Teaching and Learning Grants

    *** The Teaching & Learning Grants Program is currently on hold. Please check back in the spring of 2014 for updates.***

    Submissions for large grants (i.e., up to $10,000) are due February 1st and submissions for small grants (i.e., up to $1,000) are due February 1st, July 1st or November 1st.




The purpose of the teaching and learning grants is to fund projects that improve the quality of students’ learning.  The grant process is designed to encourage scholarly investigation, development and implementation of a project that enhances students’ educational experience.

Applicant Eligibility

Anyone in an educational role at McMaster University can apply for grants (e.g., faculty, instructional assistants).

McMaster University graduate students are welcome to apply as collaborators on grant applications; however, the Project Supervisor must be a university faculty or staff member.


Project Eligibility

Grants will not be awarded to projects that involve normal instructional tasks that would be expected to fall within teaching responsibilities of a course, department or Faculty (e.g., updating course content, preparing reading lists, , developing and assessing course inteded learning outcomes, etc.).

Some past projects have focused on empirical classroom research, such as introducing a new teaching technique and measuring the statistical changes in student learning through midterm and exam scores.  Other projects, for example, have involved the creation of new student resources (such as a website, handbook, etc.) with the goal of improving the quality of students’ education.




Applications will be adjudicated by a multi-disciplinary peer-review committee which is facilitated by staff from the Centre for Leadership in Learning. The committee will normally consist of two past Teaching & Learning Grant award winners, two McMaster faculty members, an instructional staff member, and two CLL members. The CLL members sit on the committee in a facilitative capacity only and do not participate in the adjudication process. Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of the committee, please avoid using specialized disciplinary language (i.e., jargon).

The peer review committee will use a standardized evaluation form to rank the applications. The evaluation will be based directly on the guidelines outlined in the 'Application Format' section above. All elements of the 'Application Format' section should be included, preferably using the sub-headings we have suggested. Applications that are missing one or more of these elements may not be considered for funding.


Submission Requirements

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete and that all conditions are met (e.g., requisite comments and signatures are included).   Normally, applications will consist of the appropriate application form  (for a small or large grant), the written application, and any literature references and necessary appendices.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

All communications regarding Teaching & Learning Grants can be hand delivered or directed to cll@mcmaster.ca. Applications are due by 4:00 pm on the deadline date.  If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline will be extended to 4:00 pm on the next business day.

In order for the Centre for Leadership in Learning to ensure a reasonable response time for Teaching & Learning Grant applicants, late submissions will not be accepted under any circumstances. Only fully complete application forms will be forwarded to the peer review committee. Statements of support from the appropriate individuals must be included on the application form to be considered complete.

Grant applications may be submitted either in hard-copy to the Centre for Leadership in Learning (Mills Library room 504) or in digital form, as a single pdf, emailed to cll@mcmaster.ca with the subject ‘Teaching & Learning Grant Application - SURNAME’, where SURNAME is the last name of the Project Supervisor.  Click here for instructions on electronic submissions.


Application Format

Applicants for Teaching & Learning Grants should prepare a written application (single spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins) to be submitted with the appropriate application form (for a small or large grant).  The maximum length for small grant applications is five pages and the maximum length for large grants is seven pages not including literative references and appendices.   Applicants for large grants may choose to use the increased page length to report more thoroughly on the existing literature, or to elaborate on the methodology and evaluation.

In order for the reviewers to appropriately adjudicate the applications, please include the following elements. 

Briefly, what do you plan to do, and why do you plan to do it?

    • Include a clearly stated research question or teaching and learning challenge that you will be addressing in your project
    • Succinctly introduce how you plan to contribute to improved student learning
    • Communicate the importance and need for the project,

Rationale and Project Goals
What are the reasons you chose this project, and what do you hope to accomplish?

    • Provide a rationale for the work that you intend to complete.  Describe any teaching or learning problems that have led you to this project (could be inferences or observations made while teaching)
    • Outline the objectives/outcomes as they relate to the research question or teaching and learning challenge
    • Describe the proposed teaching and learning activities

Literature Review and Alternatives Considered
What is already known in your discipline about your project?  Or in other fields?  What other approaches did you consider?

    • Demonstrate that you have consulted scholarly literature to determine if a similar learning problem exists at other institutions or in other contexts. 
    • Explore other approaches that could solve the learning problem
    • Develop an argument to support your particular solution

Methods and Timeline
When and how do you plan to accomplish your project objectives?

    • Outline the processes for the project, including methods of collecting data or evaluating the efficacy of your proposed solution
    • Provide a timeline for the completion of each stage of the project
    • Ensure that the project deals with the problem in a realistic way, so that it stands a reasonable chance of being completed and evaluated.

How do you anticipate your funding will be spent?

    • Present the budget required to support the project and provide justification (refer to the CLL’s posted budget guidelines for personnel and other fundable expenses)
    • If applicable, estimate the continuing operating and capital costs of the project.  Describe how the costs will be covered.

How will student learning be impacted?  How will this initiative be sustained?

    • Indicate how many students, faculty and/or teaching assistants will be impacted by this project.
    • Indicate the potential application of the project to other courses, departments and Faculties.
    • Discuss how this project will be extended beyond the one-year funding.

Evaluation and Dissemination
How will you evaluate whether student learning has improved? How will others find out about your results?

    • State how the results will be analyzed, and how outcomes will be assessed
    • Demonstrate a plan of how others will find out about your project and its results (consider the departmental, institutional, and national/international levels)

Ethical Considerations

Any Teaching & Learning Grant application that includes research involving human subjects must be approved by the appropriate ethics board (McMaster Research Ethics Board or Hamilton Health Sciences/McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Research Ethics Board).  Ethics Board approval is normally sought once the project has been successfully funded.



Each project application must be accompanied by a itemized budget.  Ensure you provide sufficient justification of your budget items so that the reviewers can understand the need.  The grant is intended to provide seed money and is not to support ongoing expenses. 

When using project funds to hire personnel, McMaster University will be the employer; therefore Project Supervisors must pay appropriate wages and benefits at established rates.  Please see the suggested pay guidelines. When hiring students as research assistants, consider securing supplementary funding through , for example, the McMaster Work Programs (Ontario Work Study Program, McWork, or International Student Work).

As part of the dissemination process, we encourage grant winners to consider presenting their findings at local, national, or international conferences or symposia.  Conference registration fees may be included in the budget, to a maximum of 15% of the overall budget.  Travel, accommodation and food expenses for conferences are not eligible expenses for teaching and learning grants.

Incentives (financial or rewards, such as gift cards) are often used to encourage participation in a study.  The Centre for Leadership in Learning will normally support financial rewards up to $5 per participant, to a maximum of 15% of the budget.  Draws for larger prizes (such as iPods, cash, gift cards) are acceptable as long as the value of the prize does not exceed $5 per participant on average or 15% of the total budget.  Each application will be assessed on an individual basis.

Budget guidelines can be found here. In-kind support from departments or Faculties for budget items such as photocopies, administrative support, technical support, etc. is strongly encouraged and appreciated.

In most cases, applications where the majority of the budget is allocated to equipment purchase will not be funded.  Some modest equipment purchases may be included in the budget, provided they are necessary for the project.  The CLL owns some equipment that may be borrowed to reduce expenses (e.g., voice recorders, video cameras).

Other ineligible expenses include:

  • reimbursement to faculty members;
  • journal subscriptions;
  • professional memberships;
  • off-campus commercial services*;
  • purchase of alcohol for focus groups or similar meetings; and,
  • monies to support normal instructional tasks, such as updating course content or preparing bibliographies. For clarification, please contact cll@mcmaster.ca.

*  On campus services should be used if available.  These include, but are not limited to, CLL - Digital Media Services, MacLive for web conferencing, MacMicro, Titles Bookstore, McMaster Printing Services, Paradise Catering, and Preferred Catering.


Reports and Dissemination

Successful grant applicants are expected to complete a brief interim summary for the project in addition to a short report upon completion of their project (details of the summary and report will be distributed to successful applicants).

We encourage you to publically disseminate your work.  A potential opportunity to disseminate your work across the university is the annual Research in Teaching & Learning conference (held in December) and/or the annual Learning Technologies Symposium (held in April).

[TOP] Project Time Period

Normally, teaching and learning grants are funded and completed in a twelve month period.  If your grant will not be completed in that time frame you must provide an explanation in your application.  If your project plan changes after funds are made available and you will not complete your activities within the twelve month period you must seek an extension from the Centre.

If Digital Media Services (click here for Digital Video Services) are a part of your application, please contact cll@mcmaster.ca in advance of your application submission to ensure your resource expectations and timelines can be accommodated should your grant application be successful.



Useful Resources

For general assistance in the preparation of your application consider consulting with the Educational Consultant.  Contact cll@mcmaster.ca or ext 24540 to book an appointment.

Applicants may find the Research on Teaching & Learning Guidebook published by the Centre for Leadership in Learning helpful in preparing their applications.  A copy of the guidebook is available online at http://cll.mcmaster.ca/publications.html. Alternatively, this guidebook is available for purchase from the CLL at a cost of $10.  Contact cll@mcmaster.ca or ext 24540 for more information.

The CLL offers high quality digital media services (flash animation, website creation, online demonstrations, online tutorials, etc.) for the purpose of improving instruction at McMaster University.  It is expected you will use these services for projects involving the creation of digital media products (click here for Digital Video Services).  Please contact cll@mcmaster.ca prior to the submission of your Teaching & Learning Grant application if you plan to employ the digital media services.

A list of 2012-2013 funded projects follows:

[TOP] Application Forms

The July 2013 CLL small grant is not being offered this year