Faculty Innovation Initiative

The Giving Back Endowment is provided by the College of Education and Human Services to advance the understanding, appreciation, and application of the principles of altruism, generosity, caring, and service to others among Murray State University students and faculty and across the Murray/Calloway County community.

The Faculty Innovation Initiative offers a competitive grant funding pool of “one-time initial project support” for faculty across campus seeking to incorporate innovative approaches to student community engagement into their courses. Applications are open to all Murray State teaching faculty, regardless of rank or tenure.* Grants will be awarded to proposals where the principles of student community engagement and philanthropy are central to the delivery of the core content of the course. These principles are represented by strategies to get students actively involved in the community by contributing “time, treasure, or talent” to address challenges to the quality of life within the area of the discipline of the applying faculty member.

Awards are expected to be made in the amount of $1,000 each (based on Foundation authorization), and the number of grants awarded may vary from year to year. Funds are to be used for program-related expenses only, not to include faculty salaries. Funds distributed beyond Murray State University are restricted to 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, as evidenced by a current IRS determination letter to be provided to the Murray State University Foundation.

Grant recipients will have the entire next academic year to conduct and report on the project. Expenditures in support of the initiative will be paid on behalf of each recipient by the Murray State University Foundation and may include reimbursement of travel-related expenses.

*Of special note, all grant recipients will be eligible to apply for new projects in subsequent years.

Project Ideas:
This opportunity is open to all Murray State teaching faculty.  Not sure how you could incorporate philanthropy and student-community engagement into your class?  Maybe these examples will spark an idea!

  • Accounting and Finance: students offering free tax preparation assistance to low-income clients; presenting community workshops on personal accounting and money management; helping a nonprofit organization set up a budget and assisting with developing a financial planning strategy
  • Art: students creating a neighborhood mural with area residents
  • Biology: students performing an environmental study for a local government or community organization; conducting a conservation project in a recreation area or forest reserve; organizing a neighborhood beautification project; organizing a community garden
  • Computer Science: students helping a nonprofit organization or human services agency create and maintain a database; conducting a computer needs assessment for a nonprofit organization; creating electronic forms to collect intake information at social services agencies
  • Education: students providing after-school tutoring to at-risk students
  • Engineering: students collaborating with elementary school students to design and construct environmentally-sensitive playgrounds
  • English/Composition: students preparing newsletters for local nonprofits and public schools
  • Journalism/Mass Communication: students preparing public relations materials for nonprofit organizations
  • Marketing/Graphic Design: students designing brochures, annual reports, logos, and other marketing materials for a nonprofit organization
  • Music/Theatre/Dance: students staging performances in schools and nursing homes; providing music and theatre activities for after-school programs

Other relevant examples of service-learning projects can be found here.