Three students posing for a picture at the Nittany Lion Shrine.
Published on: May 22, 2018

Penn State community members, including faculty and staff, are invited to submit ideas for pilot projects that are aimed at fulfilling the mission of the strategic plan to advance innovation, research, learning and engagement at the University and beyond. Proposals for the third cycle for RFP submissions for the Strategic Plan are due by Sept. 4 and the application formwill open on July 1.

Penn State last fall implemented a funding model to help develop new strategic initiatives that align with the University’s 2016-20 Strategic Plan, Our Commitment to Impact. As part of the model, Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones has since then awarded seed grant funding for 22 pilot projects that support the strategic plan’s thematic priorities, supporting elements, and foundations.

In addition, University community members interested in submitting strategic initiative proposals under the Transforming Education umbrella are invited to submit concept papers in preparation for their formal proposal submissions. Due to the large number of proposals submitted in past cycles to the Transforming Education committee, that committee has developed a process to provide interested applicants with feedback on their ideas early in the process.

The Transforming Education Steering Committee will meet on June 11 to focus solely on providing feedback on potential submissions prior to their full development. Penn State community members who have a Transforming Education initiative  that they would like to propose for this new funding cycle, may submit a one-page concept document to the Steering Committee, outlining the focus and priorities that will form the basis of a potential full submission. Interested authors should submit their one-pagers to Judy Wills,, by 5 p.m. on June 1.

The Transforming Education Steering Committee will invite proposal submitters to attend the June 11 meeting to receive feedback on the concept paper. Those who are available to attend the meeting should save the time slot of 3:30 to 5 p.m. for scheduling flexibility. Attendees also are invited to stay to listen to concepts being proposed by other groups. Those who are unable to attend their feedback session will be provided with written feedback.

“Concept papers should clearly address how the proposed project would transform education at Penn State, rather than presenting a project that falls within the scope of work traditionally carried out in colleges, campuses or departments,” said Renata Engel, co-chair of the Transforming Education Executive and Steering Committees. “For example, while most curriculum development is important, valuable work, it would be considered work that should be carried out within the existing structures of the University. And curricular innovations that are limited to a single course or academic unit are generally better suited for other funding sources.

“That said, the committee would consider a localized project that transforms education if the proposal can illustrate how the work would serve as a pilot project, with a plan for how it would be extended,” said Engel.

Potential proposal authors with initiative ideas under other themes and supporting elements are encouraged to reach out to the appropriate Steering Committee chairs to determine if their ideas are appropriate for strategic initiative funding and to develop their ideas prior to submission. Examples of proposals that have been funded to date can be found at

For more information about the strategic plan funding model and seed grant process, including proposal and submission guidelines, timeline and review process, visit Questions about seed grants and other components of the strategic plan should be directed to