Engaged Course Grant At-a-Glance

Funding maximum: $4,000
Deadline: October 4, 2023
Notification of Awards: November 1, 2023
Start date: December 1, 2023
Submission portal

Next cycle deadline: February 19, 2024

CHE Community-engaged learning initiative

Cornell Human Ecology (CHE) is partnering with the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement to recognize, support, and advance community-engaged learning (CEL) throughout the college. This engaged college initiative reflects the next phase of OEI’s work to involve more Cornell undergraduates in CEL while also furthering community partners’ missions and advancing faculty members’ research. The new approach empowers each college to support the engaged learning opportunities that best fit the mission of their college.

CHE is offering grants to enhance existing and create new community-engaged learning opportunities for students. The goal of these funding opportunities is to reach as many interested faculty, staff, and students as possible and to make sustainable investments in opportunities that will continue beyond the funding of this block grant.

Grant Purpose:

The purpose of CHE Engaged Course Grants is to fund faculty who are integrating community-engaged learning into new and existing courses that involve students in work with community partners. These grants allow faculty to explore new partnerships, develop new courses, and integrate community-engaged learning into existing courses.

Specifically, this funding is meant to introduce, improve, or increase the four community-engaged learning criteria in your course.

  • Need. Student projects in the course address a community-identified need.
  • Partner. A community partner is integrated into course instruction.
  • Connection. The project connects (and integrates) engaged experiences with course content and disciplinary perspectives.
  • Reflection. Student assignments involve critical reflection on the engaged experiences.

Introducing community-engaged learning into courses in ways that are sustainable is a high priority, so we encourage applicants to consider how these funds can support teaching courses more than one time.

Are you wondering whether your course idea is a good fit? Contact the CEL Coordinator Kristen Elmore (kce28@cornell.edu), and we can talk about your course.

CHE Engaged COURSE Grants are not intended to support:

  • Proposals to develop co- or extra-curricular activities such as student clubs or speaker series (though curricular development may include integration of co-curricular opportunities). For this, see the CHE Engaged Opportunity Rapid Response Grants.
  • Undergraduate research that is not part of a course or curriculum. For this, see the CHE Engaged Research Seed Grants.

Who is eligible?:

Faculty of any rank and research, teaching, or extension (RTE) faculty in Cornell Human Ecology. The faculty lead on a collaborative project must be a member of the department responsible for the course.

Staff, graduate students, and community partners can be team members but cannot serve as team leads. Participation of community partners is strongly encouraged. Partners may be community-based nonprofits, government entities, corporations, unions, health facilities or Cornell-based organizations that facilitate external partnerships. There is no restriction on the geographic location of the partnership.

Projects that have not previously received Engaged Curriculum Funding will receive priority.


Funding for course grants will not exceed $4,000. All budget lines must be justified. Applicants should make their case for the use of funds most appropriate to their needs. Please note that grantees might not receive their full budget request.

Engaged Course Grants have a 12-month term. At the end of the approved grant period, grant-holders may be eligible for a no-cost extension or will return the remaining funds to the CHE CEL initiative block grant.

Expectations and Deliverables

A final report will be due one month after the funding is completed. Required final reports will include the course syllabus and describe student participation, student evaluations of their experiences, community partner contributions to the student learning experience, as well as the benefit to the community partner and achievement of learning goals set by the applicants. As appropriate, grantees may be asked to contribute photographs or stories to support communication about engaged learning in the college.

Grantees will also be expected to participate in the CHE community-engaged teaching mentorship network and CHE Engaged Forum to share their experiences with other faculty.


Allowable Expenses

  • Faculty and/or staff support:
    • **Travel, meals and lodging associated community-engaged learning conducted off campus
    • Resources for collaborative planning (meals, mini-conferences, books, subscriptions, webinars, etc.)
    • Materials that support the project
    • Funding for student interns, graduate assistants and/or academic staff to assist with course development
  • Student support:
    • **Travel, meals and lodging associated with community-engaged learning conducted off campus
    • Systems that support the student work experience (graphics, software, enrollment in online training, etc.)
  • Community partner support:
    • Funds that support the participation of the off-campus community in the experience

**Travel, meals, and visitors must be consistent with current Cornell COVID-19 Travel and Visitor Policy.

Unallowable Expenses

  • overhead and indirect costs (IDC);
  • tuition;
  • capital projects;
  • faculty or staff salaries;
  • post-graduation wages or travel costs for students.

Selection Criteria

CHE’s CEL leadership and invited reviewers will review proposals using the following criteria, as appropriate:

  • The intention to impact teaching culture in department/unit/program and/or to embed community-engaged learning into the heart of the major/minor/concentration
  • Contribution to Cornell’s goal of 100% undergraduate participation in high-quality community-engaged learning opportunities, which
    • Address a specific community interest, problem or public concern (Need)
    • Include working with and learning from a community partner (Partner)
    • Connect and integrate community-engaged experiences with educational content (Connection)
    • Include structured, documented critical reflection (Reflection)
  • Prospect for sustaining the community-engaged course beyond the life of the grant

Given the competitive funding environment and limited resources, priority is given to proposals that

  • engage undergraduates;
  • embed community-engaged learning into core or required components of the curriculum, particularly at the 1000 or 2000 level or in large-format classes;
  • come from departments/programs that offer fewer opportunities for community-engaged learning;
  • have not received prior funding from Engaged Learning initiatives

We are especially excited to support engaged courses with a commitment to working with, supporting, and/or addressing issues affecting historically marginalized and underserved groups (Black and Indigenous communities/communities of color, or other underrepresented minorities).

Instructions to apply

Proposals must be submitted using the online application form, and include the following information, within the space limits described on the form.

  1. Course title
  2. Name(s) of team member(s) and their unit(s)
  3. Signature endorsements from chair or supervisor
  4. Community partner(s) information, if applicable. Letter of collaboration is strongly encouraged.
  5. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the course, public purpose, and what the project team will be doing
  6. Short narrative that describes the proposed community-engaged course, including, as relevant:
    1. Specific aims of the grant in connection to the course (e.g., adding community partners to an existing course, developing a new course with a partner, integrating reflection into student learning, etc.)
    2. Need. Description of the benefit of the student coursework to the partner(s)
    3. Partner. Clearly identified community partner(s) and their role in the student learning experience
    4. Connection. Anticipated student learning outcomes and how you plan to assess these
    5. Reflection. Description of how the course supports student preparation for and critical reflection on their community-engaged learning experiences
  7. Description of how the proposed course connects to the broader curriculum within a major (e.g., what are the course prerequisites, is it a required course, is the course introductory, capstone, etc.)
  8. Discussion of whether this course requires funding that will need to be replenished to teach it in the future. What are the opportunities to sustain the course beyond the grant period? Include estimate of resources needed and plan for securing and sustaining those resources.
  9. Estimated number and type of Cornell students (majors; undergraduate, graduate, professional) targeted by the proposal
  10. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories in the online application form
    1. Projects are encouraged to include funding to support community partner efforts