The University Forum (UF) promotes a sense of community, facilitates communication and cooperation among diverse constituencies of the University community, and collaborates in support of the University mission, values statement, and strategic plan with special emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and emergent issues of community importance. This is accomplished through a competitive request for proposal process facilitated annually by the Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) with the support of a dedicated and engaged group of faculty, staff, and students. The UF team invites grant applications for programs and activities that enhance the WCU campus climate for students, staff, and faculty through scholarship, programming, creative and collaborative activities, teaching, learning, and other aspects of campus community development.
As in years past, the UF welcomes program and research proposals that promote our understanding of race/color/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, immigration and/or international topics, veterans, people with disabilities, health and mental health disparities, non-traditional students, and projects that address educational and opportunity gaps for students, faculty and staff/administrators.
These guidelines include directions and criteria that apply to all proposals submitted to the UF Grant Program. Please be sure to adhere to the information provided in Part I: General Information and Guidelines; the specific criteria and stipulations provided in Part II: UF Grant Program Description; and Part III: Proposal Instructions & RFP Application Form.
The overall purpose and goal of the UF Grant Program as recommended by the Campus Climate Survey Advisory Committee is: “Identify sustainable initiatives to provide faculty, staff, and students with the skills to engage in dialogues related to sensitive subjects, in a civil and respectful manner and provide safe venues for these discussions; develop a pool of individuals who are well equipped to facilitate these discussions”. Additional UF goals include:
As in past years, we welcome program and research proposals that promote our understanding of race/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, immigration and/or international topics, veterans, people with disabilities, health and mental health disparities, non-traditional students, and projects that address educational and opportunity gaps for students, faculty and staff/administrators.
This year’s priority goal areas include the following:
WCU Strategic Plan Goals:
ODEI Strategic Initiative Goals:
The following criteria will be applied in evaluating all grant proposals submitted to the University Forum Review Team:
In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, the following stipulations apply to the UF Grant Program:
The UF Proposal Review Team and process is collegial and relies on a diverse and talented team of campus community members to review all proposals and provide comments and scoring. The amount of feedback that can be provided on unsuccessful proposals is limited, but every attempt will be made to provide meaningful and helpful review comments. Preference is given to proposals that demonstrate cross-unit collaboration.
The UF will make an attempt to proportionally award funds by the categories, however, it is not mandated to do so. The UF is also not obligated to award all funds in a given year. Based on annual trends, the UF Proposal Review Team anticipates it may receive between 10 and 15 proposals this year. The total amount of money budgeted for the UF Grant Program is approximately $40,000. At a maximum award of $5,000, funds may be sufficient for a maximum of eight (8) awards. Proposals should fall within one of the following six categories:
Category 1: Campus Climate
Category 2: Training and Education
Category 3: Recruitment and/or Retention
Category 4: Professional Engagement
Category 5: Student Engagement
Category 6: Faculty and/or Staff Research/Scholarship (NEW)
The UF Proposal Review Team has limits on the length of proposals. The required Proposal Components below are important to ensure clarity, consistency, and comparability. Please carefully review the following instructions regarding format and the proposal components.
The component parts below serve as the overall program narrative and should be concise but include sufficient information to permit effective review by a multi-disciplinary group of faculty and staff. Language should be non-technical in nature. Be specific and informative; avoid redundancy. The proposal components include the following:
Assurance of compliance with WCU research requirements – It is the responsibility of the Program Director(s) to assure compliance with all WCU research requirements (e.g., Human Subjects Research, Animal Welfare, Conflict of Interest, Integrity in Research), if applicable to the proposed program. The program director(s) must initiate the IRB process before submitting the UF grant application. Please email a copy of the IRB application to include with your proposal to Hiram Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the grant is awarded, grant activity cannot start and funding is contingent pending IRB approval.
The program budget must include all anticipated expenses and revenue. Wherever possible, projected expenses should be based on estimates provided by suppliers or appropriate University offices. Applicants are expected to exercise prudence and request funds only for essential costs that cannot be covered otherwise. The following instructions pertain to specific budget items. All amounts should be rounded to the nearest dollar.
Student Wages – The exact nature of work to be performed by students should be indicated either in the proposal narrative or the Budget Narrative. Requests for student hourly wages that exceed Pennsylvania’s minimum wage are allowed but must include justification in terms of University policy and/or the nature of the work to be performed by students. Clearly indicate how much students will be paid and for how many hours.
Honoraria – The University may contribute additional funding for honoraria if desired. Proposals should include the names and credentials of the person(s) to be invited.
Supplies – These are consumable items required to carry out the project.
Equipment – Total requests for equipment, books, computer software, or similar items will be considered, provided that the proposal offers strong justification related to the needs of the project. Any such items purchased with UF grant funds will be the property of WCU.
Operating Expenses – These include expenses for surveys (including paper and postage), off-site facility costs, housing and other items typically treated as direct costs, as well as refreshments or other costs associated with meetings that may be part of the project. Items that are typically treated as indirect costs cannot be charged to the grant. Food purchases are prohibited.
Travel Expenses - Requests may be made to cover costs of travel, lodging, and other direct costs incurred during the course of the proposed activity.
Indirect Costs – The UF does not fund overhead or indirect costs such as accounting, University space, clerical support, or legal.
College/Division/Department Contribution – To gauge the feasibility of a proposed project—whether or not its goals can be accomplished—the UF requires information about additional funding, including any University contribution that has been committed to the project. University matching funds are not required and do not affect selection. Within the Budget Itemization section, please list only specific dollar amounts, if any, pledged to the particular project by the University or from other sources. It is assumed that in-kind support (e.g., some clerical support, copying, etc.) will be provided in many cases; in-kind support may be mentioned within the Budget Narrative, but estimates of the monetary value of this support should not be included in the Budget Itemization section or Narrative.
Other Revenue Sources – Estimated or actual funds pledged or anticipated from external sources should be listed in this column of the budget format; these sources should be identified in the Budget Narrative.
Upon award of the funds by the UF, the ODEI will prepare and issue Letters of Understanding (LOUs) and will provide the appropriate SAP Cost Center number to post transactions throughout the duration of the program.
EXTENSIONS - In order to secure an extension, a Program Director must submit an email request to the UF Co-Chairs that outlines the reasons an extension is needed, i.e. the delay in the completion of the planned scope of the program. A Program Director can receive no additional funding. A project cannot be extended simply because there is a balance of funds or to expand the scope of the original project. There must be a legitimate reason directly related to the planned scope of the original project. Extensions are not allowed solely to expend funds to travel to make presentations.
BUDGET REVISIONS - A request for a budget revision should include an explanation of the reasons for the shift in funds and a description of the impact on the project. Identify reasons the revision is necessary to accomplish the project objectives and reasons the funds are not needed in the original budget category.