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Curricular Innovation Support

May seminar-1

Wisdom's workshop

For nearly 40 years, the Charles Center has facilitated bold curricular experimentation through grants to support intellectual cross-pollination among faculty across disciplines.

Our May Seminars program allows faculty to collaborate within and across programs and departments to brainstorm, create, and implement new approaches to teaching and learning.

May Seminars help to maintain Arts & Sciences as an ever-evolving "school of educational experiment."

May Seminars: Principles & guidelines

May Seminars

May Seminars are intended to support innovative curricular experimentation and the development of collaborative teaching initiatives that bridge disciplinary boundaries. 

Designed by faculty, for faculty, May Seminars convene fellow scholars in informal workshop settings to brainstorm and/or pilot new approaches to teaching and learning.

It has been the convention for these seminars to meet immediately after commencement, which is how the program acquired the name "May Seminars."  In fact, the meetings take place at a variety of times over the summer, depending on the schedules of participants.

Outcomes of previous May Seminars include, for example, proposals for new interdisciplinary academic programs, new or redesigned course descriptions, curriculum evaluations or assessments, teaching material development, and studies of potential uses of innovative instructional technologies.

Principles & Guidelines

The intrinsic merit of the proposal is the primary consideration.

Proposals are considered by the Charles Center and A&S Dean's Office leadership, which applies the following principles:

  1. All members of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences as defined by the by-laws of the Faculty who are not emeriti, who are actively teaching, and who hold a contract for full or part-time employment from the College with a commitment for renewal beyond the summer for which a grant is sought are eligible to apply.
  2. Eligible applicants may submit one proposal per year.
  3. An applicant who has received a May Seminar is expected to have shown a tangible result when applying for subsequent seminars.
  4. An applicant for a May Seminar who has not received a seminar in any of the previous three years will, other things being equal, be given priority.
  5. A May Seminar grant recipient who has secured outside support for a project, but in an amount less than he or she would normally receive from the May Seminar, will be granted the difference.

Conditions of May Seminar Grants

Conditions of May Seminar Grants
  1. All grants are made in the expectation that the recipient will remain in the service of the College. A recipient who resigns from, or is not retained by, the College before the completion of the grant period will be required to relinquish the grant or the unexpended portion thereof.
  2. May Seminar grants are awarded in the expectation that the recipient will devote full energies to the project for which the grant is made. Because employment or diversionary activity during the period of the grant is inconsistent with its terms, any activity other than that for which the grant has been awarded will be subject to normal College procedures for outside and overload employment.
  3. Every recipient of a grant is expected to submit a written report of what has been accomplished during the grant period as specified in the award.
  4. Late applications can be considered only for compelling reasons.
  5. It is our expectation that each new, or newly revised, course developed with May Seminar funds will be offered at least once in the academic year following the grant period. Each proposal must include a brief statement indicating the steps the department will take to accommodate the new course into its curriculum.

Apply now

Apply for a May Seminar Grant

We are now accepting applications for May Seminar grants for the '23-'24 academic year.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis during the academic year and will not be reviewed during the summer months.  Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are spent.