University of Southern California


Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Sustaining Excellence

LOI: June 4, 2013
Internal Deadline:  May 20, 2013
External Deadline: October 1, 2013
Award Info:
Estimated Number of Awards: up to 35 research universities
Anticipated Funding Amount: up to $2.5 million each over 5 years.
Nomination per school: One
Final Submission per Institution: One
Materials to Office of Research: Candidate’s CV/bio-sketch and a single-page proposal summary 

Purpose: The 2014 competition will encourage research universities to develop effective strategies that lead to significant and sustained improvement in the persistence in science by all students, including those students who belong to groups underrepresented in science. Successful proposals will effectively present the rationale for each of the proposed activities, so that it is clear how the activity will contribute to the objective of student persistence at the institution. We seek bold ideas grounded in evidence-based strategies.
This competition focuses on student persistence in science. In order to articulate its specific goals and to measure its progress toward achieving the goals, it is important that the grantee institution first have a clear understanding of how well its students progress through the science curriculum. Thus, applicants are asked to evaluate their current programs and provide baseline data in the tables that are part of the proposal. Grantees will be expected to develop effective ways to regularly assess their progress and to show how the assessment informs their programs.

Evaluation criteria will include the following:

Proposed Activities
• The potential for the proposed program to make a significant difference at the institution.

• The degree to which the program strategies align with the goal of student persistence.

• The degree to which the proposal builds on documented past activities or new activities described and assessed in the published literature.

• The extent to which faculty members are involved in leadership and implementation of the proposed activities.

• The institution’s demonstrated commitment to the objective and to the proposed activities.

Long-Term Impact
• The quality of the institutional data provided in the proposal and the effectiveness of assessment of past and proposed activities in science education.

• Description of an outcomes-based plan to measure progress toward the goals of the program.

• The evidence that the applicant has a successful strategy for disseminating effective practices or products to the larger scientific and educational communities.

• The prospect of effecting long-term institutional change that persists well after the lifetime of the grant, and the institution’s record of sustaining successful programs.

• The evidence of involvement of a significant cross-section of faculty and administration in developing the proposal and implementing the proposed activities.

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