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Innovate 5.0: CLA Undergraduate Education Fund

NOTICE: This grant program has been suspended temporarily. It will not be available for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 due to the current budget environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It is our hope to have the program return in Fiscal Year 2021-2022 (if the budget allows). The announcement will be made via email if and when we have been informed the program will be restarted. Please submit questions and concerns to Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult and unprecedented times. Take care, and be well! 

– CLA Office of Research and Graduate Education 


The College of Liberal Arts envisions an energized commitment to undergraduate programs as essential to a Purdue education that prepares sought-after graduates for meaningful careers and inspired leadership. In support of that commitment, Dean David Reingold established Innovate, a recurring undergraduate education fund, in 2015.

For 2019-2020, Innovate will distribute up to $75,000 for proposals to enhance undergraduate education. Eligibility for this program includes all ranks of tenured, tenure-track, practice, and teaching faculty. Visiting professors and lecturers are not eligible to participate.


Innovate 5.0 seeks to explore partnerships across Purdue and new ways of envisioning delivery of programs of study in Liberal Arts, inspiring alternate methods of educating undergraduates and allowing a more individually-defined academic experience. Innovate 5.0 will support the development of new badges, certificates, and minors to complement areas of study across Purdue’s academic colleges. It will also support efforts to create Bachelor of Science degrees in Liberal Arts majors.

CLA faculty would collaborate with campus colleagues to define opportunities and build plans of study for new options for non-CLA students to add a CLA competency or for CLA students to add a non-CLA competency.

Proposal Topics:

Priority 1: Creation of badges, certificates, and minors

The proposals would include:

  • Building a partnership with campus colleagues.

  • Defining the badge, certificate, or minor.

  • Articulating the connection between the different majors and the benefit to students.

  • Assessing ability of the academic unit(s) to deliver the badge, certificate, or minor with existing resources and personnel.

  • Committing to collaborating with the CLA Dean’s Office and/or the campus partner Dean’s Office to complete all necessary paperwork for approval of the badge, certificate, or minor.

Examples might include: a badge in UX Design for Industrial or Interior Design, a certificate in Data Science for social science majors, a certificate in Environmental and Ecological Engineering for Anthropology, a badge in Cross Cultural Competency for Management, a certificate in Theatre Design for Robotics Engineering Technology, etc.

NOTE: Any proposals must include the endorsement and approval of the appropriate dean, academic unit head, and undergraduate education/curriculum committee of all colleges involved.

Priority 2: Creation of new B.S. options for Liberal Arts majors

These proposals would include:

  • Exploring opportunities for new Bachelor of Science options in Liberal Arts majors and across Liberal Arts disciplines to define new areas for the B.S. Examples could include quantitative social sciences or medical social sciences.

  • Defining the B.S. plan of study.

  • Building partnerships across colleges, as appropriate, to ensure space in non-CLA courses for these majors.

  • Determining how the B.S. would be differentiated from the current B.A. and how that would be articulated to potential majors in either program.

  • Assessing ability of the academic unit to deliver the B.S. and the impact on the existing B.A.

  • Committing to collaborating with the CLA Dean’s Office to complete all necessary paperwork for approval of the B.S. option.

NOTE: Any proposals must include the endorsement and approval of the appropriate dean, academic unit head, and undergraduate education/curriculum committee of all colleges involved.

Priority 3: Open Call

Innovate 5.0 welcomes proposals for any and all ideas related to innovation in undergraduate education. These ideas must be endorsed and approved by the head of the appropriate school/department/unit.  Examples include new/revised majors, minors, certificates, or courses, inventive learning communities, partnership with Cornerstone, Degree in 3, and/or Degree+, or any other idea related to the enrichment of undergraduate education in the humanities, social sciences, or the arts.

The focus must be undergraduate education and the goals must be to serve existing students better and/or to attract new students to the college. Proposals will be evaluated on their potential to serve current students or attract new students, from within and outside of Purdue University and the College of Liberal Arts.


Funds may support any appropriate expenses related to the development and implementation of a proposal, including S&E and summer salary.

Application Process

The application process for Innovate 5.0 will begin with an email memo to Senior Associate Dean Joel Ebarb In addition to general applicant information such as name, title, department, etc. and a title for the proposal, the memo should include the following information in three distinct paragraphs:

  • Where we are now: Succinctly define the current situation, and clearly articulate the challenge to be solved.

  • Where we want to go: Describe the ideal outcome and provide clear goals, strategies, and benchmarks of success.

  • How we plan to get there: Explain your plan for solving the problem and what resources would be necessary to achieve this goal.

The entire proposal should be no more than two printed pages.

There is no need for a budget to be included in the preliminary proposal.

Applicants need not provide extensive supporting data and research at this time but may be called upon to provide this information as the proposal develops.

If the memo is not sent from the school/department head, they must be cc’d in the email, which will serve as their endorsement of the preliminary proposal.

After submission, Senior Associate Dean Ebarb will review the proposal, ask for clarification if needed, and schedule a meeting to discuss next steps. If selected for final review, the proposal will be developed to include a budget and appropriate supporting documents. Once a final proposal is complete it will be shared with Dean David Reingold for his review and approval.

Proposals will be reviewed upon submission. Awards will be made until all funds are committed for the year.