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Program Overview

Mini-grants were initiated by the Faculty Advisory Committee on Instructional Improvement Programs (CIIP) in recognition that even small sums of money could stimulate experimentation and improve curricula and pedagogy. Furthermore, the CIIP wanted the mini-grant program to be simple - without numerous sign-offs or committee reviews for approval. The program is administered through the Office of Instructional Development (OID). Faculty and TAs are encouraged to apply for anything that enhances or enriches university instruction.

Since its inception in the mid-1970’s, the mini-grant program has supported thousands of small-scale projects, as shown in this summary:

Academic Year # of Grants # of Individuals Total Awarded
00/01 838 394 $167,763
01/02 995 483 $173,538
02/03 787 436 $178,496
03/04 769 412 $110,762
04/05 803 429 $161,125
05/06 714 464 $152,615
06/07 787 436 $178,496
07/08 942 483 $142,636

Some enduring misconceptions about the grants are that each faculty member has an "account," or that if several years pass without an application from an individual then the total amount can be multiplied by the number of years. Obviously, if all 3,000 faculty applied for the maximum amount in any given year, the budget would need to be almost a dozen times larger than what is available for the program. There is a delicate balancing act between requests and resources, but to date the program has never had to entirely deny a grant due to lack of funds.

Mini-grants are available in amounts up to $600.00 for faculty, and up to $250.00 for teaching assistants, per academic year. If approved, funds are transferred to the department within two to three weeks. OID does not issue checks to vendors or speakers; invoices are paid by the home department.

Mini-Grant Application Process

Professors, visiting professors, lecturers, administrators teaching courses and teaching assistants, are all eligible for mini-grants. Application forms are available in the OID office, available as a Microsoft Word download and as an online web-based application. Please be sure that all required information is provided. Include an exact budget for each request, without exceeding the maximum specified limits.

Completed forms should be submitted well in advance of scheduled need for funds. Retroactive applications are not granted. All requests for the current quarter must be turned in a week before the quarter end date, and no later than June 1, 2012 for the 2011-2012 academic year. Completed mini-grant applications can be emailed to, faxed (310) 206-1455 or mailed to the Office of Instructional Development, 60 Powell, 151504. Please note that requests for media materials must be submitted to the Instructional Media Collections and Services, 46 Powell, 151704.

The review process for mini-grant applications is usually completed within seven working days. Upon approval, allow another two weeks for the transfer of funds; certain media requests may take up to three weeks. Initial questions regarding applications may be answered in advance by calling the mini-grant program office, at (310) 825-2790. Further inquiries may be addressed in a brief consultation with staff from the Mini-Grant office, the Instructional Media Collections and Services, or the TA Training Program.

Guidelines for Mini-Grant Projects

Mini-grant projects typically fall into the categories described below. The categories are illustrative and not exhaustive, and therefore faculty and TAs need not limit themselves to these examples.

  • Distinguished guest speaker honoraria for experts visiting undergraduate classes.

  • Field trips conducted for class instruction at off-campus sites within California.

  • Instructional media, such as rental, purchase, duplication, or production of course-related materials.

  • Minor projects to supplement or innovate course curricula and activities.

  • Departmental TA training program grants to develop new TA training activities and programs, or to add components to those that already exist.

Some restrictions apply to the use of mini-grants. Please see Examples of Mini-Grant Uses for more information.

Certain types of projects cannot be funded. The following list describes ineligible requests.

  • Funds may not be used to supplement regular departmental expenses and budgets, thus any expenses intrinsic to the teaching of a course will be disallowed.

  • Classroom equipment, textbooks, and office supplies are not eligible.

  • Readers may not be hired for classroom instruction.

  • Graduate courses are not eligible according to system-wide policy.

  • Conference and travel expenses for faculty and guests will not be approved.

  • Two faculty members may not apply for the same project.

Next: Frequently Asked Questions

For more information
Instructional Improvement Mini-Grants Program
Office of Instructional Development
70 Powell Library Building
310 825-2790


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