Promoting Academic Excellence at UNL

Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence ITLE Year 4

The Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln announces Year 4 of the Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence. This Initiative continues the deep commitment of the University to teaching excellence and student learning by making significant investments in undergraduate education. This academic year, the Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence will distribute $200,000 for projects that help students write better. All funds awarded must be expended by May 2009.

Proposals that also accomplish any of the following are especially welcome:

  • Re-tool courses, curriculum, or programs to incorporate more or better opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate competence in writing in and across the disciplines
  • Assess students' abilities in writing within the disciplines and use assessment data to redesign assignments, courses, or programs
  • Investigate writing within a discipline or profession, determining the full range of writing that occurs within the area, and use the results to re-design assignments, courses, or programs
  • Provide faculty and graduate teaching assistants with strategies for supporting writing and writing development in their classes, developing better writing assignments, defining expectations for writing, assessing student writing, and connecting college writing to students' post-baccalaureate lives
  • Foster new collaborations between faculty and programs within and across colleges that result in a stronger and more innovative focus on student writing

Recipients will be expected to share their work in a campus presentation/demonstration by December 2009.

To Apply:
Proposals must be submitted electronically to the dean of the originating college by October 31, 2007. Please direct specific inquiries about proposed projects to Dave Wilson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (472-3751 or

Each proposal must include:

  • The standard coversheet (see attached)
  • A 2-page proposal including:
    • A brief statement of need describing what you know already about your students' writing, and how you know it.
    • A description of the project, its scope, impact, relationship to the goals articulated for the Initiative, and relationship to the unit's 2007 strategic plan.
    • An assessment plan for determining the impact of the project on undergraduate student writing and learning. What data will you collect to assess impact? How will those data be analyzed and reported? What will be done with the assessment report?
    • A timeline for completing the project
    • A detailed budget.

Proposals will be reviewed at three levels:

  • the dean of the college from which the proposal originates
  • an advisory committee with representation from the Teaching Council, the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, Association of Students of the University of Nebraska, the Academic Planning Committee, the Academic Senate, and Undergraduate Studies
  • the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Reviews by deans will be based on the fit between the project and the college's strategic plans/priorities.

Reviews at later levels will be based on the following criteria:

  • Project Goals and Objectives: Does the project address the goals articulated for the Initiative? Is the project's relationship to the unit's strategic plan clear?
  • Project Plan: Are plans and procedures for achieving project goals well developed, innovative, worthwhile, and realistic? Are the project activities clearly related to the project goals? Is the project timeline feasible and realistic?
  • Project Impact: Is the project assessment plan strong? Will successful completion of the project have an impact on UNL undergraduate writing and learning, both now and in the future? Are there commitments from those who can turn data into action? Can the project be sustained beyond the initial funding?
  • Budget: Is the requested budget appropriate, feasible, and well defined?

Final selections will be made by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Send completed proposals electronically (in MS Word, pdf, or html format) by October 31, 2007, to your dean.

For assistance putting together a proposal:

  • attend the October 5, 2007 (10:30-12:00) presentation at the Kauffman Center by Dr. Chris Thaiss of the University of California-Davis.
  • read Engaged Writers and Dynamic Disciplines by Thaiss and Zawacki
  • consult the Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse at

Attend the October 5, 2007 (10:30-12:00) presentation at the Kauffman Center by Dr. Chris Thaiss of the University of California-Davis.

ITLE Sections

  • Two proposals win funding - see our March newsletter.
  • Call for Proposals - due to deans Oct. 17, 2008.
  • Deadline for Deans to submit Year 5 ITLE proposals from their colleges was Oct. 28, 2008.