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University Courses Overview, Eligibility and Process


Program Overview

University Courses seek to advance innovation, trans-institutional learning, multicultural learning and big questions by:

  • Approaching a subject matter with a novel methodology, addressing research through a multidisciplinary lens
  • Taking an interdisciplinary approach to create or leverage collaborations across fields as it relates to both teaching and discovery
  • Educating the whole student and promoting lifelong learning
  • Embracing diverse perspectives
  • Address enduring historical questions, cross-cutting societal themes, and today’s most captivating challenges

A special designation of Multicultural University Course will be applied to courses that specifically address multiculturalism, racial/ethnic issues, identity literacy and/or cultural competency within an interdisciplinary setting.

Eligibility and Guidelines

  1. Full-time VU and VUMC-employed faculty for courses teaching Vanderbilt students in schools and colleges reporting to the Provost.
  2. Proposed courses must generate sufficient enrollment to be funded, and courses will be funded through this initiative for up to three semesters over five years.
    • Continued funding will be dependent on submission of progress reports.
  3. All faculty involved in the proposal must be full-time, should demonstrate a past commitment to advancing collaborative endeavors, and must be committed to advancing discovery and learning in the classroom.
  4. Co-taught courses should involve faculty from at least two Vanderbilt schools/colleges. Exceptions can be made if an intra-college proposal demonstrates a truly interdisciplinary approach. 
  5. Proposals may include up to three co-instructors.
  6. Proposals should be for new courses not previously offered (as reasonably documented), or must demonstrate how the curriculum will be substantively enhanced through substantial reworking of an existing course.
  7. Proposals for courses that advance areas related to race, diversity and inclusivity are invited.
  8. During a given review cycle, a given faculty member’s participation is limited to one proposal. If a faculty member is awarded a University Course, that person is ineligible to apply for two years following the completion of their initial award.
  9. It is the responsibility of the involved faculty to understand the procedures, meet all deadlines, and file all necessary paperwork to ensure the course meets the standards associated with the respective colleges.
  10. For complete funding guidelines, click here.

Application Process

The application should consist of a narrative (up to 1,000 words) that justifies the cross-college teaching approach and addresses the objectives described above. The narrative should be readable and understandable by colleagues from a wide range of fields. All proposals must be submitted online using InfoReady Review, Vanderbilt’s online submissions portal. 

Proposals can be undergraduate, graduate or professional and at least 3 credits.

Proposals should include

  1. Course title (up to 9 words).
  2. Course audience (undergraduate, graduate or professional).
  3. Course summary (up to 150 words).
  4. Course proposal (up to 1,000 words). A general course description including format, pedagogy (i.e. proposed assignments, guest speakers, potential readings, assessment measures etc.), number of credits and expected enrollment. A paragraph on whether and/or how this course may or may not impact the overall offerings of the units involved. The anticipated outcomes for students and the university. A paragraph explicitly referencing how this course will advance diversity, broadly defined. And if submitting a proposal for Multicultural University Course, please describe how that course advances these important goals.
  5. Classroom requirements, if you have any special needs for your classroom (up to 150 words).
  6. Course expenses. List or describe categories of anticipated spending (up to 200 words).
  7. Proposals must include a course syllabus as an attachment.
  8. letter of endorsement from the dean(s) who have faculty involved in the course. The letter serves as an opportunity for the dean(s) to endorse the teaching assignment of their faculty member(s) and to describe how the course advances the strategic mission of the college(s).

The proposal budget should include list of estimated expenses (up to $5,000) to support course materials or the expenses of outside speakers each time the course is taught during the funding period (up to three semesters over five years).

Renewal Applications for Existing University Courses

  • Faculty must submit a report following the completion of each course to secure additional funding.
  • This report must include teaching evaluations and outcomes. After the third offering, the cost of successful University Courses will be covered by the respective deans

Selection Process

The University Courses committee will evaluate applications and make recommendations to the Provost and Chancellor. A separate committee will review the Multicultural University Courses.