Transforming Learning for a Third Century (TLTC)

Transformation – Call for Proposals

 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 programs aim 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 programs are open to all units and disciplines.  Transforming Learning for a Third Century’s grant programs are as follows:

  • Quick Wins and Discovery fund 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)
  • 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)

Details of the Transformation Call for Proposal follow.

For Quick Wins/Discovery, please click here.

Questions related to the TLTC programs should be sent to:

Objectives and Scope of the Transformation Program

This program is aimed at making transformative changes to instruction at the University of Michigan on a broad scale (departmental, divisional, and/or college level). The proposed efforts should result in large-scale implementation of activities that will enhance the educational experience for U-M students by providing them with high quality, engaged learning experiences. The proposed efforts should be based on evidence (obtained by prior studies either in a TLTC Discovery grant or independent efforts) that the changes will favorably impact the learning experiences of the students involved.  The Transformation program anticipates that funded projects will be distributed across campus, within and across a variety of schools and units.


All faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to apply for a Transformation grant.  Receipt of a TLTC Discovery grant is not a requirement, though evidence that the proposed effort will favorably impact the learning experiences of our students will need to be provided in order to be considered for Transformation funding.

Funding Amount and Duration

Transformation funding can be requested between $100,000 and $3 million, depending on the size, scope and needs of the proposed program or activity.   Funding amounts are expected to be commensurate with the scale of the activity and the number of students affected.  The funds may be spent over a multi-year period, with a maximum funding period of 5 years.

Cost Sharing and Allowable Expenses

Cost sharing from the units involved, while not required, is strongly encouraged and will be viewed favorably as a sign of commitment and evidence of likely sustainable institutional change.  Please identify direct cost sharing contributions along with in kind contributions.

Replacement teaching subventions (faculty buyouts) are discouraged and will only be considered an allowable Transformation grant expense if deemed fully necessary for the success of the project.  Unit approval will be formally required for an exception to be made.  Buyouts funded via cost sharing are at the discretion of the unit.

Travel, student support, summer salary, consulting, supplies and equipment are all allowable expenses.

Assessment and Evaluation

In order to be considered for funding, proposals must include a plan for assessment/evaluation and sustainability.  For assistance, applicants are encouraged to contact CRLT at  We have added resources to CRLT that are dedicated to the Third Century Initiative and available to assist you.

Proposal Process and Due Dates

The proposal process for Transformation funding has three steps:

1. Letter of Intent (the Letter of Intent Format and Process is described in detail below). Note that the Letter of Intent is now required along with the signatures of the appropriate unit leaders. Due May 29, 2015
2. Written proposal  (the Proposal Format is described in detail below). Please allow enough time to obtain the required signatures. Proposals should be shared with unit leaders at least one week prior to the August 31 due date – possibly sooner given vacation schedules. Due August 31, 2015
3. Oral Presentation and Discussion.  After the review of the written proposals, some teams may be invited to make a short oral presentation to the review committee, which will be followed by a discussion, including a question and answer period. October, 2015

Award notifications will be made in November of 2015. 

Letter of Intent Format and Process (Letter of Intent Template)

If you are interested in applying for Transformation funds, please submit a brief Letter of Intent following the provided format.  Submission of a Letter of Intent is now required along with the signatures of the appropriate unit leaders.  Feedback may be provided to proposal teams based on the Letter of Intent.

The Letter of Intent should briefly describe your proposed idea for change and explain what types of early financial support and practical experience are bolstering your project (via a Quick Wins or Discovery project, or other means).  It should also provide an estimate of the anticipated number and scope of students to be impacted. 

Proposal Format (Proposal Template)

  1. Cover Page (two pages):  The cover page should follow the provided template and contain the signatures of all participating faculty or staff, the signatures of the appropriate unit leaders (Dean or Director, as appropriate), a concise budget, and a concise timeline.  Please note that Dean/Director level approval is required for Transformation grants. Note that the cover page should also clearly indicate the academic unit(s) that will be the administrative home for the proposed educational program or activity.  Modifications may be made to the Cover Page Template to accommodate the necessary number of signatures.
  2. Executive Summary (one page):  Please provide a one-page Executive Summary clearly articulating the distinctive aspects of work to be undertaken in Transformation, the engaged, action-based learning that it will involve, and the anticipated number and scope of students impacted at U-M.
  3. Full Proposal (up to 10 pages):  Your proposal should provide a clear articulation of the planned project and how the proposed activity will have a transformative impact on student learning at U-M.  Proposals should, at a minimum: explain progress related to the proposed project and evidence of impact to date (via a Quick Wins/Discovery grant or independent efforts); explain plans to fully implement the project via a Transformation grant; and provide a plan for assessment/evaluation and sustainability (for assistance with the development of your assessment plan, please contact CRLT at  Proposals should also include information about your idea’s potential for dynamic change (adaptive to changing student needs over time and reflective of complex, shifting situations on campus and in the world) and identify any collaborative or cross-cutting elements of your proposal with other units and communities, both on and off campus.
  4. Budget Page (one to two pages):  Please provide annual project budget by cost category, as outlined in the Template.  Clearly identify any cost sharing associated with the project.   Please see the Cost Sharing and Allowable Expense section above for more information.
  5. Project Plan (one page):  Provide a summary of the proposed project’s annual timeline, including key milestones.
  6. Biosketches:  Please attach a 1-3 page biosketch for each faculty or staff participant and a letter of support from any non-UM primary partners.

Funding Criteria

  • Has a transformative impact on the education of U-M students.
  • Increases access and visibility of engaged, action-based learning experiences for a significant number of U-M students, exposing cohorts of students to valuable learning experiences that they would otherwise not have had.
  • Provides a plan for sustainability (material, financial, cultural, etc.) and a clearly articulated theory of change.
  • Is based on evidence that the proposed changes will favorably impact the learning experiences of the students involved.
  • Includes a plan for ongoing assessment and evaluation.  For assistance with your assessment plan, we strongly encourage you to contact CRLT at
  • Includes the potential for replication or translation by other groups or learning communities across campus.

Summary of Timeline
Call for Proposals released:  April 2015
Letters of Intent due:  May 29, 2015 (by midnight)
Full Proposal due date:  August 31, 2015 (by midnight)
(Please allow enough time to obtain the required signatures. Proposals should be shared with unit leaders at least one week prior to the August 31 due date.)
Award Notification:  November 2015

Submission Procedure

Letters of Intent should be submitted as a single PDF to
Full Proposals should be submitted as a single PDF to
You will receive an email confirmation of receipt within three business days.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have further questions, please contact Anne Berens in the Provost’s office at or (734) 647-8788.