Theory-to-Practice Grants

Who is eligible to apply for a Theory-to-Practice Grant (TPG)?

Students who are returning to campus, faculty, and staff are eligible to apply, either individually or in small teams. Staff need to have expertise in the appropriate area and approval from their immediate supervisor.

 

I am a senior and want to apply for a TPG. Am I eligible?

Yes, under certain conditions. All aspects of your project, including your obligation to share your experience with the campus community must be completed prior to graduation. You may not delay graduation in order to be eligible for a TPG. If you are awarded a TPG and do not fulfill all of your obligations, then you will be required to return all awarded funds.

Should I apply for a Student Individualized Project (SIP) Small Grant or a TPG?

Student individualized projects are extended activities done by an OWU student outside of the classroom that complement his or her academic studies. They include internships and independent research or creative work.  They may be done in conjunction with an independent study, directed readings, apprenticeship, or research course, but this is not necessary. Work done as part of standard courses with enrollments larger than one will not count. The full project should span at least a summer or semester. Students involved in a SIP may apply for the SIP Small Grant Program, which provides up to $750 for specific costs related to completing and presenting these projects.

First, some projects will be eligible for only one of the grant programs. If your project has multiple participants, you should apply for a TPG, since it would not qualify as a SIP. Second, some projects that qualify as SIPs may be eligible for both the SIP Grant and the TPG, but one may be more appropriate to your needs. If the project requires more than $750, you should apply for the TPG. If you have missed the TPG deadline, or need a relatively quick turnaround on your proposal, then the SIP Grant is your best bet. If the project is eligible for both grants, you may apply for both a SIP Grant and a TPG but your proposal must plainly state that you are applying for both. If you have already received one of these grants, your proposal must acknowledge this and justify why you require further funding.

 

Does the level of funding requested affect the success of a proposal?

Generally speaking, the level of funding will not affect the success of a proposal if the amount requested is appropriate to the project and properly itemized with a clear description of estimated costs.

 

What factors determine the level at which a proposal will be funded?

The level at which a proposal will be funded may depend on several factors, among them:

  • Cost vs. Benefit:  How many individuals will benefit from the project if funded? A very costly project that will only benefit very few individuals may be less likely to receive full funding than one that might be as or less expensive but benefit more people.
  • Reasonableness of Costs: A project may not be fully funded (or funded at all) if costs seem to be disproportionately high given the itinerary and objectives of the project.
  • Items on Budget:  Funding may be reduced if the proposal includes funds for personal items (such as personal laptop computers or other equipment) or for tuition at another institution, which is not covered by Theory to Practice grants. Applicants should also keep in mind that any equipment which is purchased for a grant will become the property of OWU.

 

Can I use TPG funds to pay for tuition at another institution?

You cannot use TPGs to pay for academic credit at other institutions or at OWU. However, TPGs can be used to support participation in workshops or other similar experiences at other institutions.

 

What issues may arise if I am the primary applicant on a TPG proposal that includes secondary applicants who are students?

TPG proposals may be disqualified if even one student applicant in the group has a conduct record that is deemed to disqualify that one student applicant.  If one student in the group owes money to the University, then the proposal may be disqualified also.  Primary applicants should be aware of this prior to submission and should advise prospective secondary applicants about this rule.

 

What are the most common reasons that proposals are not funded?

  • Ineligible Applicants or Co-Applicants:  The applicant and all co-applicants must be in good academic and community standing and have no accounts outstanding with the University in order for a project to be eligible for funding.
  • Inadequate Preparation:  Not all “Theory-to-Practice” proposals require applicants to have deep knowledge or experience in a particular area (e.g., coursework, knowledge of another language, specific skills training). Indeed, some projects are designed to provide applicants with experiences that will become basis for follow-up work. However, applicants must have a background commensurate with the project they are proposing to undertake. If the review committee has doubts about whether applicants possess the background or skills necessary for a given project, then that increases the likelihood it won’t be funded.
  • Unrealistic Goals and/or Scope:  Applicants should set realistic goals that can be completed given applicants’ knowledge of the project’s subject and their resources. Moreover, the project goals should be set in such a way that would allow timely completion of the project. If necessary, campus resources such as faculty should be consulted when applicants are setting goals for their projects.
  • Incomplete Logistics:  Applicants should provide as much concrete detail as possible concerning the actual execution of the proposal. When logistical details are vague or insufficient, the feasibility of the grant may be brought into question. A successful grant proposal should leave no doubt that the ideals and objectives of the project can be realized. For example, if the applicant expects to conduct interviews, what preliminary contacts have been made? If travel is involved, what is the itinerary and the specific details? If a proposal hinges on being able to talk to people in a certain industry or sector of society, have legal or cultural barriers to such access been fully explored? Applicants are encouraged to spell out such details.
  • Insufficient Rationale for Travel:  While theory to practice grants represent an excellent resource to fund travel when it is critical to the project, the proposal must provide a rationale for why travel is necessary to the successful completion of the project. For example, is there a reason why a phone call or email will not get access to the information without a trip? The committee recognizes that some information and experiences are only available through travel, either domestically or internationally, but the proposal should strive to be clear on why this is the case.
  • Inadequate Plan for Follow-Through:  Proposals should clearly outline a plan for how their projects will be assessed, based on their specific goals. These goals provide not only a target for the project, but also a way in which participants can evaluate the success and effectiveness of the project. This final step of evaluation also allows participants to reflect on their overall experience.

In addition, part of what can be accomplished through TPGs is not only creating a rich experience for the direct participants, but also in bringing that experience back to OWU. The proposal should explain how participants plan to disseminate what they learned through roundtables, presentations, workshops, projects back on campus, etc. This final stage of the project allows its influence to expand beyond the original participants and to benefit others in the campus community.

 

The guidelines mention that TPGs are meant to create “meaningful opportunities for students.” What counts as student involvement in a grant?

Student involvement can include any of the following:

  • Direct student participation (both in projects initiated by the students or by a faculty member)
  • Projects that are going to have a direct impact on students, such as:
    • attending workshops/training sessions that will help faculty/staff create novel student experiences in the future, or
    • short-term research projects that require travel and are linked to a specific course or other learning experience in which students will be involved.

 

What if students aren’t directly involved in my project?

Faculty and staff seeking funding for projects that do not involve or benefit students should attempt to reconceive their proposals to more directly facilitate student involvement, perhaps by partnering with interested students or with other faculty and/or staff members who are better positioned to involve students. Faculty seeking funding for a project that cannot be restructured so as to involve students should consider applying for a TEW Grant, which is a more appropriate venue for such a proposal.

 

Are previously approved TPG projects eligible for repeat funding?

Formerly approved projects may be eligible for consideration but TPG funding is clearly prioritized toward proposals that create opportunities for novel and unique learning experiences. (After a second grant, applicants should explore alternative funding and not expect TPG support.)

 

Does the committee privilege first-time applicants over repeat applicants?

The committee is focused on the quality of an application. For repeat applicants, the success of the previous proposal may be considered. Repeat applicants are not at a disadvantage, assuming that the proposal is novel.

 

How can I tell if my proposal has been successfully submitted?

Proposals are submitted through the online form. After a successful submission, the online form will generate a webpage acknowledgement of submission. It is a good idea to print this page and keep it for your records. There is no email notification of submission.