York University launches a new phase of the Academic Innovation Fund

Students looking at a computer

Today marks the release of a new call for proposals for phase two of York University’s highly successful Academic Innovation Fund (AIF).

Phase Two offers $1.5 million in funding available for projects advancing York University’s priorities in eLearning, experiential education and enhancing the first-year experience. Details of the call for proposals can be found on the AIF website. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 by 4pm.

Sue Vail
Sue Vail

“This phase of the Academic Innovation Fund is different from the first phase in that we have two categories,” says Sue Vail, associate vice-president, teaching and learning. (Vail’s office oversees the AIF.) “Category I will focus on large, innovative projects at the Program level, while Category II offers incentive grants to full-time and contract faculty members who wish to redesign their courses using technology enhanced learning or experiential education strategies.

Vail says the AIF second phase builds on the already strong quality of York University’s undergraduate and graduate program offerings, enhancing the teaching and learning experience for York University’s students.

“We are taking a targeted approach to these institutional priorities because they align with the expectations of our students who have said they want experience-based learning and the ability to access course material online,” she says.

Category I projects have a maximum grant allocation of $100,000 and applicants can apply for up to three years, but funding will only be granted for one year, with agreement in principal for years two and three. Category II projects will receive up to $10,000 in funding.

All project submissions will be vetted by the AIF Steering Committee and recommendations will go to Provost Rhonda Lenton for final approval. Once selected, project champions will be brought together for a Welcome Orientation session in the spring of 2015. Professional development support will be provided to project champions for both categories. Faculty eLearning and EE leads will play both a coordination and support role for their Faculties as well as identify ways to profile grant recipients and ensure that information about projects is shared locally.

More about the Academic Innovation Fund

Created in 2010 and implemented from 2011 to 2014, the fund encouraged and supported innovation in teaching, learning and the student experience through the provision of seed grants, which were made available to faculty, staff and students.

The projects funded addressed three institutional priorities that are articulated in the University Strategic Mandate Agreement and the University Academic Plan (2010-15): eLearning, experiential education and the first-year experience. The success of these projects provided pan-University strategies and systems that have supported further growth and innovation in curriculum. Information about these projects and the systems created can be found on the AIF website, or by entering the search term ‘AIF’ in YFile.