Partnering on Grants

Students talking at a symposium

Resources for Broader Impacts, Trainee Professional Development, and Mentoring Plans

Background

Research and training grant proposals often require the principal investigator (PI) to document how graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, or other students and educators will participate in training opportunities through your project, how outcomes will be disseminated to or propagated at other universities, and what broader impacts your project will have in terms of implications for the public or for broadening participation in higher education. The funding agency may also require a one-page formal document describing the plans for professional development of postdoctoral scholars or trainees funded by the research (a postdoctoral mentoring plan or an individual development plan).

The following article describes how University of Wisconsin’s analogous future faculty programming helps PIs address the NSF Broader impacts criteria.

Mathieu, R. D., Pfund, C. and Gillian-Daniel, D. L. 2009. Leveraging the NSF broader impacts criterion for change in STEM education. Change, 41(3): 50–55. (PDF available via JSTOR)

Available Services

Future Faculty and Academic Careers can help you address these requirements, either by providing a few sentences of text for your proposal (see below), or by writing a letter of support or letter of commitment describing the office’s role as a partner on professional development and outreach opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Depending on the nature of your proposal, it may instead be preferable to have a joint letter written by directors of several of the Graduate School’s professional development offices.

For purposes of writing your proposal, here are some ideas on ways that Future Faculty and Academic Careers might partner with you:

  • Presenting a half-day workshop on teaching or academic career preparation, tailored to your audience’s needs, or a mini-series of one-hour workshops.
  • Advising graduate student-led Teaching as Research projects related to the goals of your proposal; these are projects in which student use evidence-based practices to refine learning opportunities associated with courses or other events.
  • Providing opportunities for you or your students to present a workshop or seminar to a national audience of current and future faculty through the North American CIRTL Network.
  • Helping you create a training manual on a specialized future faculty preparation topic for the CIRTL Network website.

We’d also be happy to talk with you about playing other roles in your grant activities. We encourage you to contact us at futurefaculty@cornell.edu or 607-255-2030 with any inquiries about possibilities for supporting your proposal.

Describing the CIRTL Network

The Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is a network of 40 universities collaboratively offering resources, webinars, online courses, and in-person training opportunities for the professional development of graduate students and postdocs. The CIRTL mission is to enhance excellence in undergraduate education through the development of a national faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse learners as part of successful and varied professional careers. Cornell has been an active member of CIRTL since 2011. The CIRTL Network has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates. Additionally, ten CIRTL Network institutions, including Cornell, currently have an active NSF Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) grant to study and enhance graduate climate and academic career support structures.

Sample proposal text describing the CIRTL Network initiative

For 15 years, the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network has focused attention on the leverage point of preparing the future national STEM faculty to be both excellent teachers and excellent researchers. Nearly 80% of STEM PhDs are granted at only 100 research universities, allowing for a highly targeted intervention before graduates transition into faculty positions at the 4400 U.S. research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community and tribal colleges. Building on three core ideas – teaching as research, learning communities, and learning through diversity – CIRTL has developed, implemented and evaluated programs that demonstrably prepare future faculty to implement evidence-based, high-impact teaching practices as they move into higher education careers. These future faculty are the foundation for long-term, sustained national transformation of all institutions of higher education toward substantial increase in use of evidence-based teaching and learning practices. The CIRTL Network of nearly 40 major research universities, including Cornell University, represents one-third of the national STEM PhD production.

Three core ideas are at the foundation of CIRTL: Teaching as Research, Learning Communities, and Learning through Diversity, as defined below:

Teaching as Research is the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods by instructors to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of both students and teachers.

Learning Communities bring together groups of people for shared learning, discovery, and generation of knowledge. To achieve common learning goals, a learning community nurtures functional relationships among its members.

Learning through Diversity capitalizes on the rich array of experiences, backgrounds, and skills among student through faculty participants to enhance the learning of all. It recognizes that excellence and diversity are necessarily intertwined.

Future Faculty Resources at Cornell

  • Housed in the Graduate School, Future Faculty and Academic Careers prepares graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to excel as teachers, researchers, and mentors, working through a rich network of faculty, staff, and students brought together by shared ideas about the importance of evidence-based and inclusive teaching and mentoring practices. Through our participation in the national CIRTL Network, our university contributes and provides access to online seminars, courses, and training guides for interested graduate students, postdocs, and faculty or staff. In addition, a particular focus of the Future Faculty and Academic Careers program is on research mentorship, enabling graduate students and postdocs to effectively mentor undergraduate researchers and eventually supervise their own graduate students, postdocs, and research technicians.
  • Our partners at the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) also serve as a resource for the Cornell community by offering a wide array of research-based programs and services that support innovative teaching and reflective practice. CTI staff members encourage and support instructional practices that focus on student learning and develop critical thinking skills for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty.
  • The Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE) and Office of Postdoctoral Studies provide programming and support in leadership development, academic success, and navigating relationships with your advisor or supervisor. Our Director of Recruitment for the Graduate School is also housed within OISE.

Useful Resources

Future Faculty and Academic Careers

CIRTL Network

Additional Resources from the Graduate School

Broader Impacts

Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans