2016 Teaching & Engagement Request for Proposals

Rural Futures Institute Competitive Awards Program
2016 Teaching & Engagement Development Awards
Request for Proposals

All proposals must be electronically uploaded as a single PDF document to http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/2016TEaward

Proposal deadline: March 1, 2016, 4:00 PM CST
Award notification: June 1, 2016
Starting date: July 1, 2016

Download T&E RFP Submit T&E Proposal

Scope: Up to five awards will be made with $20,000 maximum per award. The project time period will not exceed 24 months. Each program/project/course must be delivered twice during the two years.

If you have questions about the submission process, please contact Kim Peterson kpeterson@nebraska.edu or call 402-472-9287.


The University of Nebraska is committed to establishing a transformative Rural Futures Institute (RFI). The RFI vision, mission and core values are the fundamental underpinnings for this request for proposals.

The RFI will be a locally, nationally and internationally recognized leader focused on increasing community capacity as well as the hope and confidence of rural people to address their challenges and opportunities, resulting in resilient and sustainable futures. 

Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the RFI mobilizes the diverse resources of the University of Nebraska and its partners to support rural communities and regions in building upon their unique strengths and assets to achieve their desired futures. 

Core Values
The work commissioned and supported by the RFI must be guided by the Institute’s core values: Bold Transdisciplinary Innovative Agile Collaborative and Reflective


The purpose of the RFI Teaching & Engagement Competitive Awards Program is to foster the development of civic engagement in both students and community partners. Inherent to the vision, mission, and core values of the RFI, the awards program particularly encourages rural community members in partnership with higher education institutions to seek funding that results in college students involvement in providing services to help meet the community’s needs. Faculty and staff seeking funding should ensure that any civic engagement or service learning endeavor integrates meaningful student service experiences into the curriculum and, in the case of service learning, builds curriculum-based reflection activities to enhance student learning. The RFI will assist in identifying potential partners, if asked.

Project proposals must focus on involving students in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Civic Engagement
    Implement civic engagement efforts into new or existing programs to develop RFI core values in both communities and partnering campuses. For example, involving partners in recruitment/retention programs; creating learning communities that include civic engagement in the design; establishing diversity initiatives that explicitly link active and collaborative community-based teaching and learning with the academic success of underrepresented students or internship programs in rural communities. Community partners are particularly encouraged to seek, in conjunction with participating campuses or institutions of higher education, funding for the civic engagement portion of the teaching and learning award funding.
  2. Undergraduate and Graduate Service Learning
    Applicants must enhance curriculum by designing new course(s) or revising an existing course(s) with a partner agency to include a service learning component. Service learning is a transformational pedagogy that integrates service in the community with academic study. Faculty, in partnership with community representatives, design service learning projects based on two main objectives:

  3. Undergraduate and Graduate Student Community-based Research
    Applicants must develop and initiate a community-based research project focused on advancing the field of civic engagement through service learning by addressing a community identified need/issue.



Proposals will be reviewed by a panel that will include representation from the University of Nebraska’s four campuses who have expertise in service learning, civic engagement, and a clear understanding of the vision, mission and core values of the RFI. The panel will prioritize applications for funding based upon the selection criteria provided in Section V of this RFP. Final selections will be made by the RFI Executive Director.


  1. Potential to result in contributions to and measurable outcomes consistent with the RFI vision and mission.
  2. Compatibility with the RFI core values, especially reflective and collaborative.
  3. Potential for student learning, addressing rural community needs/issues, advancing the field of civic engagement, and advancing professional development of the applicants.
  4. Potential for establishing and sustaining the program/project/course(s) to continue after the grant period.
  5. Matching funds are not required but may increase the likelihood of funding success. 


Those proposals ultimately funded will have certain expectations of the PI and the key personnel including the following:


Funds may be used for wages and salaries of faculty and staff (provided the award is not used to generate salary savings), graduate and undergraduate students and other key personnel, as well as operating expenses such as databases, supplies and travel that are directly related to the project. Funds may not be used for any of the following purposes:


Go to http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/2016TEaward to:

Title Page Information: (entered online, required for submission) 

  1. Title
  2. Total Request Amount ($)
  3. Principal Investigator
    • Name
    • Affiliation
    • Telephone
    • Email
  4. Co-Principal Investigator(s)
    • Name
    • Affiliation
    • Telephone
    • Email
  5. Other Partners (if applicable)

Proposal Information: (upload as a single PDF document)

  1. Project Description: (three pages)
    • The project description is limited to three single-spaced pages, using Times New Roman (or similar) 11-point font and one-inch borders in a PDF format.
    • The project description should describe the proposed program/project/course(s) as it relates to one or more of the following three focus areas, clearly addressing the issues listed in the area below that will be the focus of the project. The plan must include a project timeline.
      1. Undergraduate and Graduate Service Learning 
        • Include a course description and learning outcomes.
        • Provide a clear rationale for why and how service learning should be integrated into the course(s).
        • Describe the reflection activities that clearly link the service experience with the learning objectives of the course.
        • Provide evidence for the sustainability of the course after the grant period ends.
      2. Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research 
        • Describe the community-based project.
        • Describe how the project integrates with teaching and professional service.
        • Describe student roles in the project and the reflective activities structured to link the service experience with the learning.
        • Provide evidence for project sustainability.
        • Describe how the results will be communicated.
      3. Civic Engagement 
        • Include a description of the engagement program and expected outcomes (recruitment/retention rates, diversity focused learning objectives, etc.).
        • Provide a clear rationale for why and how the engagement activities are integrated into the program.
        • Provide evidence for the sustainability of the program after the grant period ends.
    • List the project’s long-term and short-term goals related to:
      • Student learning;
      • Furthering institutional and departmental goals toward institutionalization of civic engagement and service learning;
      • Addressing community needs/issues;
      • Advancing the field of civic engagement and service learning as the pedagogy of engagement; and
      • Community partnerships including the role of community representatives in the design and implementation of the program/project/course(s).Note: References cited in Project Description are included in the three-page limit and should conform to an accepted journal format.
  2. Project Budget: (one page)
    Provide a one-page budget in which personnel and operating expenditures are identified and explained.
  3. Biographical Materials: (two pages per person)
    Provide up to a two-page biographical sketch/vitae for each key personnel.

If you have questions about the submission process, please contact Kim Peterson kpeterson@nebraska.edu or call 402-472-9287.