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Hays Watkins Teaching Grants

Western Kentucky University values quality teaching and instruction.  However, developing and implementing new, innovative teaching practices too often is an autonomous endeavor driven by intrinsic reward and/or the desire to try something new that may benefit student learning and success in one’s courses.  Over the last decade, the university has created multiple programs to incentivize and support research and scholarly activities, including the Research and Creative Activity Program (RCAP) for faculty and the Faculty-Undergraduate Student Engagement (FUSE) grants. Likewise, GFCB has created and implemented an Aim-High Program that is designed to support and incentivize research of higher quality. The Hays Watkins Teaching Grants within the Gordon Ford College of Business is designed to do for teaching what Aim High is very effectively doing for research. The Hays Watkins program will provide support for faculty who wish to engage in a purposeful and intentional redesign of a course that will employ evidence based pedagogical practices that have been shown, through empirical research, to promote student learning and success.  Proposals must reference the research supporting the applicant’s specific course redesign.  Examples of redesign ideas include:

  • Implementing a flipped classroom model (e.g. students watch lectures for homework and work on activities in class)
  • Implementing a hybrid learning model (e.g. a mix of online and face-to-face class meetings)
  • Incorporating project-based learning (PBL) (e.g. group-projects that reflect emergent and relevant problems/issues within a specific context)
  • Incorporating adaptive learning (e.g. the development of learning modules that adapt to student performance and competencies within a lesson/course)
  • Teaching in an active-learning environment (e.g. regular activities, small group work, small projects, use of micro-lectures); the opportunity to teach in an active learning classroom (students are seated in groups, and the instructor employs active learning strategies within each class session; this might include the use case studies and/or problem solving exercises)
  • Incorporating a service learning component into an existing course (e.g. students are afforded the opportunity to engage in integrative learning, linking information within a course to experiences in a field placement)
  • Identifying and adopting open educational resources (OERs) (e.g. openly accessible course content that is free of charge to students; replaces the need for a textbook)
  • Integrating metacognitive activities throughout each class session of a course (e.g. consistent writing and reflection of learning for students)


Faculty that are currently using any of the practices outlined above are not excluded from applying for a Hays Watkins Teaching Grant. However, the grant proposal should clearly outline how the initiatives outlined will lead to even better learning outcomes and enhance GFCB’s teaching reputation.

Each year, up to two faculty members will be awarded $6,500 each to support this effort.  The application deadline for Hays Watkins Grants will be the same as those for Aim-High Grants. The Gordon Ford Administrative Council will pick the awardees, if any, each year. All GFCB faculty, including pedagogical appointees, are eligible to apply for these grants. The awardees will be announced before the end of fall semester and expected to implement the proposed changes in their classes in the following calendar year. Finally, the awardees will be expected to share the results of their redesign with other college faculty in a forum to be scheduled in the spring semester following the award year. Faculty are eligible to receive a grant every other year.  The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) at WKU will provide instructional design support for the selected applicant/project.  This support might include the development of course content, the identification and appropriate implementation of new instructional technologies, and the development and implementation of innovative pedagogical practices.

The deadline for applicants is 4:30 pm on November 1.  If that date falls on a weekend, the subsequent Monday will be the deadline.


The Gordon Ford College of Business is a top business school with dual AACSB accreditation in both business and accounting programs


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 Last Modified 2/13/19