Mellon Curricular Transformation

Proposing a Curricular Transformation Plan

A key outcome of the Foundational Dialogues will be the development of a curricular transformation plan. This plan should be no more than three pages total, including a narrative, budget, and timeline. The narrative section should include:

  • a transformation plan that addresses and considers the three areas listed below,
  • a timeline of up to two years that outlines the approximate timing of curricular transformation,
  • a reflection on how the department or program will know if it meets its goals and how it will sustain the work past the life of the grant, and
  • a list of the team doing the work.

In writing the narrative, departments and programs must address each of the following three areas that form the core of any curriculum. (The bullets underneath offer some suggestions for possible consideration in units’ plans.)

  1. Curricular content (in majors/minors and/or specific courses) 
  • Identify how white supremacy, colonialism, and settler colonialism are manifested in the unit’s current curriculum, including assumptions about the “history” or “canons” of the discipline
  • Identify barriers and challenges that students experience in and across the curriculum content, including but not limited to barriers/challenges regarding accessibility (physical, mental, emotional, cultural, linguistic, materially, etc.), race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and faith/non-faith
  • Identify resources useful to more complete, accurate, and fulsome curricular content
  1. Structure and sequencing of curriculum and major/minor requirements
  • Use data to identify and address structural barriers in major/minor/thesis/advising requirements—including “hidden” requirements—that prevent the inclusion and flourishing of all students 
  • Consider the impacts of the major/minor/thesis/advising structures as they pertain to emerging trends and requirements in post-graduate education and employment  
  • Consider transformations to curricular requirements and sequencing that will lead to an educationally just learning environment—physically, mentally, linguistically, structurally, materially, culturally, etc.—for students and faculty.
  1. Pedagogy
  • Assess current pedagogies and practices, focusing on those that marginalize, exclude, or other students
  • Identify inclusive, anti-racist, and decolonizing pedagogies that ensure all students have the opportunity to thrive 
  • Collaborate across disciplines by involving other faculty and staff on campus 
  • Consider co-curricular partnerships and programs, including community-engaged learning and research, that support or complement the classroom teaching and learning
  • Identify strategies for supporting and increasing ongoing faculty development around—and building faculty’s capacity for—inclusive and equitable pedagogy, advising, and curricular design
  • Consider students’ ability to access technology and course materials when redesigning courses
  • Consider how to incorporate universal design and other inclusive forms of learning/technology/demonstration of knowledge for evaluating student progress and success.

Budget and Funding

Proposals must include a budget of up to $25,000 that details proposed expenses, including travel, consultants, or supply purchases. Funding may be used for the following expenses:

  • Stipends or course releases (pending AAC approval) for academic unit faculty to review curriculum, develop or revise courses, conduct research on methods they seek to adopt, or gain expertise in inclusive pedagogies. The maximum stipend per person is $5,000. Academic units wishing to provide stipends to a large group of faculty should align the compensation requested with the roles and responsibilities of each participating faculty member;
  • stipend for outside consultants;
  • wages for student interns assisting with curricular revision or development;
  • travel for professional development related to curricular transformation (rather than faculty scholarship). Such travel might include site visits to other colleges and universities or attendance at conferences or workshops about pedagogy;
  • materials, software, or other expendable supplies; and
  • modest meeting costs (up to $500 per project), not including meals or refreshments, per the Mellon Foundation’s restrictions.

We encourage requests for expenses other than stipends, within the $25,000 maximum, and particularly encourage the inclusion of faculty development.

Institutional Support

The Mellon Curriculum Transformation Grant Committee recognizes the significant effort involved in developing or revising courses, curricular structures, and pedagogies within an academic unit. An instructional designer will support academic units throughout this process and the Committee will be available for regular consultation. Support and guidance can take many forms, such as incorporating students and students’ voices, curricular consultation, implementing new teaching methods, and assistance developing an assessment plan.