (BIO 101-102, CHM 111-112, etc.). Each grantee will receive $1000 to collect these materials as well as  use them  to build and pilot their own OER courses at their respective colleges. Other VCCS faculty will be able to confidently select from this curated content to incorporate into their courses however they wish.

This OER development model of content teams has been used successfully in the Kaleidoscope Project, an effort several of our colleges are participating. Grantees will be supported by Lumen Learning.

For more information about the grant, or to fill out the online application, follow this link to my Chancellor’s OER Adoption Grant page. You’ll find out more grant details and links to the RFP and online application. The turnaround time for applying is pretty short: the deadline is April 28th, 2014. Good luck!


Hit the innovation bullseye, get $5 million


Pull your best arrows out of the quiver, take careful aim,  and hit the innovation bullseye and you could steal away with up to $5 million in  booty from the Robin Hood organization. Robin Hood’s “College Success” Prize  is a jackpot of $5 million that will go to the individual or team that develops a scalable technology solution to help community college students stay on track to a timely graduation.

The  goal of the organization is to alleviate poverty.  Robin Hood believes that developing innovative, scalable, and technology-enabled tools that improve the academic performance of underprepared college students can help achieve that goal.

Here is a description of the competition from the Robin Hood web site:

The competition is open to individuals and teams that develop scalable solutions that will help more community college students graduate within 2-3 years.  Competitors may address whichever set of student skills they believe will produce the greatest success. These may include math, reading, or writing, as well as behavioral, non-cognitive or non-academic factors.

The Prize will reward successful interventions – such as smartphone apps, computer applications, and web-based tools—that are aimed at the individual student and will supplement existing curricula and supportive services such as tutoring.

The competition launched in March 2014 and continues through October 2018, with the prize money distributed incrementally based on results.

Announcing the 2013-14 CIF Grant Awardees

The annual Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) Grant provides colleges with an opportunity to apply for and receive funding for innovative projects aligned with Achieve 2015, particularly those that support the goals of access and student success. Selected projects can receive up to $75,000. Past CIF projects include the multi-college Teaching Online Program (TOP), PHCC’s HOPE: High-demand Occupational Programs for Employment (nominated for a 2014 Bellwether Award), and NVCC’s OER Based General Education Certificate Program.

This year, there were a record number of submissions, which made the task of selecting the best projects from so many worthy ones incredibly challenging. Grantees were selected by a committee of workforce and academic staff using  a rubric aligned with the CIF criteria outlined in the request for proposals.

The following very worthy projects are the 2013-14 CIF grant winners. Congratulations to this year’s grantees!


Project Title

Award Amount


BRCC Welding, Machining, & Fabrication Program



Preparing for the Virginia Placement Test



Reaching Out with Expanded On-Line and Summer Enrichment Activities



GCC Podcast Partners in Regional Workforce and Economic Development



ESCC Mini-MOOC: Orientation to Online Learning



Increasing College and Career Readiness in Future STEM Workers



Conceptual Exploration of a Virtual Environment in the Student Development Classroom



Principles of Accounting II OER Content



Innovative Course Development: From Manufacturing to Gaming



NOVA ELI OER-Based General Studies Program



TOTAL: Mainstreaming the Innovation



Advancing Education and Career Pathways for Veteran Students in Northern Virginia



Innovation Engineering: Create, Communicate, Commercialize



Homework System for Chemistry and Biology Classes at PVCC



Sharing the Wisdom and Methods of Master Teachers



Pathway to OER: Embracing Open Content in the Classroom



Virtual Employment Academy (VEA)



Developing OERs in STEM-H Courses to Increase Student Access



Connecting Advisors to Improve Student Success



Creating a Bridge to Success–VWCC Quick Connect for Manufacturing Production Technician (MPT)


Canvas: Innovation in Education Grant


Instructure, the company that makes the Canvas LMS, has just announced the Innovation in Education grant, offering a total of $100k in grants to  spur innovation in education. Five innovative higher ed proposals (five for K12, as well) will be selected by Canvas to receive $10K in grant money. Submission topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Facilitating competency-based learning
  • Engaging students through academic career
  • Blending online and face-to-face courses
  • New models of content and curriculum development and sharing
  • Applying universal design to online learning

Winners will be announced at SXSWedu in March 2014. To apply go to

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