The University Record, September 11, 1995

Whitaker Fund focuses on improving teaching

Establishment of the Gilbert R. Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching has been announced by J. Bernard Machen, interim provost and executive vice president.

The fund is an outgrowth of a series of meetings on teaching issues over the past year between former Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker Jr. and a group of faculty.

Applications by faculty and department chairs for initial grants of $5,000 are due Oct. 9, with up to 10 to be awarded for 1995–96. The first phase of funded projects must be completed by April 30, 1996.

In a memo announcing the funding opportunity, Machen gave several examples of projects that might qualify for support, such as:

  • A plan for the peer evaluation of teaching.

  • A faculty retreat to discuss teaching issues or think together about the changing directions of a field or the implications of these changes for the curriculum.

  • Departmental assessment of the curriculum from the standpoint of diversity or establishment of a teaching assistant training program.

    Included in the budget proposal, in addition to funds for supplies, travel or student employment, might be an honorarium for a faculty member from another department or another facilitator to help with the project.

    Machen says “the most successful of these ventures will be eligible for much larger grants to carry on the work in 1996–97.”

    Up to three departments or interdisciplinary groups will be awarded $25,000 grants to continue the project, based on reports submitted to the Provost’s Office in summer 1996.

    Machen notes that so far funds have been allocated only for a single cycle of awards.

    Eligible to apply are Ann Arbor campus department and program chairs and all professors, associate and assistant professors and lecturers with three-year appointments on a continuing basis.

    For additional information, contact Susan S. Lipschutz, associate provost, 764-0151, or via e-mail to

    Applications are to be submitted to the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching by the appropriate dean.