President’s Award for Innovation & Equity

In 2019 RISE and the Office of Academic Affairs began collaborating to support departments that wish to infuse a high-impact practice into all or most sections of a course (or a sequence of courses) that reaches a large number of BC students per year. In our first application cycles, we were gratified to receive many excellent applications from faculty all across campus. Two projects received funding in 2019-20, two in 2020-21, three in 2021-2022, and one in 2022-2023. Details about the winners are below.

Download the Application

Rationale for the President’s Award

Resources for Creating a Proposal

Guidelines for Proposal

Expectations for Project Implementation

Criteria for Reviewing Proposals

Timeline for the 2023-2024 Award Year

Previous and Current Award Winners

Download the Application

Rationale for the President’s Award

The Achieving the Dream framework emphasizes the importance of taking data-driven and equity-driven student success strategies to scale across the institution in all of our Pathways.  Bringing high-impact practices into courses that serve large numbers of students is a powerful strategy to close achievement gaps.

High-impact practices refer to strategies that have been demonstrated to increase student engagement, learning, and success. These practices include community-engaged and service-learning, undergraduate research, first-year seminars, internships, project-based learning, etc.  All student groups benefit from participating in such experiences, but the students who benefit the most are those who have been traditionally underserved in higher education—students of color, first-generation college students, low-income students, and students with disabilities (Kuh 2008; Finley & McNair 2013).

As a key part of BC’s work in Achieving the Dream, RISE and the Office of the President will support departments that wish to infuse a high-impact practice into all or most sections of a course (or a sequence of related courses or set of courses along a BC Pathway) that reaches or will reach over 300 unduplicated BC students per year.  Teams may request up to $25,000 for this work.  One or more projects may be funded up to that total of $25,000, as determined by a review committee.

Applications for the 2022-2023 funding cycle are now open! The instructions and application materials are below. Funding proposals must be sent to by May 19, 2023.

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Resources for Creating a Proposal

If you would like to learn more about this funding opportunity, RISE will be holding info sessions about the President’s Award for Innovation & Equity on Zoom in 2023:

  • Friday, April 14, 11:00am-12:00pm | Join Zoom (Meeting ID: 398 987 1534)
  • Thursday, April 27, 12:30pm-1:30pm | Join Zoom (Meeting ID: 398 987 1534)
  • Monday, May 8, 2:00pm-3:00pm | Join Zoom (Meeting ID: 398 987 1534)

In addition, please feel free reach out to RISE staff to set up a meeting with your team.

You may wish to start your proposal by brainstorming with members of your department and identifying which high-impact practice would be the best fit for your course and department. As you begin planning, please note that each proposal team must include one or more adjunct faculty member(s). Here are some resources that your team may find useful as you begin planning:

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Guidelines for Proposals

1) These funds are primarily meant to support faculty time, work, and development.  While your project team can definitely include BC staff, community partners, or faculty members at other colleges, only BC faculty may receive stipends.  In addition, each proposal team must include at least one adjunct faculty member, and each proposal must include paid professional development opportunities for adjunct faculty.

2) Your proposal must target all or most sections of a course (or a series of related courses) that currently serves or will soon serve more than 300 individual BC students per year.  The BC courses that currently reach 300+ students are: ABE 060, 064; ACCT 101, 201, 202, 203; AHE 110; ANTH 100, 208; ART 120, 150; ASTR 100, 101; BA 240; BIOL 100, 108, 160, 241, 242, 260; BTS 165; BUS 101, 201; BUSIT 103; CHEM 121, 140, 161, 162; CMST 101, 102, 210, 220, 250, 280; CS 210, 211; CJ 101; ECON 201, 202; ENGL 101, 201, 235, 271; ENVS 100; ESL 010; GEOG 100; HIST 146, 147, 148; HD 103; MATH 097, 098, 099, 107, 130, 138, 141, 142, 148, 151, 152; MKTG 101, 102; MUSC 107; NUTR 100, 101; OCEA 101; PHIL 101, 102; PHYS 121; POLS 101, 102; PROG 109; PSYC 100, 200; SOC 101; SPAN 121.  Your team is welcome to submit proposals to create entirely new courses, redesign courses that are not on this list, or integrate HIPs across a set of courses along a single BC Pathway. Your proposal team must explain how this plan will reach more than 300 unduplicated students per year.

3) Your proposal must bring one of the five following high-impact practices into all or most sections of that course or sequence, including online and hybrid sections.

     Community-Engaged Learning
In these programs, experiential learning with non-profit or government partners is an instructional strategy—and a required part of the course.  This gives students direct experience with issues they are studying in the course and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community.  A key element in these programs is providing students the opportunity to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their experiences.  These programs model the idea that community engagement is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for civic participation, work, and life.

     Collaborative Assignments & Project-Based Learning
Collaborative assignments and project-based learning combine two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in partnership with others, and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences.  Approaches range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing, to cooperative projects and research. Projects that work with non-profits and government entities, and that build reflection into their course, can also be designated as community-engaged learning.

     Undergraduate Research
Many colleges are now providing research experiences for students in all disciplines.  Faculty are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research.  The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

     Career Exploration
There is abundant evidence that students who form career and academic plans persist and graduate at a much higher rate than students who do not—and the earlier this planning happens, the better (CCSSE 2013, 2014; Jenkins and Cho 2014).  Career exploration offers students a chance to see what they might be able to do after graduation with the degrees and majors in a particular academic pathway.  The most impactful forms of career exploration offer hands-on learning (i.e. guest speakers, mentors, tours, sample projects, etc.) and reflection.

     Learning Communities
The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom.  Students take two or more linked courses as a cohort and work closely with one another and with their professors.  Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines.  Here at BC, Neurodiversity Navigators, STEM to Stern, Disabled Students Navigating STEM, Puente, and UMOJA offer multi-quarter, cohort-based learning communities, while Interdisciplinary Studies courses link two or more classes to create a one-quarter, intensive learning community.  Other colleges have created learning communities by pairing first-year seminars with thematically-focused introductory courses like ENGL 101.

Although the AAC&U identifies a number of other high-impact practices—including internships, capstones, global/diversity learning, and first-year seminars—this request for proposals is focused on and restricted to the five practices listed above.  RISE is supporting these other practices in different ways, and we hope to expand this program in future years.

If you would prefer an amalgamation of 2+ of the five practices above (e.g. community-engaged team-based research projects), identify one as the primary high-impact practice in your proposal

4) Proposals should focus on faculty development. Allowable activities and eligible expenses include:

  • Registration fees and travel costs for external professional development opportunities like workshops, conferences, and courses (Recipients must still follow current state rules regarding travel, hotels, airfare, per diem, etc.)
  • Stipends for faculty team to create, assess, and refine new lessons, modules, and curriculum materials
  • Stipends for dissemination and training events for faculty outside the project team
  • Customized PD, such as bringing a facilitator, speaker, or workshop to campus
  • Books, publications, and web-based resources
  • Stipends for faculty participating in on-campus multi-day PD and/or communities of practice

Funds may not be used for food on campus, for non-PD supplies, or for recurring costs like journal or software subscriptions.

These funds can be combined with other resources—such as funds from division or department budgets, faculty PD funds, lab/technology fee purchases, BC Foundation funding, etc.—to extend the reach of the project.  Indeed, seeking funding from more than one source is highly encouraged.

All funds must be spent between July 2023 and June 2024.

5) One or two staff members from RISE will be assigned to support project implementation.

6) All proposals must be approved by the department chair and division dean. Please be sure to include them in the early stages of the planning for your proposal.

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Expectations for Project Implementation

Teams winning the Provost’s Award will be expected to do the following before, during, and after their funding year:

  • Before Funding Year: Winning teams will meet with RISE to finalize timeline, quarterly budget, milestones, and reporting structure
  • During Funding Year: RISE and the Office of the Provost will require simple reporting about progress, including:
    • Quarterly status with estimates of student impact
    • Regular check-ins with RISE
    • One or two all-awardee meetings
  • End of Funding Year: Teams will provide a short, final report reflecting on process, impact, and the future, including:
    • Overall reflection of the year
    • Reflection on the pilot and other course offerings
    • Student impact during the year
    • Steps and requirements to maintain and scale the course
    • Examples of student work
    • Feedback for RISE about the process
  • End of Funding Year: Teams will participate in Making Learning Visible, the quarterly showcase of student learning
  • After Funding Year: Teams will meet with RISE one year later for a follow up
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Criteria for Reviewing Proposals

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Impact & Equity.  Impact is the most important criterion, and the most important element of impact is the potential of the project to close equity gaps at BCWe will prioritize proposals that reach large numbers of students, especially diverse students in their first quarter at BC.  Proposals should include thoughtful discussion on how the project may address equity gaps.  Projects that incorporate approaches that can be easily be transferred to other courses and/or programs will receive extra consideration.
  • Pathways integration.  Strong proposals will articulate how the project will fit into the evolving system of BC Pathways and how it will serve students on one or more Pathways.
  • Clarity of project goals and the feasibility of reaching them.  The proposal must include measurable goals, a realistic timeline, and a detailed budget that will allow the project team to meet its key milestones.
  • Project sustainability.  The team should be able to continue and expand this work after funding ends.
  • Adjunct engagement.  Proposals should include adjunct faculty in all elements of planning, design, and execution of the project.  Evidence of strong adjunct faculty engagement is a strength.
  • Data gathering and assessment.   Proposals must include a thoughtful and manageable plan to gather data about changes in teaching practices and impacts on student learning and student success.
  • Collaboration.  Additional consideration will be given to proposals that involve partnerships between multiple departments and/or student success units like MCS, TRiO, Counseling, the Academic Success Center, eLearning, and the Library Media Center, etc.

A detailed rubric outlining how the review committee will gauge this criteria is located at the end of the application form.

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Timeline for the 2023-2024 Award Year

Now to Early May 2023: Form faculty teams; brainstorm ideas; attend info sessions

Mid-May 2023: Submit to RISE staff for feedback; finalize funding proposal; submit to Program Chair and Dean for signatures

May 19, 2023: Funding proposals are due.  Submit them electronically to

Late May 2023: Answer questions and provide clarifications, as needed, to the review committee

Early June 2023: Winner announced and funds become available

July 2023 to June 2024: PD is launched and high-impact practices integrated into the course or courses

June 2024: Student and faculty work is showcased at Making Learning Visible

All funds must be spent by Sunday, June 30, 2024

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Previous and Current Award Winners

2019-2020 Winners

Cover of the 2017 issue of Belletrist
Belletrist Student Literacy Magazine

Cassie Cross and Cara Diaconoff lead a team of faculty who are connecting students taking ENGL 101, the most highly enrolled course at the college, with Belletrist, BC’s national and student literary magazine, through a project-based learning approach. Current students use previous students’ published work as a source of inspiration; they have opportunities to write, edit, and create marketing materials for the magazine; and they create their own zines. This innovative approach reached 336 students in 20 substantially increased student engagement. If you want to be involved in this project and have your students use or create zines, please contact Cassie Cross or Cara Diaconoff.

Cassie Cross
Cassie Cross, English Faculty
Grady Blacken,
Chemistry faculty

Building curriculum that involves more inquiry-based, student-driven work has been a major goal of the Chemistry Department in recent years, and several faculty have been engaged in the BUGR Group, the Bellevue Undergraduate Research Group. Building on that work, Sonya Doucette, Grady Blacken, and Jacqui Drak are leading the charge to bring integrated undergraduate research modules into the introductory general chemistry sequence, CHEM 161, 162, and 163.

More information about these innovative projects, including learning outcomes data and samples of student work, can be found in the RISE annual report.

2020-2021 Winners

First Year Seminars: Building Student Success and Closing Equity Gaps

Project leaders: Christina Sciabarra and Betsy Zahrt Geib
This project will fund the faculty training needed to scale up the First Year Seminar.  This is a new course that will become a graduation requirement for all incoming BC students seeking a transfer Associate Degree.  Students in this course identify their goals over the course of the quarter and explore careers and academic pathways, which will ultimately result in selecting a pathway.  This project will create and deliver the training for faculty to lead students through this process of self-discovery, exploration, decision-making, and reflection.  First-Year Seminar courses are a proven high-impact practice that close equity gaps, improve retention, and boost student success.

Stretching Ourselves: Building Bridges between Cultures and Contexts

Project leaders: Li Liu, Jen Anderson, Theresa Ford, and Bruce Wolcott
This project refines the curriculum for Intercultural Communication, CMST&280, a popular course that reaches over 900 students per year and is required or recommended for many pathways and degree programs. The course aims to increase intercultural understanding by examining the effects of culture on both the communication process and each individual. In the globalized and interconnected world we live in, intercultural interaction is the norm, rather than the exception. How can we work to build competent communication skills and a curiosity about others in order to dispel cultural biases and stereotypes? How can we leave our own comfort zone and stretch ourselves to get to know another culture on a deeper level? Those are the goals of this project. 

The project will produce an updated curriculum in the course that features Virtual Reality-based content with immersive learning experience situated within various cultures around the world. The updated curriculum will help us more deeply deliver on all the learning outcomes of this course, and the opportunity of visiting foreign locations through VR/XR technology can effectively fill the equity gap between students who can afford the cost of studying abroad and students who do not have the financial means to do so.

2021-2022 Winners

Institutional Resilience: Student Collaborations to Improve Course Interface Design

Project Leaders: Ron Austin, Betsy Zahrt Geib, & Deborah Leblang, eLearning; Lisa Harris, Business Management; Dena Laney, BTS & ITS; and Keith Rowley, BTS

Students in various Business Technology (BTS) and Programming courses will have the opportunity to apply their learned skills to support Bellevue College faculty in providing meaningful blended learning. This will come through a partnership between eLearning and the Programming and BTS programs, with the goal of adding a Cidi Labs-focused project into PROG 109, BTS 110, BTS 289, and possibly some capstones. Cidi Labs is a Canvas-based tool recently introduced to the college community that speeds up the process for creating a well-designed course and improves accessibility.

Depending on the course, students will utilize Cidi Labs in a way that benefits Bellevue College faculty. They will apply the skills they have learned to redesign Canvas-integrated interface elements for faculty “clients.” In essence, faculty can request that PROG or BTS students help them design Canvas pages through the “back-end” (e.g. CSS, HTML, JavaScript, etc.) of Cidi Labs. This will allow more faculty to use the tool while saving them time and overcoming technology hurdles they might have. eLearning will collect these designed pages and create a repository available to all faculty college-wide, and students will be able to include their project work in portfolios and on resumes.

The Introduction of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as Undergraduate Research

Project Leaders: George Walker & Ian Walker, Geography

GIS Image of Capital Hill Autonomous Zone and nearby areas on night of June 8 2020
Example of a GIS Project – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone

A research project will replace the mid-term exam in Intro to Geography (GEOG& 100) and will be a standalone (more advanced) project in Intro to Mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GEOG 258). This will aim to introduce GIS to students, and thus build interest in careers that utilize GIS. GIS is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing life on earth. GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps.

The project itself will consist of several low stake assignments and a final “mapping” project. For example, they might: create a map that shows the locations of state parks and fire districts so that appropriate officials can be contacted quickly and effectively per area in the event of a future wildfire, map and highlight health equity in the Seattle area, map LGBTQ spaces in Seattle over time, map the Racial Equity Index across the United States, etc. In the end, students will conduct real-world research that address real-world issues, all while better understanding the principles of Geography and learning about Geographic Information Systems.

Building Criminal Justice Practitioners through Community-Engaged Research

Project Leaders: Charlene Freyberg, Kelli Callahan, Jabril Hassen, & Hailey Perkins, Criminal Justice

The proposed project will add an experiential component to the most popular criminal justice course, Introduction to Criminal Justice (CJ& 101). Through a community-engaged research project, students will better understand the complexity of criminal justice systems in the real world, build their skills in information literacy and research, and hopefully increase their interest in careers in criminal justice.

At this time, the project could go one of two ways: 1) Students will find their own CJ agencies – government, non-profit, or advocacy – and conduct research that utilizes their perspectives and hopefully supports their work; or 2) The CJ faculty develop ongoing research projects with local CJ agencies that students contribute to during their time in CJ& 101. In both, the students build an authentic, real-world, hands-on understanding of the issues they are learning in class. The project leaders, representing the whole Criminal Justice faculty, are spending Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 finalizing the model, building community partnerships, and redesigning the course, before piloting it in Spring 2022.

2022-2023 Winners

Revamping General Psychology with Equity and HIPs

The psychology department faculty are undertaking a collaborative re-design of the introductory course – General Psychology (PSYC& 100). Both adjunct and full-time faculty will work in tandem to research the new American Psychological Association (APA) recommended Introductory Psychology Initiative (IPI) themes, develop goals for the course re-design based on this research, identify student learning outcomes, and create associated assignments to transform how we teach PSYC& 100. The IPI themes focus on depth of core psychological concepts rather than a breadth of concepts and center the development of transferable skills, such has project-based learning and undergraduate research. This immense project consists of the largest single team so far awarded – 8 consistently-active team members – and will reach over 1000 students per year.

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Last Updated April 7, 2023