Inquiry-Based Learning Planning Grants

Proposal timeline for the 2018-2019 academic year:

  • Proposals are due on or before February 28 at 5:00 pm CST.
  • Departments will be notified by April 1.

Fund information:

Planning Grants - up to $10,000 for one year (up to $5,000 for planning and up to $5,000 for IBL course pilot), non-renewable

Rice University's Inquiry-Based Learning Fund awards competitive grants of up to $10,000 to departments/units that oversee the curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Grants are intended to fund integration of experiential inquiry and research into the undergraduate curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Planning Grants are for departments/units that need time and resources to evaluate curriculum and identify gaps in the scaffolding of inquiry and research. Departments may submit a budget of up to $5,000 to be used for planning and assessment and an additional budget of up to $5,000 to pilot an IBL course in Spring 2020.

Funds awarded will be for academic year 2019-2020 and cannot carry over to a second year. Awarded departments/units agree to meet regularly with the Office of Inquiry-Based Learning and other relevant academic support centers (Center for Teaching Excellence, Program in Writing and Communication, Fondren Library, Information Technology) to design a curricular scaffold. Additionally, awarded departments will collaborate with the Office of Inquiry-Based Learning to assess the curricular scaffold and student learning outcomes in accordance with SACSCOC.

Allowable Costs:

Up to $5,000 for planning and assessment:

  • Faculty time: relief to support the planning process with graduate student TA or RA (department responsible for fringe)
  • QEP graduate fellows: graduate students trained by the Office of Inquiry-Based Learning to support design and assessment of experiential inquiry and research scaffold (budgeted at $20/hour up to ten hours per week)
  • Faculty development: attendance at conferences or workshops that support curricular development and assessment, pedagogical consultants brought to campus

Up to $5,000 for pilot curricular initiative:

  • Course development and implementation: materials, supplies, software, undergraduate or graduate TAs, and honoraria to support inquiry-based activities in courses
  • Off-campus learning: student travel, meals, and lodging associated with learning off campus; travel and meetings associated with working with off-campus partners

Departments are encouraged to seek additional funding for course development from the following sources:

Brown Teaching Grant
Deadline: March 4, 2019
Contact: Frank Geurts (
The Committee on Teaching invites all Rice faculty members to submit grant proposals for projects that foster excellence in undergraduate teaching at Rice. Funds for these Brown Foundation Teaching grants can be used to support a variety of activities, including “seminars and other programs aimed to improve the quality of teaching, and ... studies and experimental tests of new instructional methods or programs.” In previous years, awards have ranged from a few hundred dollars to $5,000.

Program in Writing and Communication (PWC) Grant
Deadline: rolling
Contact: Jennifer Wilson, Director of the PWC (
The PWC is eager to work with departments that are interested in integrating writing, speaking, or visual assignments into courses as part of their QEP initiative. Awards ranging from $5,000-$15,000 are available to support communication instruction, the development of course materials, and peer communication coaching.


Teams with a minimum of three full-time faculty of mixed rank who have authority over a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor are eligible to apply.

Review Process:

Office of Inquiry-Based Learning and the Faculty Advisory Committee will review proposals and consult with relevant Deans in making final award decisions.

Selection Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Identification of a department leadership team of tenured/tenure track and NTT faculty with influence and commitment to lead undergraduate curricular change
  • Commitment to developing an inquiry-based curriculum that supports the learning outcomes of the QEP (see the inquiry scaffold)
  • Commitment to revising department program learning outcomes published in the General Announcements to achieve the QEP learning outcomes if not sought already
  • Number of students (both majors and non-majors) expected to participate in the curriculum
  • Justification for proposed budget and plan for implementing the curricular changes beyond the period of the grant award
  • Statement of departmental resources to support curricular change (e.g., funding, faculty time)

How to Apply:

Proposals must be submitted using this webform by February 28, 2019. Proposals should include the following documents in PDF format:

  1. A project description of no more than three pages (in 12-point type), including figures;
  2. A budget indicating how the requested funds would be expended and listing resources sought or acquired from other sources;
  3. A letter of support from the Chair of the department.


For questions or feedback, please contact Caroline Quenemoen (