Transforming Learning for a Third Century (TLTC)

Call for Proposals – Quick Wins and Discovery

Note that this program is no longer accepting proposals.


The Third Century Initiative (TCI) is a plan from the University of Michigan president and provost to foster the development of forward thinking approaches to teaching and scholarship at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor for our third century. The overall goal of the Third Century Initiative is to stimulate creative thinking among students and faculty, and to develop programs that will intensify learning experiences in and beyond the classroom. TCI is a five-year program with $50 million dollars of dedicated funding.

$25 million of the Third Century Initiative resources have been dedicated to creating innovative student learning experiences.  Transforming Learning for a Third Century (TLTC) represents the funding mechanism associated with creating new, engaged learning experiences for U-M students.

The TLTC grant program aims to fund the most exciting and innovative ideas from across the University of Michigan campus to enhance engaged, action-based learning for U-M students. The program is open to all units and disciplines.

Transforming Learning for a Third Century’s grant programs are as follows:

  1. Quick Wins/Discovery funds relatively small-scale, “shovel ready” projects that have transformative potential for curriculum, pedagogy, and student learning and/or projects that embrace risk, discovery, and experimentation, empowering faculty members and staff to explore opportunities beyond the traditional.  The latter type of projects should be based on a general hypothesis regarding teaching and learning that can be questioned, explored, and planned or piloted during this initial funding period.  (up to $50,000)
  2. Transformation is aimed at large-scale changes to instruction and/or infrastructure, enabling faculty and staff to implement new learning approaches for sustainable and replicable adoption.  Projects should be based upon evidence that the proposed changes will favorably impact the learning experiences of the students involved.  ($100,000 to $3 million)

Please note that Quick Wins / Discovery was previously two separate grant programs.  They have been merged into one TLTC mini-grant program on the same timeline.

Details of the Quick Wins / Discovery Call for Proposals follow.

For Transformation, please click here.

Questions related to the TLTC programs should be sent to:  TLTC.Questions@umich.edu

Description of the Quick Wins/Discovery Program 

Quick Wins / Discovery funding will be available to teams wishing to pilot single projects too ambitious to be supported at the department or unit level and/or potentially large-scale projects that will benefit from some testing and validation prior to significant investment in implementation.

Quick Wins/Discovery projects must involve engaged learning experiences for students at the University of Michigan.

The projects should also have some transformative potential, and may include the generation of new curricula or pedagogical techniques, the exploration of new directions in the context of existing programs, modeling of strategies to be scaled to other units, application of strategies as yet untried on the Ann Arbor campus, or other engaged learning innovations.  Projects may be amenable to quick implementation (previously Quick Wins) or may be based on a general hypothesis regarding student learning that can be questioned, explored, and planned or piloted during a six to eighteen month funding period (previously Discovery).

New student learning approaches developed during Quick Wins / Discovery that prove to be effective, scalable, and potentially sustainable can be submitted to the Transformation program for implementation at U-M.  Transformation funds ($100,000-$3,000,000) will be used to implement these new learning approaches and may require shared support from other units.  These learning approaches may involve changes to infrastructure (partnering with other units for building resources, for example), developing new course materials, technology investment, partnering with community groups, transportation solutions, etc.


All faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to apply for a Quick Wins / Discovery grant.

Funding Amount and Duration:

Quick Wins / Discovery funding can be requested up to $50,000 on a one-time basis, appropriate to scale of the project.  Requested amount are expected to be commensurate with the size and scope of the project and the number of students affected.  Funds will be available for 18 months from the date of funding.

Proposal Format:

  1. Cover page (one page):  The cover page should follow the provided template and contain signatures of all participating faculty/staff, the signatures of the appropriate unit leaders (Dean, Associate Dean, Department Chair, or Director, as appropriate), a concise budge, and a concise timeline.
  2. Proposal (2-3 pages):  Proposals should describe the specific project, including the number of students impacted and in what way, along with the potential for the project to have sustainable changes in the quality of the student learning experience. The proposal should also address how the project meets criterion (a) as well as at least three additional criteria from the list below.
  3. Please attach a 1-3 page biosketch for each faculty or staff participant.

Funding Criteria:

Quick Wins/Discovery proposals should address how the project meets criterion (a) as well as at least three additional criteria from the list below.

a.  Increases engaged, action-based learning experiences for U-M students
b.  Leads to an immediate change in or shows the potential for change in the nature of instruction at U-M
c.  Leads to an immediate change in or shows the potential for improvement in the quality of the students’ learning experience
d.  Will impact a significant number of students
e.  Demonstrates a clear plan for gathering evidence to justify continuation to Transformation phase
f.  Has potential for replication by other groups across campus
g.  Has potential to be sustainable
h.  Has potential for visible impact on broader landscape of American higher education


Call for Proposals released:  April 2015
Proposal Due Date:  June 5, 2015
Award Notification:  August 2015

Note that this is the FINAL round of the Quick Wins and Discovery program.

Submission Procedure:

Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF to TLTC.QW-Discovery@umich.edu.
You will receive an email confirmation of receipt within three business days.


A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

Printable Version of the Call for Proposals