JS and I had the ideas, the skills, and the excitement to help this idea of a course come to life. What we didn’t have was the $3000.00 to purchase the games and materials.
JS and I put off this step of our course development as late as we possibly could while still being able to meet our deadlines. $3000.00 was a lot of money and the chance of not receiving the monetary assistance could prove to be a major problem in our timeline as well as extremely disheartening. This project is super exciting to us, but would it be enticing enough to potential funding sources to jump in for the following semester?
Thankfully, I had worked with a department on campus that oversaw teaching grants: The Center for Teaching Excellence. From my previous experience of working with the grant committee (previous to our grant proposal!) I knew they were looking for innovative curricular submissions that could be assessed. If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of their grant requirements, please visit their grant information site.
Grant Writing Preparation. Phew, that sounded a lot scarier than it actually was to complete! JS and I copied and pasted the grant questions and requirements to a Google Doc and took turns filling out the different questions then reviewing the other’s work. What research backs this project? We had that collected from the beginning- it’s what guided this coursework! Support from our colleagues? Done thanks to the dedication of our peers throughout this project. Itemize and budget each aspect of the project? That was the fun part! JS helped with finding the games we needed and ensuring we had the correct number of copies of games for a class of 24 students. JS collected this information from many websites such as Amazon and BoardGameGeek. If you are interested in seeing our draft submission, please visit this Google Doc and its Appendices.
Sounds easy, right? The truth is, our grant wasn’t accepted at first…
We could have stopped there. We did a lot of work that we were proud of- but without the funds for the materials, it would not come to fruition. The rejection email was a major hit to our excitement in building the class.
We decided, instead, to resubmit the grant proposal with added changes suggested by the committee. These changes largely rested in expanding upon and clarifying how the course would be assessed for future renditions and creations. We redoubled our efforts, spent multiple meetings expanding upon how we could use different aspects of the course to assess effectiveness for the committee and even scheduled a meeting with the committee to ensure they were on the same page regarding the entire project/ making sure we tied up any loose ends.
“The Committee for the Center for Teaching Excellence completed its review of your resubmitted proposal for the Major Teaching Projects. On behalf of the committee, we want to personally thank you for improving your materials for this important award. We recommend that your revised proposal, “Leadership Through Tabletop Gaming,” be funded for $2935.18. We congratulate you on developing a worthy proposal.” I can remember rereading this email at 10pm on a Sunday night over and over again to make sure I read it correctly. We did it!
Grant writing takes time, takes effort, and definitely requires dedication. But, in the end, grant writing can be the key to making your innovation, dream, goal, or otherwise come true. Find a colleague you work well with and spend some time writing, reading and revising- but most importantly, don’t stop if you are rejected or postponed! Keep going! Your funding may only be one sentence away….