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.
NEW: We are piloting during the winter and spring quarters an expansion of the program to include graduate as well as undergraduate courses.
Examples of Mini-grant Uses
Distinguished Guest Speaker Honoraria
Grants may be used to invite distinguished guest speakers to visit 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.
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.
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. Subscription for online software such as polling tools are eligible. 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.
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 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.
- Conference and travel expenses for faculty and guests will not be approved.
- Two faculty members may not apply for the same project.
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.
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.