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By supporting faculty pedagogical innovation, especially with technology. CU Next aims to increase the efficacy and efficiency of student learning in courses and degree programs. 


This CU Next Award is focused on supporting individual faculty who seek additional resources to innovate their courses and programs. Specifically, the Award aims to reduce technology-related and other barriers for individual and small groups of faculty pursuing projects that campus or department funding cannot cover (e.g., hardware, software, programming, vendor contracts). This initiative requires that faculty from at least two campuses are cooperating in the project and that there is campus commitment to the project.


Live FAQ session recording, February 16, 2022


Request for Proposals Now Open

Proposal submission deadline is April 4, 2022, 11:59 pm, with awardees to be announced by the end of spring semester 2022. 

Proposal Form

Project proposal requirements include:

1. A project plan, with multiple assessments across at least three class repetitions in different terms or semesters, up to three years
2. A Principal Investigator (PI), who submits the proposal and must be a tenured faculty, tenure track faculty, clinical teaching faculty, or senior or principal instructor        
3. Identifying all lead campus participants and collaborators from other campuses
4. A budget that includes all funding requests across all participating campuses
5. Commitment from all participating campuses, which articulates support for the role(s) of their participants in the project

General proposal guidelines (subject to minor changes prior to the request for proposals opening Jan 2022)

CU Next has total available funds of $1.2 million. Individual awards will not exceed $300,000, with a range from $100,000 to $300,000. The budget range takes into account expenses across all campus participants. Proposals will go through a campus vetting process by the PI’s campus. The System CU Next committee will conduct a review of campus vetted proposals and make final award decisions.

The proposal submission form provides form fields for the Principal Investigator plus lead campus and collaborating campus team member information, a project summary, and the budget total. The full proposal, outlined below, is requested as a pdf upload within the submission form.

 Format guidelines:

  • 10pt font size and line spacing no less than 1.15
  • Pages must be numbered 
  • Sections may not exceed the specified page limit
  • Content of each page must be clearly labeled at the top
  • Support materials - diagrams, charts, photos, weblinks, etc. - will be counted within the section page limits

Page 1-2 | Academic Innovation plan

Provide a description of the academic innovation that: 1. Outlines the proposed pedagogical innovation, including description of any technology supports (hardware, software, programming, vendor contracts, etc.), 2. Explains how this innovation will increase the efficacy and/or efficiency of student learning evaluated against stated learning outcomes for a course, courses or degree program, and 3. Includes a project timeline of sufficient duration to allow faculty and students to become facile with the innovation and results to be reasonably determined. Multiple assessments must be conducted across at least three class repetitions, up to three years. 

Page 3 | Metrics of Success

Clearly articulate how the effectiveness of the project will be assessed to convey impact in both final reporting and additional dissemination of innovation outcomes. Describe the potential for growth and impact of the proposed innovation beyond the duration of the requested funding period.

Page 4 | Collaboration plan

This initiative requires that faculty from at least two campuses are collaborating in the project. Faculty partnership across campuses can be challenging and thus the required partnership can be quite flexible. Describe the role of campus collaboration in achieving the goals of the project.

Page 5 | Communication plan

In addition to a required final report, describe the ways in which the outcomes of the proposed innovation will be disseminated campus-wide, System-wide, and to  state, national, or international audiences (e.g., webinars, publications, etc.).

Page 6-7 | Budget Table + Budget Justification

Provide a budget table for each participating campus indicating the use and distribution of requested funding to implement and evaluate the innovation. Also provide a justification that is reasonable and appropriate for the scope of work and scale of impact. 

  • Each campus will administer the component of the budget occurring on that campus. Therefore, campus participants should coordinate on the total budget requested, but submit in the proposal separate budgets in the proposal for planned expenses that will occur on each campus.
  • Dissemination (presentation at conferences), travel costs, and cost of physical space are not eligible for award funding. 
  • A teaching buyout might be an appropriate request in a proposal and the campus must be willing to support that effort even if the funds come from CU Next.
  • Keep in mind, campuses are expected to commit to providing support for the project as described in the next section, ‘Letters of Campus Commitment’. If campus support will take the form of matching funds, please include details in the budget table and justification.

Page 8+ | Letters of Campus Commitment (length may vary)

Provide a letter of campus commitment from each participating campus. Be sure each letter of campus commitment reflects the requisite campus support for all participants and includes all relevant signatories from that campus. Letter length and number of signatories will vary according to the level of participation in the project and commitment needed from a given campus.

Campus commitment may take many forms. For example, given that innovations will take multiple semesters to effectively implement and assess, departments must be willing to assign the faculty to these courses over multiple offerings, even if not the normal practice. Or to the extent that a proposal requires equipment storage or temporary classroom modification, the campus must be willing to support these requirements or assign the same teaching assistant for multiple semesters of the same course for effective execution of the innovation. Where teaching buyout is an appropriate request in a proposal, the campus must be willing to support the buyout, even if the funds come from CU Next. 

Questions regarding CU Next can be sent to academicinnovation@cu.edu.