March 7, 2018

Curriculum Impact Grants


Curriculum Impact Grants look for teams of faculty, staff, and/or administrators to design innovative multidisciplinary curriculum at either the undergraduate or graduate level.  Our goal is to help you create scaffolded, intentional programs that incorporate experiential learning and build on the strengths of our faculty across units. We encourage programs that are flexible, expand students’ understanding of local and global challenges, and teach them the tools to address these issues

Information for Curriculum Impact Grant Proposals

2019-2020 Curriculum Impact Grant Cycle

For the 2019-2020 cycle, proposals involving any curriculum change that includes Mason Impact (at the undergraduate level) or experiential learning (at the graduate level) are encouraged. Priority in this cycle will be given to programs (majors, minors, and master’s programs) with low enrollment looking to revitalize their program by collaborating with other units in a multidisciplinary fashion.

What does a Curriculum Impact Grant Submission Entail?

Curriculum Impact Grants support educational innovation that enhances Mason Impact and other cross-unit, multidisciplinary curriculum development activities.

Curriculum Impact Grants help faculty in revising existing and developing new curricula that: (a) deepen student development in at least one of the characteristics defined by Mason Impact, and (b) increase the percentage of Mason students who participate in some form of Mason Impact project. Priority in 2019-2020 was given to proposals that:

  • Scaffold undergraduate and/or graduate learning from intellectual discovery to the development of specific knowledge and skills, and culminate in a high impact experience.
  • Engage faculty and staff from multiple units, departments, and divisions in sustainable multidisciplinary collaboration.
  • Pilot models of multidisciplinary collaboration that are scalable and have the potential to be expanded into new minors, concentrations, majors, and other programs.

2019-2020 Grantees

The Faculty and Curricular Activities committee and a team of peer reviewers evaluated 20 highly competitive submissions and selected 8 curricular projects to fund. These projects represent an impressive array of collaborations across colleges and schools aiming to create high-impact learning experiences for students, deepening their engagement and development, and preparing them for substantive impact on the world.


Bonner Leader Program

Patty Mathison, Samuel Frye, Shauna Rigaud, Laura Poms, Julie Owen, Graziella McCarron, Nick Lennon (CHSS, CHHS, UL)

The Bonner Leader program, a four-year developmental model built around community engagement and experiential learning, provides a pathway for community service via federal work study and integrates curricular and co-curricular learning. The Bonner Leader Program affords college students an opportunity to use their energy, talents, and leadership skills to engage in community service while providing developmental and financial support.The program builds an infrastructure to engage with students every week, provides a developmental, multi-year program model, shifting how institutions sustain community partnerships. We are seeking an Impact Grant to support the creation of the Bonner Leader program here at Mason. The program connects co-curricular and curricular pathways to create a high impact educational experience for undergraduate students in line with the Mason Impact, Patriot Experience and University Mission.

Building Linguistic and Cultural Competence and Critical Consciousness: Exploring Pathways to Civic Engagement and Social Justice

Ellen Serafini, Caroline Sutter, Esperanza Roman-Mendoza, Carrie Bonilla, Molly Davis (CHSS, CHHS)

This partnership between the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) and the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) will explore pathways to create a multidisciplinary minor for undergraduate students in Spanish, Nursing, and Social Work. This cross-college initiative would target students who need to further develop their linguistic and cultural competence and expose them to transformative immersion experiences in the classroom and in a community-based learning setting in order to increase their ability to effectively engage with vulnerable minority language populations both locally and globally.

Conservation and Environmental Science Communication: Development of a Transdisciplinary Curriculum

Karen Akerlof, Jim Olds, Christopher Clarke, Katherine Rowan ( COS, CHSS, SCHAR)

Through a partnership between the College of Science’s Dept. of Environmental Science & Policy, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Dept. of Communication, and Schar School of Policy and Government, we propose to elevate the stature of the university as an educational leader in conservation and environmental science communication (CESC) by hosting an advisory board of internal and external stakeholders, including federal agencies, to create recommendations for the design of graduate transdisciplinary curricula. Concurrently, we will create and implement a new cross-departmental graduate experiential course module as the first test of these ideas in application.

Folklore and Festivals

Lisa Gilman, Karalee Dawn MacKay, Carole Rosenstein (CHSS, CVPA)

The Folklore Program and Arts Management Program will collaborate to provide a project-based learning opportunity in festival management for George Mason University students. The objective is for students to develop an interdisciplinary scholarly understanding of festival studies while gaining professional experience helping to organize an internationally renowned festival, the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (SCFCH).

Minor in Environmental and Ecological Consulting

Joris van der Ham, Megan Tucker, Robert McGrath (COS, CHSS, SCHAR)

Many students who pursue majors in natural sciences find their first employment after graduation in Environmental and Ecological Consulting (EEC). To be competitive in this field, applicants require a thorough understanding of environmental science, an interdisciplinary background (e.g., communication, policy, management), and professional experience. To better prepare our graduates for this career field and to streamline the transition from the classroom into the workforce, we propose the development of a minor in Environmental and Ecological Consulting.

A consortium of representatives from the EEC industry and Mason faculty develops this minor. The minor supplements relevant majors with courses that are essential for EEC employment and with professional internship experiences through consortium firms.

Nutrition MS Dietetics Track Expansion

Tammy Wagner, Kerri LaCharite, Margaret Slavin, Sina Gallo, Constance Gewa, Lillian DeJonge (CHHS)

The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies is expanding the Nutrition MS degree to include a new Dietetics Track, which will train students to become credentialed Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Since the department’s opening in 2011, we have consistently received requests from students for such a program, and it is a logical next step in building our department’s stature in the field. We have been selected by our accrediting body as one of the first programs in the country to demonstrate the new, Future Education Model. This new model is competency-driven and includes heavy emphasis on experiential learning and supervised practice; it will require significant revision of our curriculum, including revision of six courses, creation of six new courses, and creation of 12 credits of supervised practice and capstone project. We are requesting consideration for a Curriculum Impact Grant to support this transition

Professional Development in Teaching and Communication for STEM Graduate Students

Jill Nelson, Jessica Rosenberg (VSE, COS)

The goal of this curriculum impact project is to create and pilot professional development opportunities in both teaching and communications for STEM graduate students. The proposed professional development will be targeted toward STEM graduate students who have an interest in improving their college-level teaching skills and those with an interest in developing stronger, more comprehensive technical communication skills. Each of the proposed professional development opportunities will be implemented initially as a semester-long series of workshops

Writing@Mason: Articulating, Sharing, and Integrating Threshold Concepts into Mason Core Writing Courses and Mason Impact Courses

Michelle LaFrance, Tom Polk, E Shelley Reid, Courtney Wooten, Susan Lawrence (CHSS)

Our proposal requests funding to support the development of a guide to common concepts in writing education; a workshop series for faculty and TAs; a peer-to-peer collaborative support system for TAs and adjuncts who teach, grade, and support undergraduate writing across the curriculum; and a web-based informational site to collect/share resources in support of ongoing faculty development for writing instruction across the curriculum.

Past Curriculum Impact Grant Recipients

2017-2018 Curriculum Impact Grants

2018-2019 Curriculum Impact Grants

The George Features Impact Grants: 

New web design minor puts it all together

The minor is offered mostly online and brings together courses taught in CHSS, the School of Art in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and the Volgenau School of Engineering. Learn why Robert Matz calls the minor “intellectual cross-training.”

Devandas James practices with Professor Samuel Bonds. Photo by Evan Cantwell/George Mason University

Looking for Summer Impact Grants? Try the Summer Impact Grants page