The College of William and Mary is going to get a bit more creative next year.
In late November, Provost Michael R. Halleran sent out a memo to College faculty announcing the creation of the Creative Adaptation Fund.
“The College will make available $200,000 for [fiscal year 2012-13]…to engage and unleash the creative energy in the academic areas to develop creative adaptations that improve the quality of our educational programs either directly or indirectly, by reducing costs or generating new revenues and thereby providing funds that can be reinvested in people and programs,” Halleran said.
The College expects similar investments to be made over the course of the next two years.
The fund aims to respond to economic challenges with creative solutions to avoid undercutting the College’s academic rigor. Although the College will likely make a slight reduction in instructional faculty to save money in the short-term, its broader goal is to support innovative ways to generate revenue, Halleran said.
“We all recognize that the economy and higher education are going through a period of unusual change and that our success depends on a common effort towards a common goal — strengthening the essence of the College and preparing our students through the best education possible to thrive in the twenty-first century,” Halleran said.
The Creative Adaptation Fund is open to schools, departments or individual faculty involved in instruction and research. Although members of the administration may be involved in these projects, they cannot be the leading effort behind them.
Although the College is setting aside $200,000 in total for the fund, the budget of any individual project cannot exceed $50,000 and most awards will probably be for lesser amounts, Halleran said.
Halleran said that he expects the fund to attract a wide variety of efforts.
“The parameters are broad: projects that improve the quality of the education we provide, either directly or indirectly,” he said. “One idea that has been mentioned to me informally is a more effective way to teach an introductory social science class. But the only real limits to the projects are imagination and energy.”
Savings gathered through fund initiatives will be reinvested in academic programs and increased faculty compensation.
Instead of being funneled back up to the administration, most of the revenue generated by these initiatives will go back to the school which created it.
Proposals are required to include a clear statement of the project’s methodology and its expected impact in terms of educational quality or cost savings.
Applications for the Creative Adaptation Fund are due Jan. 16, 2012. A committee will review proposals for various fund awards by mid-February.