Faculty Can Apply for Bass Connections Course Development Funds

Course development grants

Deadline: March 2, 2018

Deadline and Submission

Proposals should be submitted to Laura Howes (laura.howes@duke.edu), Director of Bass Connections, by Friday, March 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.


Bass Connections brings together faculty and students—from all levels and schools—in interdisciplinary research teams. Faculty, graduate/professional students, undergraduates and postdocs apply their skills and perspectives to generate creative solutions to complex problems in five theme areas. In addition to more than 45 project teams each year, Bass Connections offers curricular pathways to complement a student’s major or program of study.

Each year, Bass Connections awards course development funds up to $5,000 to support the development or modification of courses that model key elements of Bass Connections.


All regular-rank faculty, including in professional schools and institutes/initiatives, may propose courses, and may also involve faculty of any other rank in the course (including non-regular rank or visiting faculty). Proposers do not need to have previously participated in Bass Connections.

Course Criteria

Proposed courses must include teamwork as an integral element of the course AND at least two of the following elements:

  • Vertical integration (e.g., a 500 to 700 level course or a course involving sustained mentoring between graduate and undergraduate students, or possibly between undergraduates of different classes)
  • Problem-centered learning around issues of societal importance
  • Interdisciplinarity (e.g., a course taught by multiple faculty members representing different disciplinary perspectives, or a course that integrates multiple guest lecturers from various disciplines)
  • External engagement (e.g., service learning, client projects).

Courses should be proposed at a topic level that is broader than one specific project team. View previous awardees and course descriptions from 2016 and 2017.

Priority consideration will be given to the following types of courses:

  • Gateway courses (e.g., first-year seminars, FOCUS clusters, other courses designed as a gateway into a field of study)
  • Interdisciplinary graduate seminars
  • Courses that support the broader curricular redesign goals of a given school or department (e.g., redesigning a course that is a gateway into the major or a core requirement for an undergraduate or graduate program).

For existing courses that are being modified, the organizing faculty will be expected to commit to offering the course on a regular basis at least three times in the subsequent five-year period (if successful). New courses may be more experimental in nature (e.g., special topics).

Proposal Criteria

Course proposals should be submitted to Laura Howes (laura.howes@duke.edu), Director of Bass Connections, by Friday, March 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. and should include:

  • A brief narrative that articulates the goals of the course, how it fits with the Bass Connections model (e.g., team-based learning, interdisciplinarity, vertical integration, community engagement), the faculty’s unique position and qualifications for leading it, a plan for sustaining the course as an offering (no more than 3 pages)
  • A draft syllabus or outline of the course
  • 2-page CVs for each faculty leader
  • A budget plan (up to $5,000 to be used in the 2018-19 academic year)
  • A letter or e-mail from the faculty’s chair (for faculty in A&S, Medicine or Pratt), dean (for faculty in Sanford, Law, Fuqua, Divinity, Nicholas or Nursing), or director (for university institutes or initiatives) in support of the course proposal, including the promise of the faculty’s availability to teach the course if funded.

Review and Selection

Proposals will be reviewed by the Bass Connections faculty advisory council and the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. Decisions will be announced by early April 2018 and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the initial offering of the course. Awardees will be expected to provide updates on their progress during the year, which may include meeting with the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies or other Bass Connections leadership.

Access a PDF version of the RFP.