Teaching and learning funding opportunities

In the February edition of Edubytes, our guest editor Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning, pro tem Dr. Simon Bates, shares information about current and upcoming teaching and learning opportunities on the UBC Vancouver campus.

If I asked you to list the various funding opportunities that UBC provides to support teaching and learning innovation and improvement on the Vancouver campus, I wonder how many funds, programs you would list?

Four? Five? More? Well, it might surprise you to know that at least eight of them have been in play since the end of the major disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I work very closely with, or on, the teams overseeing the calls for proposals and adjudication for these various funding opportunities, and even I was surprised at how broad the range of options are once I listed them all out.

The dollar amount is significant too, with more than $3.5M disbursed annually through these various schemes to support teaching and learning innovations and enhancements. If you were mentally jotting down a list in response to my “How many?” question, I would not be surprised if the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) was right at the top of your list. This fund has been the engine of teaching and learning innovation for over 30 years on our campus, and the total number of projects supported over its lifetime is in excess of a thousand. In the summaries that follow, you can learn about the impact of this fund, as well as some of the other grant funding programs, with some details on their reach and examples of work they have supported along the way.

The range and extent of these funding opportunities underline UBC’s commitment to educational improvement and innovation. They are supported and enabled by outstanding and dedicated staff in central and faculty-based units, providing the environment and resources for faculty to experiment, innovate, evaluate and share their teaching practice in support of a truly transformative learning environment for our students.


Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund

Since 1991, the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) has set aside up to $2.5 million annually from student tuition to fund projects to advance and enhance educational offerings on the Vancouver campus. In the 2021/22 funding cycle, funded projects spanned 162 courses and 399 sections across nine faculties, impacting 32,000 enrolments and 18,000 unique students. The TLEF funds both large strategic transformation projects, and small grassroots innovation projects.


Continuous Learning Advancement Fund

The Continuous Learning Advancement Fund (CLAF) is the non-credit, career and life-long learning counterpart program to the TLEF, administered through UBC Extended Learning. The goal is to bring UBC’s academic expertise to a wider cohort of learners, in flexible formats and non-degree offerings. In the 2021/22 funding round, $432,000 was awarded for projects across four faculties.


Open Educational Resources Fund

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Fund builds on over a decade of work at UBC to support and champion the use of open educational practices and open scholarship. One of the main areas of focus has been to support the adoption, creation and development of open textbooks, and through the OER fund., 65 projects have been supported to date. The impact of OERs for students is estimated to have saved more than $2 million in the 2020/21 academic year, and more than $10 million since 2011.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Seed Program

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Seed Program is administered through the Institute of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, a research institute housed within the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Since its inception in 2014, the program has supported over 100 projects across all faculties, enabling faculty and staff to investigate the impact of pedagogical approaches and disseminate their findings. In 2022, 14 projects were funded across diverse academic contexts, from forest resources management to psychology and chemistry.


Students as Partners Fund

The Students as Partners (SaP) Fund was launched as a special two-year program that supports students as partners in course design, delivery and evaluation. Through these grants, students and faculty have the opportunity to contribute to curricular or pedagogical conceptualization, decision-making, implementation, investigation, or analysis. To date, $150,000 of a total of $284,000 has been allocated to Course Design grants in the first two calls, with 95% of funding going towards student wages, across 23 proposals from seven faculties.


Teaching Assistant Training Program Fund

The Teaching Assistant (TA) Training Program Fund provides $175,000 in annual funding to support the design, implementation and evaluation of TA training at UBC. Over the last five years, the number of TAs supported through this fund has increased by 37%, and the team is currently reviewing the current grant funding model to support the significant changes in the scope of the roles TAs now undertake.


Advancing Community Engaged Learning Fund

Through the Centre for Community Engaged Learning, the Advancing Community Engaged Learning Fund (ACEL) has awarded $180,000 to support 40 projects across 34 different academic departments and administrative units over the last two academic years.


Indigenous Strategic Initiative Fund

The Indigenous Strategic Initiative (ISI) Fund supports the implementation of the Indigenous Strategic Plan. Funds are available to support projects that advance UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan priority actions across both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. A total of up to $2 million in ISI funding is available for 2022-23.


Sustainability hub funding opportunities

Through the UBC sustainability hub, 12 different projects funds and grants are available to students, instructors and staff, with topics ranging from the AMS sustainability and innovative project funds, equity enhancement fund, healthy workplace initiative fund, just to name a few.

Enjoyed reading about teaching and learning funding opportunities? Learn about other topics we covered in the February 2023 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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