Mini-Grant Program

Mini-grants were initiated by the Faculty Advisory Committee on Instructional Improvement Programs (CIIP) in recognition that even small sums of money could stimulate experimentation and improve curricula and pedagogy. The Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) provides Mini-Grants to instructors who teach regular undergraduate courses, for the purpose of defraying the cost of certain course enhancements. These funds cannot be used to supplement standard departmental supplies and expense budgets. Faculty and TAs are encouraged to apply for anything that enhances or enriches university instruction. Mini-grants are available in amounts up to $600.00 for faculty, and up to $250.00 for teaching assistants, per academic year.

Examples of Mini-grant Uses

Distinguished Guest Speaker Honoraria

Grants may be used to invite distinguished guest speakers to visit undergraduate classes. For faculty, a maximum of $150 per speaker (with a total of no more than $300 per class, per quarter) will be funded. For TAs, a maximum of $75 per speaker will be funded. Publicity, travel, parking, and per diem expenses cannot be included. Full-time UCLA employees and students are not eligible. Employees from other UC campuses can only be approved if another expert is not available. Visitors on certain visas may be restricted from eligibility. The departmental account officer (AA or MSO) may have information on visa regulations, or call the Payroll Office at 310-267-5774.

Field Trips

Grants may be used to partially assist with transportation costs for field instruction at off-campus sites within California. Air transportation costs are not eligible. Lodging and meals are not included, nor are entry fees to museums, art galleries, or theaters. The application form should include the trip destination and the number of students traveling. In addition, the trip budget should specify the type of vehicle to be used and estimated mileage. Arrangements for Fleet and Transit Services can be made by the home department.

Instructional Media

Grants may be used to rent, purchase, duplicate or produce materials for instruction. Media such as audio tapes, CD-ROMs, films, DVDs, graphics, photos, slides, and videos may be eligible. Check the Instructional Media Collections and Services catalog to see if a title already exists before submitting a request. Staff are also available to help research appropriate course materials. For help with production of multimedia materials, consult with the Center’s Instructional Media Production. Requests to schedule Audio Visual Services should also be made in advance.

Applications for rental or purchase of instructional media materials must be submitted through the Instructional Media Collections and Services to ensure the best price and the inclusion of any service charges. Purchased titles usually remain in the Instructional Media collection. Some restrictions apply for computer-based media. Instructional software may be purchased if it is directly related to a specific course. Mini-grants may not be used for the purchase of developmental or general-purpose software, such as word processing, graphic, photo, statistical, spreadsheet, or database-management software. Hardware and peripherals are not eligible.

Minor Projects

Grants may be used for a variety of small-scale projects that create new curricula, materials, or activities for undergraduate classes. Curricular development or research assistant support may be available for courses. Materials and activities that enhance instruction, including classroom demonstrations or student projects, may also be eligible for funding. Once obtained, instructional materials should remain as departmental property so that other faculty may have access to them.

Departmental TA Training Programs

Grants may be used to develop departmental TA training activities. Specialized workshops or other activities may be funded for departments with existing TA training programs. New departmental training programs may be instituted where none currently exist. Applications may be sponsored by faculty, staff, or teaching assistants. Sponsorship of an application does not detract from an individual’s maximum allowable yearly sum, nor from their right to submit applications for other courses. The CIIP Subcommittee on TA Training reviews these grant applications.

TA Mini-Grants

TA mini-grants may be used for any of the above listed categories. Other requests may also be granted on an individual case basis. TAs may apply for mini-grants in amounts up to $250 per academic year. For distinguished guest speaker honoraria, the limit is $75 per speaker. It may not be possible to fund mini-grants for both TAs and faculty in the same course, therefore efforts should be made to coordinate requests before submission.

Mini-Grant Application Process

Professors, visiting professors, lecturers, administrators teaching courses, and teaching assistants are all eligible for mini-grants. Please be sure that all required information is provided. Include an exact budget for each request, without exceeding the maximum specified limits. Applications should be submitted well in advance of scheduled need for funds. Retroactive applications are not granted. All requests for the current quarter must be turned in a week before the quarter end date. The review process for mini-grant applications is usually completed within seven working days. Upon approval, allow another two weeks for the transfer of funds; certain media requests may take up to three weeks. Questions regarding applications may be answered by calling the mini-grant program office at 310-825-2790.

Guidelines for Mini-Grant Projects

Mini-grant projects typically fall into the categories described below. The categories are illustrative and not exhaustive; therefore, faculty and TAs need not limit themselves to these examples.

  • Distinguished guest speaker honoraria for experts visiting undergraduate classes.
  • Field trips conducted for class instruction at off-campus sites within California.
  • Instructional media, such as rental, purchase, duplication, or production of course-related materials.
  • Minor projects to supplement or innovate course curricula and activities.
  • Departmental TA training program grants to develop new TA training activities and programs, or to add components to those that already exist.

Some restrictions apply to the use of mini-grants. Please see the “Examples of Mini-Grant Uses” for more information. Certain types of projects cannot be funded. The following list describes ineligible requests:

  • Funds may not be used to supplement regular departmental expenses and budgets, thus any expenses intrinsic to the teaching of a course will be disallowed.
  • Classroom equipment, textbooks, and office supplies are not eligible.
  • Readers may not be hired for classroom instruction.
  • Graduate courses are not eligible according to system-wide policy.
  • Conference and travel expenses for faculty and guests will not be approved.
  • Two faculty members may not apply for the same project.

Instructions

Please indicate your intended use of Mini-Grant funds by carefully reading and completing a mini-Grant application. Awarded grant funds will be transferred to your department for disbursement. Please submit your mini-grant request at least three weeks in advance of planned event.

  • Applications must be received at least three weeks in advance of the proposed use of funding to accommodate the approval process.
  • We will not accept applications for reimbursement funding.
  • Retroactive requests will not be approved.

To submit your proposal, please click the online application submission button below.

Who is eligible to apply for a mini-grant?

  • Teaching Assistants
  • Lecturers
  • Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors
  • Visiting Lecturers
  • Visiting Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors
  • Administrators teaching courses

How does one apply for a mini-grant?

Submit the mini-grant application at least three weeks in advance of the scheduled film or field trip, speaker, or minor project. Retroactive requests are not granted.

Where do we submit a mini-grant application?

Applications can be submitted online using the application form.

What are some of the appropriate uses of a mini-grant?

  • Rental, purchase or duplication of films, film strips, audiotapes, videotape programs and DVDs.
  • Honoraria for distinguished guest speakers.
  • Field trips. (Only student transportation expenses are approved.)
  • Audio visual requests.

This is not an exhaustive list however, and the faculty need not limit their requests to these specific uses.

What are some of the inappropriate requests made for a mini-grant?

  • Graduate courses are not eligible and funds will not be approved.
  • No developmental or general purpose software such as operating systems, spreadsheets, database managers, or word processing packages will be considered for purchase, nor will computer hardware and peripherals.
  • Purchase of instructional equipment, textbooks, or office supplies.
  • Travel and lodging expenses for faculty or guest speakers.
  • Distinguished speaker’s parking fee.
  • Food/Beverage.
  • Entry fees to the museums, art galleries, or theaters.
  • Conference expenses.
  • Hiring of readers for classroom instruction.
  • Two or more faculty members may not apply for the same project, speaker, or film.

What can be done to expedite mini-grant approval?

  • Apply well in advance of the scheduled film, speaker, or event, and complete all sections of the form.
  • Do not exceed the maximum for distinguished speakers.
  • Specify an exact budget for all requests.

What are the guidelines for distinguished speaker(s) honoraria?

  • A maximum of $150.00 allowed per speaker, per quarter. A speaker appearing in one class will not be paid an honorarium to speak at another class during the same quarter.
  • No more than $300.00 total honoraria per class per quarter.
    Full-time UCLA employees are not eligible to receive honoraria.
  • Employees from other UC campuses will only be approved if another specialist is not available.
  • The Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) does not issue checks to the speakers. Funds are transferred to the home department.
  • Visa documentation papers are also handled by the departments and by the accounting office. Check with UCLA Payroll at 310-267-5774 to determine eligibility.

Are the requirements the same for teaching assistants and faculty?

No.  Dollar amounts for teaching assistants and faculty differ. Teaching assistants may not request more than $75.00 for a distinguished speaker per quarter. The maximum request for a teaching assistant is $250.00 per academic year.

What are the guidelines to apply for film and video requests?

  • Check Voyager to see if the IMCS owns a title before submitting a grant request for videos. An IMCS staff member at 310-825-0755 is available to assist in checking the titles that are available in the library collection.
  • The film requests are processed for availability and scheduling before they are approved. Faculty and the administrative assistants should call IMCS at 310-825-0755 regarding the status of their film/video requests.
  • All the orders for media must be placed through the IMCS to ensure the best price and the inclusion of service charges.
  • Media and audiovisual requests should be submitted at least three weeks in advance of the show date to avoid unnecessary rush shipment charges.
  • All the requests should indicate a preferred date, and one alternate date, for scheduling. Include the print/video rental or purchase source, if known.
  • The number of students who will view the film must be included on the form.

What are the guidelines to apply for Field Trip Support?

  • The home department must make the arrangements for the field trips through the Fleet and Transit Services.
  • The field trip date, destination and the number of students involved must be included on the form.
  • The budget must specify the type of vehicle, mileage, and the charges. Lodging and meal expenses should not be included in the budget.
  • All field trip requests should be submitted at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled trip.

How are mini-grants sent out?

  • The turnaround time for the letters is generally seven to ten days.
  • Upon approval, the funds are transferred to the department within three weeks. Funds are transferred to an account number given to CAT by the administrative assistant or the management services officer.
  • The home department must process payment upon receipt of the notice of transfer of funds.

Does the Center for the Advancement of Teaching pay the vendors and the distinguished speakers?

The Center does not issue checks to the distinguished speakers or to the vendors. The department does this upon receipt of the Transfer of Funds to their department account.

What information is included when Transfer of Funds are processed?

  • TOFs state the account number, fund, and sub number as given by the department’s administrative assistant or the management services officer to CAT.
  • CAT does not generate account numbers for the department.
  • CAT uses only the account number the departments provide.
  • The departments designate their own subs and the cost centers according to accounting policies and procedures.

What fund numbers does the Center use?

The Center uses only 19904 fund numbers.

No 19900 money is used for mini-grants. According to Accounting guidelines, funds cannot be crossed.

Can the funds be redirected by the department for other projects?

Mini-grant funds cannot be redirected by the department for other projects other than what was approved in the application. Funds were approved for a specific instructor or project. Other uses of the funds, or additional amount needed above the approved amount must be requested in writing to CAT.

What happens if there is a balance after the fiscal closing?

Balances in 19904 are automatically returned to CAT at the end of each fiscal year (June 30th). Liens/encumbrances for minor projects only may be carried on the department’s mini-grant account. CAT will return the funds to cover the liens at the opening of the next fiscal year. If there is an overdraft, all overdrafts must be covered by the department. CAT cannot cover department overdraft.

How does one “carry forward” funds to the next fiscal year in order to cover the expenses of late charges?

If the funds for projects (distinguished speakers, media, etc.) need to be carried forward at fiscal closing due to late invoices, a carry forward form should be filled out by the department administrative assistant or management services officer for the instructor.

Carry forward forms are mailed out by CAT around mid-June and are due approximately a week later. The funds are returned to the department in August after funds are received in CAT accounts at the opening of next fiscal year.

Who tracks the department’s expenses?

The departmental accountants are responsible for reconciling all expenses for the various mini-grants throughout the fiscal year. CAT does not reconcile the mini-grant accounts for the departments.

Transferring approved mini-grant funds

  • Funds are transferred from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) to the requesting department using the FAU provided by the department.
  • Departmental financial staff supply CAT with the appropriate account and cost centers to use. Please refer to internal departmental records for the account number used for mini-grants.
  • Mini-grant funds are approved for use only by a specific instructor for a particular course or project, and may not be redirected. Any other use of the funds, or additional sums needed above the approved amount, must be requested in writing to CAT.

Fund numbers and invoices

  • CAT uses only 19904 fund numbers. No 19900 money is used for mini-grants.
  • CAT does not issue checks to guest speakers or to vendors; the home department is responsible for paying invoices with transferred funds.
  • For more information on visa restrictions for distinguished guest speaker honoraria, contact UCLA’s Payroll office at 310-267-5774.
  • Each departments’ financial staff is responsible for reconciling all expenses for various mini-grants received during the fiscal year.

If there is a balance of funds:

  • Positive balances in mini-grant fund accounts are automatically returned to CAT at the end of each fiscal year by General Accounting.
  • Departments must request in writing to CAT that funds be carried forward at fiscal closing. Also, a CAT carry forward form must be completed by the departments’ financial staff. These forms are mailed out to the department by CAT in late May or early June and must be returned by the date specified in the CAT cover letter. Carry forward funds are returned to the department in August, after they have been received in CAT accounts at the opening of the fiscal year.
  • Liens or encumbrances may be carried on the department’s mini-grant account. UCLA General Accounting will return the funds to cover the liens or encumbrances at the opening of the next fiscal year upon completion of the carry forward form as noted above.
  • Negative balances are not transferred back to CAT at the end of the fiscal year. They must be covered by the department.