Engaged Opportunity Rapid Response Grant At-a-Glance

Funding maximum: $2,000
Deadline: Rolling submissions
Notification of Awards: Within 2 weeks of submission
Start date: Rolling
Submission portal

CHE Community-engaged learning initiative

The College of Human Ecology (CHE) is partnering with the 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

Engaged Opportunity Rapid Response Grants are designed to help create, enhance, or sustain community-engaged learning opportunities for undergraduates. These awards can support a wide range of experiences that include curricular, research, and co-curricular (non-credit bearing) student experiences, student leadership programs, partnership building efforts, and CEL-related events.

Specifically, this funding is meant to provide timely response to opportunities for faculty, staff and community partners to introduce, improve, or increase the four community-engaged learning criteria in student experiences. These criteria are the following:

  • Need. Students are responding to a community-identified need.
  • Partner. Student work with and learn from community partner(s).
  • Connection. The project connects (and integrates) engaged experiences with disciplinary learning.
  • Reflection. Students participate in critical reflection on their engaged experiences.

These grants are intended to support a range of community-engaged learning activities, which may include:

  • Community-engaged leadership student programming:
  • projects where students can integrate their leadership education and community-engaged learning through critical reflection
  • collaborations with diverse partners (e.g., communities, alumni and other university stakeholders) that build student leadership capacity through community-engaged learning
  • Production and dissemination of “public products” in support of and/or celebrating community-engaged learning; including, but not limited to, community-engaged presentation at conferences/workshops, publications (print and electronic), tools, podcasts, videos, exhibits and datasets, and professional development/training to support production
  • Developing or deepening community partnerships related to co- or extra-curricular student groups or experiences
  • Creation and implementation of community-engaged events such as informal seminars, networking or collaboration development activities (e.g., thematic luncheon conversations, symposia, workshops, pilot collaborations, and speakers)
  • Can include documentation of community-engaged events or communications infrastructure related to community-engaged learning
  • Do you have an idea not listed here? Contact the CEL Coordinator Kristen Elmore, and we can talk about your project.

Who is eligible?

Faculty of any rank, staff, and post-docs in the College of Human Ecology.

Temporary staff and students can be team members but cannot serve as team leads. Participation of community partners and/or alumni is encouraged.

Cornell CHE affiliate organizations should consult the CHE Initiative Coordinator, Kristen Elmore (kce28@cornell.edu), to determine eligibility.

Projects that have not previously received funding from Engaged Learning initiatives will receive priority.


Funding for grants will not exceed $2,000. All budget lines must be justified. Applicants should make their case for the use of funds most appropriate to their need. Please note that grantees might not receive their full budget request.

Rapid Response 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 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 describe student participation, student evaluations of their experiences, as well as the benefit to the community partner and achievement of student 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 experience with other faculty.


Allowable Expenses

Faculty and/or staff support:

  • **Travel, meals and lodging associated community-engaged learning conducted off campus
  • Project planning, development, assessment and dissemination
  • Reservation of space
  • Materials that support the project

Student support:

  • **Travel, meals and lodging associated with community-engaged learning conducted off campus
  • Direct costs incurred by students involved in the project (e.g., conference registration)
  • Costs of publication
  • Systems that support the student work experience (graphics, software, enrollment in online training, etc.)
  • Wages for students (work study, other). Information about Cornell student employment and federal work-study is available at studentemployment.cornell.edu/policies

Partner support:

  • Funds that support the participation of the off-campus community in the experience and/or documentation, including expenses necessary to build capacity for partner participation
  • Honoraria for outside speakers and/or consultants to complement project planning and student learning
  • **Speaker travel costs

**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:

  • Involvement of undergraduate students
  • 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)
  • Clear indication of community-engaged student learning and leadership opportunity
  • Prospect for sustaining the community-engaged learning beyond the life of the grant

Given the competitive funding environment, priority is given to projects that:

  • Come from departments/programs that offer fewer opportunities for community-engaged learning;
  • have not received prior funding.

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. Project title
  2. Name(s) of team member(s) and their unit(s)
  3. Community partner(s) information, if applicable. Letter of collaboration is strongly encouraged.
  4. Succinct summary, to be shared publicly, describing the project context, public purpose and what the project team will be doing
  5. Short narrative that describes the overarching goals of the community-engaged learning activity, what you plan to do, how you plan to do it and potential next steps and/or outcomes. As is relevant to the request, include:
    1. How the project/initiative directly supports undergraduate community-engaged learning at Cornell, or creates the supportive environment for this learning to take place in the near future
    2. Need. Description of the project, inclusive of community-identified need
    3. Partner. Clearly identified community partner(s), their role and the benefit of the work to the partner(s)
    4. Connection. Role of the student(s) and anticipated student learning outcomes and how you plan to assess these
    5. Reflection. Description of how the project/initiative supports student preparation for and critical reflection on their community-engaged learning experiences
  6. If this community-engaged learning opportunity requires funding for it to be sustained, please discuss opportunities to support this project in the future. Include an estimate of resources needed and plan for securing and sustaining those resources.
  7. Additional project information (e.g., related courses, course prerequisites, project completion date), as appropriate
  8. Estimated number and type of Cornell students (undergraduate, graduate, professional) targeted by the proposal
  9. 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