Carnegie Mellon University

Faculty Resources

The Grand Challenge Seminars are a cornerstone to the forthcoming Dietrich Curriculum. This is an opportunity to teach undergraduate students through collaborative teaching with your colleagues. Please consider proposing a course either for first-year students or upper-level undergraduates. The Dietrich College Dean’s Office will provide a myriad of resources to help you achieve your vision for a course. These courses are important opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary and collaborative learning in the classroom. As a faculty member, you will model the modes of collaborative work for which CMU and Dietrich College are acclaimed.

Interdisciplinary Grand Challenge Seminar Grants
Call for Proposals

The Dietrich College Dean’s Office calls for proposals to develop interdisciplinary, team-taught seminars on topics that are grand challenges to society in the 21st century.  Course themes will be based on faculty interests and expertise.  We welcome proposals for first-year and upper-level undergraduate seminars that expose students to collaborative problem-solving across disciplines.

Explore recent seminars and program learning objectives

We request proposals for seminars to be offered beginning in academic year 2020-2021.  Teaching teams should consist of preferably two or at most three faculty, representing a range of disciplines.  Faculty teams should have at least one faculty member in the humanities and the social sciences, respectively, or teams can include faculty in the humanities OR social sciences, with a collaborator in another field outside of Dietrich College.  Faculty teams should be led by a full-time, regular faculty member (tenure track or teaching track[1]) in Dietrich College.  For developing the class, up to $10,000 will be allocated per faculty member on the team.  Faculty can designate funds for summer salary for course design and/or course enhancements including guest speakers, field trips, etc.  For iteratively developing the course beyond the first year, up to $2,500 per faculty member will be allocated for each team.

Proposals will be considered in a two-stage process.  In round one, short letters of intent should be submitted by November 1st, 2019.

The letter of intent should be 1-2 pages in length, with a brief narrative describing:

  • The “Grand Challenge” topic to be addressed
  • How the course will attend to program learning objectives including:
  1. Introducing students to the disciplinary methods and approaches pertaining to the proposed course topic based on the teaching team’s expertise
  2. Building opportunities for students to practice written, visual and/or verbal communication skills
  3. Collaborative practice and/or small group work (i.e. group projects, peer review, discussion boards, etc.)
  • A brief list of the core faculty

Projects selected in round one will be invited to submit a slightly longer “full proposal” of 5 pages, by December 20, 2019

Full proposals should include:

  • The “Grand Challenge” topic addressed
  • Narrative on the interdisciplinary approach to the topic
  • Brief list of the core faculty, including a team teaching charter (template to be provided by the Dean’s Office)
  • Rough outline of how the course will meet program learning objectives and possible assignments
  • Rough outline of proposed syllabus
  • Rough budget outline (can include summer salary, excursions for students, materials and supplies, etc.) of how funding will be used in year one

If selected, recipients are expected to offer the seminar three times.  All members of the faculty teams will be asked to participate in teaching workshops to assist with initial course design and early iteration.  Teams will be encouraged to incorporate Early Course Feedback in course development each term.  

Desiderata for assessing proposals will include, but are not be limited to:

  • Topical relevance and importance
  • Disciplinary synergy with respect to the topic
  • Feasibility of the implementation plan
  • Adaptation of material in line with student development (first-year versus upper level undergraduate)

Proposals and pertinent questions should be emailed to Jennifer Keating.

For confidential assistance on proposed course design or feedback on proposal drafts, please consult Chad Hershock in the Eberly Center.

[1] Full time special faculty will be considered on a case-by-case basis.