Experiential Inquiry and Research Curriculum Enhancement Grant

Fund information:

up to $30,000 for one year with opportunity for renewal

Rice University's Experiential Inquiry and Research Fund awards competitive grants of up to $30,000 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. Development and Enhancement Grants are for departments/units that have already used assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses of their curricular inquiry and research scaffold. Grants can be used to support new initiatives that fill a gap in the scaffold or to enhance an existing initiative.

Funds awarded will be for one academic year 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, and Fondren Library) to design and implement curricular initiatives. 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:

  • Course development and implementation: materials, supplies, software, 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
  • Co-curricular support: student conference travel, stipends for undergraduate research
  • QEP graduate fellows: graduate students to support development and implementation of experiential inquiry and research into the curriculum (budgeted at $20/hr up to ten hours per week)
  • Assessment: tools, student incentives

Funding cannot be used to cover the following: overhead or indirect costs, equipment, academic term salary for faculty, or capital projects.

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

Brown Teaching Grant
Deadline: March 8, 2021
Contact: Frank Geurts (geurts@rice.edu)
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)
Deadline: rolling
Contact: Jennifer Wilson (jsw@rice.edu), 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.
  • Department program learning outcomes published in the General Announcements address at least three QEP student learning outcomes.
  • During proposal preparation, teams meet with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry; email eich@rice.edu to schedule.

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
  • Evidence of assessment that reveals strength and weaknesses in map of current curricular scaffold in experiential inquiry and research (see the inquiry scaffold)
  • Proposed impact of the initiative on the curricular scaffold
  • Proposed impact on and relevance of curricular change to QEP student learning outcomes
  • Commitment to including all QEP learning outcomes in department learning outcomes if they are not present already
  • Number of students (both majors and non-majors) expected to participate in the curriculum
  • Innovation of curricular change
  • Justification for proposed budget and plan for sustaining the curricular changes beyond the period of the grant award
  • Statement of departmental resources to support curricular change (e.g., funding, faculty time, materials)

How to Apply:

Proposals should be prepared using student learning outcomes and materials to support inquiry-based curriculum development at https://ouri.rice.edu/developing-inquiry-rich-curriculum. Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF to Caroline Quenemoen or Liz Eich by April 1, 2021 deadline. Proposals should include the following:

  1. A project description of no more than three pages (in 12-point type), including figures
  2. Curriculum map that demonstrates scaffolded experiential inquiry and research in major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor
  3. A budget indicating how the requested funds would be expended and listing resources sought or acquired from other sources
  4. A letter of support from the Chair of the department.

For questions or feedback, please contact Caroline Quenemoen (ckq@rice.edu).