Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant


  • Amount: $500
  • Purpose: This grant provides seed funding for an innovative approach to teaching, learning, or student engagement. 
  • Eligibility: All faculty (tenure track, tenured, affiliate, visiting, and adjunct). Staff not eligible.
  • Application Timing: Applications will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.
  • Of Note: 
    • Funding is limited to one award per faculty member per fiscal year.
    • Recipients will be notified within a week of applying so that creative ideas can be acted upon.
    • There is no retroactive funding

Below is a detailed explanation of the Pew FTLC Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant. Once you have reviewed the information below, please click on "APPLY FOR A GRANT" to begin the application process.  Applications may be saved as "in progress" at any time during the application process. 

Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant

Have an idea for an innovative approach to teaching, learning, or student engagement? Need a bit of seed funding? The new $500 sandbox grant offers exploratory funding to faculty for projects around:

  • New Teaching Strategies
  • Curriculum Development
  • Curriculum Redesign
  • Advising
  • Co-curricular Learning
  • Student Success
  • Student Mentoring
  • Other Innovative Idea

The simple application process asks one question: What project or idea are you considering for a Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant? No deadline; we will review proposals on a rolling basis until funds are depleted and respond within a week of your application.

It is our hope that these sandbox grants seed larger projects; we stand at the ready to discuss with you how we might be able to support further development of your innovative idea, possibly through one of our other funding opportunities, such as a Teaching Innovation Grant.

Inclusive Excellence Special Emphasis Sandbox Grants are designed to support faculty in becoming more deliberate about inclusive teaching and learning. Funds can be used in a variety of ways to enhance inclusion in the classroom. Here are just a few ways special emphasis grant funds can be used:

  • Improve  inclusive teaching repertoire by attending a Universal Design for Learning online course CAST: Institutes & Online Courses  or other workshops focused on inclusive teaching and learning
  • Fund experiences such as trips to museums, events, speakers, etc. that expand inclusive teaching and learning
  • Redesign curriculum in order to diversify content, materials, resources, and pedagogy
  • Foster external mentoring relationships and success networks for students from historically marginalized groups

Apply by selecting "Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant" from the dropdown menu in the FTLC Grants System

Late Career Special Emphasis Sandbox Grant 

The Late Career Special Emphasis Sandbox Grants support faculty in the last five years or so of their careers. Whether the teaching and learning project is focused on a learning new skill or approach, deepening assessment practices, or engaging community partners, late career faculty are encouraged to take fresh risks, explore new pedagogies, and exercise creativity. Please review the general Sandbox Grant description for examples of the kinds of projects appropriate for this grant.

The Pew FTLC is grateful to the “Phasing In, Not Out: Reimagining the Last Five Years of a Faculty Career” Learning Community participants for recommending the creation of this grant opportunity. Faculty are invited to reach out to the Pew FTLC ([email protected]) for a consultation or with questions about the funding opportunity.

The Open Education Resources (OER) Special Emphasis Sandbox Grants support faculty in the adoption of open education resources into an existing course. This grant provides faculty with a $500 stipend for adoption work carried out over Spring/Summer 2023 or the 2023-2024 academic year. Priority is given to new OER projects and courses that are taught on an ongoing basis. Special consideration given to projects that adopt/adapt OER in multi-section courses. 

Applicants are encouraged to seek OER curation support through University Libraries Scholarly Communications. Inquiries also welcome through departmental liaison librarians or [email protected].

For additional OER funding opportunities, visit the University Libraries Accelerating Open Educational Resources at GVSU

Note: Stipend requests are processed upon approval of the Sandbox Grant Final Report. 

  • All faculty (tenure track, tenured, affiliate, visiting, and adjunct) are eligible to apply.
  • Staff not eligible.
  • Funding is limited to one award per faculty member per fiscal year.
  • Funding is not intended to supplement other funding.
  • Grantees need to be mindful of and comply with university policies, particularly around equipment purchasing.

Applications will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.

Each applicant who is awarded a Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant will be responsible for submitting a Final Report (brief reflection) via the online system 30 days after the completion of the grant activity and within 18 months of the application date.  The Pew FTLC will send out an automatic reminder e-mail for your convenience.  The Final Report will ask for you to thoroughly describe the following on behalf of yourself and any co-applicants (1500 word limit): 

  • How did you meet the objectives outlined in your application, including how you implemented and assessed your grant activity?
  • What was the impact of the grant activity on your teaching, your students, the university community, and/or your discipline?
  • What are your plans to disseminate the results of your grant activity?

Please attach any materials relevant to the grant, including reports, articles, pictures, etc.

A Guide to Assessment may be found at the following link:

To submit a Final Report, click on "Final Report" under "Application Details" within the FTLC Grant System.  Reimbursements will no longer be processed once a Final Report has been submitted.

Please note: We read these reports with great interest and use them:

  • To verify that our investment in you had an impact on our students' learning and on your professional development
  • To glean ideas for new FTLC endeavors which can benefit more students and faculty
  • To improve our processes and outcomes

Apply by selecting "Sandbox Learning Innovation Grant" from the dropdown menu in the FTLC Grants System

All expenditures associated with this grant must be processed through your unit. Your unit will send a copy of the expenses paid (Invoice, Requisition, Purchase Order, Expense Card Statement, Student Wage Report, Workday Expense Report) via the Budget Amendment for Organization process in Workday and send that to the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (this process was previously done in OnBase). Upon receipt of the Workday Budget Amendment request, your unit will be reimbursed by the Pew FTLC.

Page last modified November 17, 2023