NSF's Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Program, Track 1: A Good Place to Start for Submitting Statistics Education Grant Proposals

Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 14, Number 1 (Spring 2009)

Are you looking for a good place to start submitting grant proposals in statistics education to the National Science Foundation? Are you interested in trying out a new and innovative teaching approach in the statistics courses at your institution? Do you have a great idea for developing new curriculum materials and testing them out to see if they work? If so, then the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Program, Track 1 might be a good place to start.

However, don't stop reading just because you are already experienced with CCLI. There have been changes made to the program, especially for projects with a large scope and scale. The new program solicitation for CCLI (NSF 09-529) is published on the NSF website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf09529.

Big Picture:
CCLI seeks to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all undergraduate students. To achieve this goal, CCLI supports the following activities: creating learning materials and strategies, implementing new instructional strategies, developing faculty expertise, assessing and evaluating student achievement, and conducting research on undergraduate stem education. Depending on the scope, scale, and stage of the proposed work, you would consider applying for Type 1, 2 or 3 projects or CCLI Central Resource Projects. Below you will find a very brief summary of each type of project along with budget limitations and proposal deadlines. The program solicitation provides a list of examples for each type of proposal which help demonstrate the scope and scale. Type 2 and 3 projects will typically reflect greater dependence on previous work, supported by the CCLI program or by other sources, and may be at a more mature stage of development than Type 1 projects.

Type 1 Projects: Even though Type 1 projects are a "starting place for new innovations," the results from these projects are expected to be significant enough to contribute to understanding undergraduate STEM education. Proposed evaluation efforts, which may include pilot studies, should be informative with respect to student learning or engagement.
Budget Limit: $200,000 ($250,000 when four-year colleges and universities collaborate with two-year colleges) for 2 to 3 years
Proposal Deadline: May 21 or 22, 2009 (depending on the first letter of your state name)

Type 2 Projects: Type 2 projects will typically address more than one program component, or, if they focus on a single component, will address it at a scale that goes well beyond a single institution. Type 2 projects should carry the development to a state in which the evaluations of the projects have evidence to support the claim that the projects’ efforts are effective. At a minimum, the implementation, if successful, should be institutionalized at the participating colleges and universities.
Budget Limit: $600,000 for 2 to 4 years
Proposal Deadline: January 13, 2010

Type 3 Projects: Type 3 projects are intended to support large scale efforts. These projects can either continue previous work or break new ground at a large scale. Evaluation activities should be focused on the impact of student learning in a broad spectrum of the population served by the project. Evaluation plans for Type 3 projects should include efforts to describe the impact of the work on the prevailing models of undergraduate STEM education and to include strategies that assist in the implementation of the project's activities in new contexts.
Budget Limit: Negotiable, but not to exceed $5,000,000 over 5 years
Proposal Deadline: January 13, 2010

CCLI Central Resource Projects: CCLI Central Resource projects assume responsibility for leadership and implementation of activities that sustain a community of practice engaged in transforming undergraduate STEM education. These projects will work to increase the capabilities of and communications among the STEM education community and to increase and document the impact of CCLI projects. CCLI Central Resource projects that work across the disciplines, and at a national scale, are encouraged.
Budget Limit: Negotiable depending on the scope and scale of the activity for up to 5 years
Proposal Deadline: January 13, 2010
Note: CCLI Central Resource Project proposals for small focused workshops may be submitted at any time after consulting with a program officer.

As you are writing your proposal, please remember that all projects must include intellectual merit and broader impacts as separate statements in the project summary or the proposal will be returned without review. Don't forget to elaborate on those review criteria in the project description as well. Furthermore, the program solicitation describes the following important features that ALL promising projects share: quality, relevance, and impact; student focus; use of and contribution to knowledge about STEM education; STEM education community-building; sustainability; expected measurable outcomes; and project evaluation. Read the program solicitation carefully. Additionally, a revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 09-1, is effective for proposals submitted on or after January 5, 2009. 

Once a proposal is submitted, it will undergo a peer review process as well as review by NSF Program Officers. NSF's goal is to have 70% of proposals processed (either awarded or declined) within six months of the submission deadline. Hopefully, you will be able to turn your exciting, innovative, idea for improving STEM education into a winning proposal.

If at anytime in the proposal writing process you have a question, then you can contact a program officer. For those of you who know program officer Elizabeth Teles, she has recently retired after 17 years of service to NSF. You may also know program officer Lee Zia, who is on a one-year leave of absence to take advantage of a fellowship opportunity. Currently, there are two program officers in the Division of Undergraduate Education's mathematical sciences group who will be working on CCLI: Dan Maki (dmaki@nsf.gov, 703-292-4620) and Ginger Holmes Rowell (growell@nsf.gov, 703-292-5108). We would be very glad to talk with you about your CCLI proposal ideas.

(This information was submitted by Ginger Holmes Rowell. Ginger is on a leave of absence from Middle Tennessee State University, where she is a Professor of Mathematics, to work at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view and opinions of the National Science Foundation.)

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