Inquiry and Research Curriculum Planning Grant

Fund information:

up to $5,000 for one year, non-renewable

Rice University’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (OURI) awards competitive Planning Grants up to $5,000 to departments/units overseeing the curriculum of a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor. Planning Grants are intended to fund assessment of a unit’s experiential inquiry and research within undergraduate curricula. Planning Grants are for units that need time, resources, and support to evaluate curricula and identify gaps in the department’s undergraduate inquiry and research scaffolding. Importantly, Planning Grants include substantive and systematic evaluations of a unit’s undergraduate curricula with a curriculum map according to OURI’s template as a final product. For more information on curriculum maps, see:

Funds awarded will be for the 2024-2025 academic year and cannot be carried over to a second year. Additionally, funded departments will collaborate with OURI during the grant award year to develop an assessment rubric that establishes a baseline evaluation of existing curricular scaffold and explore opportunities for inquiry-based learning in the curriculum.

Allowable Costs:

Up to $5,000 for evaluation and assessment of curricula.

  • Planning process: graduate student TA or RA (department responsible for fringe) to support the planning process or to provide relief of duties to allow for faculty time to engage in the process; summer salary to NTT faculty for assessment of curriculum and planning
  • Faculty development: attendance at conferences or workshops that support curricular development and assessment, pedagogical consultants brought to campus

Funding CANNOT be used to cover the following: overhead or indirect costs, equipment, academic term salary for faculty, summer salary for tenured/tenure-track faculty, or capital projects.

Departments are encouraged to seek additional funding for course development by applying for an OURI Research Rich Course grant, the Brown Teaching Grant and/or for a grant from the Program in Writing and Communication (PWC).


  • Teams must be comprised of at least three mixed-rank full-time faculty. Team members must have authority over a major, area major, or interdisciplinary major/minor.
  • During proposal preparation, teams are required to meet at least once with OURI staff to discuss application materials, eligibility, and fit. (email to schedule)

Review Process:

OURI 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. Teams should have the necessary commitment and authority to lead undergraduate curricular assessment and carry out regular evaluation of the program
  • Demonstrated commitment to developing an inquiry-based curriculum map that identifies strengths and gaps in supporting research-rich student learning outcomes
  • Commitment to engage OURI to learn about support for efforts to address identified gaps in the curriculum
  • Statement of existing departmental resources to support curricular change (e.g., funding, faculty time, materials)
  • Commitment to revising department program learning outcomes published in the General Announcements to address the OURI learning outcomes if not sought already
  • Plan to conduct baseline assessment of learning outcomes using the OURI rubrics
  • Attention to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion relative to assessing inquiry activities within courses
  • Justification for proposed budget

How to Apply:

Proposals should be prepared using student learning outcomes and materials to support inquiry-based curriculum development at Proposals must be submitted as a single PDF to Liz Eich by April 1, 2024. Complete proposals include at least the following:

For questions or feedback, please contact Liz Eich (

  1. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: NO MORE than THREE pages (12-point type). Descriptions should answer the following questions:
    • How do your curricular assessment goals and change efforts align with OURI identified, inquiry-rich student learning outcomes?
    • How do you demonstrate the departmental commitment curricular change and assessment? Describe departmental resources, faculty engagement, and plans to use OURI resources for curricular evaluation.
    • What are proposed activities, and how will they contribute to the inquiry-based experience for all students?
  2. BUDGET: Clear identification of both expenses and how funds will be spent to address needs identified in the proposal.
  3. SUPPORT LETTER: A letter from the department/unit chair indicating support for both grant application and expressed openness to curriculum change.

Please contact Liz Eich ( or Danny Gibboney (