Penn State Office for General Education Seed Grants, with the graphic of a seedling in dirt.
Published on: Jan 29, 2018

The Penn State Office for General Education is soliciting faculty proposals again this year for the development of integrative studies courses. This year, the Office for General Education is looking to fund approximately 30 proposals from all current, nonretired faculty. A webinar for interested faculty is slated for 11:15 am on Friday, Feb. 2, via Zoom. A recording will be made available on the General Education website after the live event.

Margaret Slattery, assistant dean and director of the Office of General Education, said last year 70 proposals were funded in the first round of seed grants. In 2015, the University Faculty Senate approved a new integrative studies requirement within General Education for students matriculating in summer 2018 and after. The seed grant initiative is designed to help create the capacity for the University to offer the new requirement and to incentivize faculty to develop such courses, be they inter-domain or linked. Proposals for the 2018 round will be accepted from Feb. 1 to until noon on Feb. 26.

“The unexpectedly large number of high-quality proposals we received last year was amazing,” Slattery said. “We know there are more fantastic ideas out there and hope faculty will share their creative ideas with us. We are anxious to read about new course ideas and know that the strong proposals will make our decisions difficult.”

Among the requirements and criteria established by the Office for General Education is a focus on the updated General Education learning objectives. Specifically, proposed courses should fulfill the objective of integrative thinking, defined as “the ability to synthesize knowledge across multiple domains, modes of inquiry, historical periods, and perspectives, as well as the ability to identify linkages between existing knowledge and new information. Individuals who engage in integrative thinking are able to transfer knowledge within and beyond their current contexts.”

Integrative studies courses can be either inter-domain or linked courses. Proposed courses should have the potential to appeal to both students and faculty across the University and also be transferable across the University. The materials developed with the support of the award will be made available to the entire University. Priority will be given to proposals that originate from locations and faculty that did not receive grants in the first round and include collaboration between faculty from different colleges and campuses. Awardees will receive up to $5,000 for revising courses and up to $8,000 for developing a completely new course. Awardees are expected to complete the work over summer 2018 and will be required to sign a course development agreement.

More information about integrative studies courses can be found at Faculty interested in developing proposals can read this year’s RFP. A full list of the 70 courses that sprang from the first round of seed grants can be found here. Read a full list of the integrative studies courses that have been approved by the University Faculty Senate.

The Office for General Education is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at