Faculty

Grants & MicroGrants

Supporting Chicago-focused Classes, Quarters, & Experiences

With the generous support of the College's Curriculum Innovation Fund (CCIF), Chicago Studies is able to offer a number of grants and microgrants to faculty and course instructors.  These are intended to support undergraduate experiential learning in and about Chicago; course, sequence, and immersive quarter development; and mentored undergraduate research that in some way focuses on the city of Chicago.  During the 2021-2022 academic year, Chicago Studies will be able to offer experiential learning microgrants of up to $750/course for all course-based activities that engage the city, and up to $2,500 for activities in CHST cross-listed classes, by application. 

At this time, we are unsure whether we will be able to fund Chicago-focused undergraduate research assistantships or course development grants during 2021-2022.  We will revise this page and make those application forms available as soon as we have more information about other CCIF allocations.  Questions regarding AY2021-2022 funding should be directed to Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning in the College.

    Through the Chicago Course Connections microgrant program, Chicago Studies provides small amounts of funding to instructors who wish to enrich any undergraduate class with Chicago-based experiential learning opportunities, including virtual and hybrid experiences. Instructors may also receive pedagogical and logistical support to assist with the integration and execution of funded experiences.

    Instructors may apply for up to $750 per class, per quarter to support such experiences; the application requires an estimated budget, and unrestricted funds will not be issued. Funding can be used to support field trips (including transportation and admission/ticket costs), honoraria for guest speakers, reimbursements to students for individual explorations in the city, or costs associated with experiential learning projects that engage Chicago's communities, institutions, or data. Funding for meals is subject to additional limits, unless the dining experience clearly contributes to the academic outcomes of the class.  All funding is also contingent on current public health guidelines; for Fall 2022, all in-person activities require additional approval from the College Dean's Office per University guidelines.

    Applications are considered on a rolling basis; funding decisions are generally made within one week.  Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis and renewed each quarter.

    Apply here for Chicago Course Connections microgrants

    Chicago Studies Experiential Learning Grants are only available to those classes that are CHST cross-listed during the quarter for which funding is sought.  All other classes are eligible for Chicago Course Connections microgrants (see previous section).  To apply for CHST cross-list, visit our CHST Classes page.

    Chicago Studies Experiential Learning MicroGrants support experiential learning (including virtual and hybrid experiences) in classes that are cross-listed as Chicago Studies (CHST) classes. (See the description of "Chicago-focused classes" elsewhere on this site.) Instructors in these classes may request up to $2,500/class to support field trips, honoraria, individual student explorations, fieldwork or community-based learning, undergraduate research, publication/presentation, or other forms of experiential learning that directly engage students in the life of the city and its diverse communities. Classes that include one or more units exploring Chicago themes may be subject to additional funding limits, based on their projected degree of Chicago engagement during the Quarter, but are always eligible for at least $1500. The application requires an estimated budget, and unrestricted funds will not be issued. Funding for meals is subject to additional limits, unless the dining experience clearly contributes to the academic outcomes of the class.  All funding is also contingent on current public health guidelines; for Fall 2021, all in-person activities require additional approval from the College Dean's Office per University guidelines.

    Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis (renewed every quarter).  Although funding decisions are generally made within one week, instructors of Chicago-focused classes that plan to base their learning strategy around Chicago experiences are encouraged to consult with Chicago Studies while designing their course to secure funding in advance.

    Apply here for Chicago Studies Experiential Learning Grants (for CHST cross-listed classes)

    The Chicago Studies Quarter, developed by the Chicago Studies Faculty Directors in collaboration with a range of academic and civic partners across the campus and the city, offers a cohesive set of courses that join classroom instruction with experiential learning opportunities to engage students in the diverse communities that make up the city. The program, run each Spring, is open to 20 undergraduates chosen through a competitive application process. Selected students engage in three interrelated courses and co-curricular programming that familiarize them with aspects of Chicago that distinguish it as an exemplary world city.

    Structured as an interdisciplinary learning community for its student participants, the Quarter offers instructors opportunities for team teaching, collaborative assignments, and interdisciplinary dialogue. Faculty may propose individual courses for inclusion in a quarter, or may offer more fully-developed teams of up to three instructors (including, where appropriate, a Chicago Studies Teaching Scholar) whose courses cohere around a common theme. If accepted, instructors receive access to a number of additional resources for experiential learning such as excursions, guest speakers, and engagement with stakeholder groups and leaders to enrich class readings and assignments.  All Quarter-included classes are automatically eligible for up to $2,500 in experiential learning support as CHST cross-listed classes; this funding may be "pooled" by the participating instructors to use to support larger projects/programs.

    Historically, Quarter themes have included both traditional "urban" topics (immigration, housing) and urban sustainability.  Chicago Studies is always interested in expanding this program, and open to new themes in both domains.

    The Chicago Studies Faculty Directors and Advisory Board assist instructors in the development and integration of proposed Quarters and courses. Quarter development usually begins approximately 18 months before a Quarter is offered. Student recruitment and application processes are managed by Chicago Studies, in collaboration with faculty.

    Instructors interested in participating in a future Chicago Studies Quarter should email Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning.

    Although intended as an interdisciplinary experience, Chicago Studies is open to coherent Quarter proposals sponsored by individual departments/programs, so long as the Quarter's topic(s) potentially appeal to a wide range of students and the specific courses included in the Quarter represent a range of methodological approaches.

    For example, the 2019 CSQ, "The Right to the Second City" -- sponsored by the Russian & Eastern European Studies department -- explored historic and contemporary immigration in Chicago, beginning with the experiences of Eastern European immigrants in the 19th and 20th Centuries and considering contemporary resonances.  Courses were variously cross-listed with REES, ENST, PBPL, and HIST, and the methodological approaches included both social scientific and humanistic considerations.

    Departments interested in sponsoring a future Chicago Studies Quarter should email Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning.

    Experiential learning grant/microgrant monies may be used to pay honoraria and other costs associated with virtual, in-class, or public presentations by Chicago-based guests.  Honoraria paid by Chicago Studies vary according to the demands made on the guest(s) as well as their personal prominence, but generally range from $100-$300 for a 90-minute class session and $500-$1,000 for repeated/ongoing involvement in a class (e.g. as a mentor to a class project).  Travel funds for out-of-town speakers may also be approved in some cases, although total amounts requested may not exceed grant limits.  Honoraria and travel fund amounts must be pre-approved by Chicago Studies.

    In order to receive payment from Chicago Studies through Shared Services, all guests must be formally invited via email, CC'ing Chris Skrable (cskrable@uchicago.edu).  Downloadable "boilerplate" email text for a range of situations is available below.  IMPORTANT:  The University can ONLY pay the person/entity whom you have invited.  If you are inviting an individual to participate in your class (including an individual doing business as a sole proprietor using their own name), you should indicate that you are inviting that individual, by name.  If you are inviting a business or organization to provide services (including limited liability corporations that are owned/operated by individuals doing business as that entity), you must clearly indicate that you are inviting that entity to provide the requested services. See example emails below.

    Once invited, those guests/organizations who are not already University-approved vendors must submit the appropriate form of tax documentation and upload it via this secure Box folder.  The sample emails below clearly indicate the required forms of tax identification for each situation described.  Chicago Studies and/or Shared Services are happy to assist your guests with the payment process, should they have any questions or concerns.

    Boilerplate Invitation Email Text (each link will download a Word file you can customize)

    1. Invitation to an individual who is presenting to/participating in your class, and to whom you are offering an honorarium
    2. Invitation to an organization/company to send a representative to present to your class, to which you are paying a speaker fee
    3. Invitation to an individual to perform services on behalf of you/your class (e.g. preparing materials, consulting) for which they are charging the University
    4. Invitation to an organization/company to perform services on behalf of you/your class (e.g. preparing materials, consulting) for which they are charging the University

    Co-Sponsorships

    If a guest presenter is being sponsored and paid by another department with financial support from Chicago Studies, costs may be allocated directly to our FAS account without submission of a W9 to Chicago StudiesContact Chris Skrable directly for account and subaccount information. 

    Public Presentations

    If the presentation is advertised/open to the public, the instructor/sponsoring department should also upload any flyers or marketing material associated with the presentation to the same Box folder.  Chicago Studies will use these to document the event for Shared Services and to assist with event promotion via our newsletter and social media.

    Experiential learning grant/microgrant monies may be used to support class field trips (including virtual and individual or self-guided explorations) to destinations in and around Chicago. Monies may pay for costs of admission, transportation (when not via CTA), and -- in some cases -- meals.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

    Admissions

    Whenever possible, admission costs should be prepaid using a UChicago GEMS (University Procurement) card. Instructors with access to a card should make the purchase themselves, and then allocate the charges to Chicago Studies' FAS account. GEMS administrators should contact Chris Skrable directly for account and subaccount information. Allocations requests must include proper documentation of the purchase (receipt images, etc.). Instructors without access to a GEMS card must communicate purchase requests to Chicago Studies in a timely manner so that we can prepay any costs before the trip.

    If prepayment is not possible, instructors may - in some cases - borrow the Chicago Studies GEMS card for use during the field trip. Again, all purchases must be documented either by saving physical receipts or by taking pictures of them and sharing these via email upload to Chicago Studies' secure Box folder.

    Instructors may use personal funds to pay for pre-approved costs associated with a field trip. Costs must be submitted via the GEMS expense system and allocated to the Chicago Studies FAS account for reimbursement. Instructors unfamiliar with the GEMS expense system can learn more by visiting https://finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/gems/index.shtml, or may schedule a 15-minute appointment with Chris Skrable to submit expenses with his direct support.  The University processes reimbursements submitted through GEMS every two weeks.

    Transportation

    Whenever possible, field trips should take advantage of students' UPass, which provides free access to all CTA trains and buses. Chicago Studies can assist instructors or departments with reserving non-CTA transportation, including Metra/South Shore Line tickets, passenger vans (from Enterprise), UGo Shuttles, and school bus charters. Instructors needing assistance in reserving transportation should submit a proposed itinerary to Chris Skrable via email, including the following information:

    • Number of passengers
    • Pickup time and address
    • Destination address
    • All intermediate stops
    • Return time and address
    • Dropoff address (on campus)
    • Any additional requirements (e.g. access to PA system in the chartered vehicle to provide commentary during trip)

    In some circumstances, it may be more prudent for students to arrange their own transportation.  Chicago Studies monies may be used to reimburse students for personal transportation costs associated with class experiences; reimbursement requires the timely submission of receipts by the students, and should be subjected to clear limits by the instructor.  Instructors considering this strategy should schedule a 15-minute appointment with Chris Skrable to discuss the kinds of documentation required to process reimbursements for student expenses.

    Meals

    Chicago Studies can provide limited funding for meals during field trips, provided that (A) the trip's duration/destination necessitates a University-provided meal, and/or (B) the dining experience clearly contributes to the learning outcomes of the class. In such situations, instructors may budget $10-12/student for lunch or $15-20/student for dinner, to the overall grant limit of $1,000. If possible, we strongly encourage negotiating flat, per-person group rates with restaurants in advance to simplify trip timing as well as budgeting and payment.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to public health guidelines, Chicago Studies may not fund group dining, even when justified by the academic aims of a particular class. 

    Experiential learning grant/microgrant monies may be used to support class-based projects that engage students in activities on behalf of one or more Chicago-based collaborators. The project's deliverables are determined by the organization client(s), for whom the students work in the manner of an unpaid research or consulting team under the supervision of their course instructor.  Often, these projects involve students in substantial, active investigation. Costs associated with such projects may include training (e.g. in the use of a specific survey or GIS mapping software); software subscriptions and other materials; transportation to field sites (via Uber/Lyft); and public presentation costs.

    Instructors may also use experiential learning monies to create a stipended, hourly undergraduate position to assist with project management (in cases where no TA is available).

    Collaborative projects require significant coordination prior to execution, and ongoing pedagogical consideration to sustain the integration of students' community-based learning with classroom-based learning. We strongly encourage faculty developing project-based classes consult with Chicago Studies at least two terms before attempting to execute such a course. To schedule a consultation with Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning, visit https://calendly.com/cskrable.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

    Payment of Project Costs

    Whenever possible, project costs should be prepaid using a UChicago GEMS (University Procurement) card. Instructors with access to a card should make the purchase themselves, and then allocate the charges to Chicago Studies' FAS account. GEMS administrators should contact Chris Skrable directly for account and subaccount information. Allocations requests must include proper documentation of the purchase (receipt images, etc.). Instructors without access to a GEMS card must communicate purchase requests to Chicago Studies in a timely manner to avoid rush charges, etc.

    Instructors may also use personal funds to pay for pre-approved costs associated with a project. Costs must be submitted via the GEMS expense system and allocated to the Chicago Studies FAS account for reimbursement. Instructors unfamiliar with the GEMS expense system can learn more by visiting https://finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/gems/index.shtml, or may schedule a 15-minute appointment with Chris Skrable to submit expenses with his direct support.  The University processes reimbursements submitted through GEMS every two weeks. Chicago Studies is not responsible for project costs that are not pre-approved, nor for costs that exceed the grant/micro-grant maximum.

    The University's various offices, academic centers, and arts & culture institutions regularly offer programming (including virtual programming) that focuses on Chicago. Chicago Studies monies can be used to enable students to participate in these activities, whether through purchase of admission (often at a student/group discount) or by arranging/funding supplementary events such as performer talk-backs or speaker receptions that give students in a class special access to presenters.  Such programming generally requires substantial advance notice; instructors should schedule a consultation with Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning at least three months in advance, whenever possible.

    Chicago Studies funding can also be used to create para-curricular experiences for students that take place on or near campus. For example, language instructors may arrange for group screening/special streaming of an in-language film outside of normal class hours.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

    Payment of Enrichment Experience Costs

    Whenever possible, enrichment experience costs should be prepaid using a UChicago GEMS (University Procurement) card. Instructors with access to a card should make the purchase themselves, and then allocate the charges to Chicago Studies' FAS account. GEMS administrators should contact Chris Skrable directly for account and subaccount information. Allocations requests must include proper documentation of the purchase (receipt images, etc.). Instructors without access to a GEMS card must communicate purchase requests to Chicago Studies in a timely manner to avoid rush charges, etc.

    Given sufficient lead-time, Chicago Studies can assist with room reservations for on-campus experiences. In some cases, we are able to make reservations free-of-charge, especially in spaces regulated by the College or regular Chicago Studies partners (such as Office of Civic Engagement, the Logan Center, and the Institute of Politics).  Contact Chris Skrable for additional information, being sure to include the relevant date, start and stop times, and room requirements associated with your request.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

    Instructors may also use personal funds to pay for pre-approved costs associated with an enrichment experience. Costs must be submitted via the GEMS expense system and allocated to the Chicago Studies FAS account for reimbursement. Instructors unfamiliar with the GEMS expense system can learn more by visiting https://finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/gems/index.shtml, or may schedule a 15-minute appointment with Chris Skrable to submit expenses with his direct support.  The University processes reimbursements submitted through GEMS every two weeks.

    Honoraria

    For enrichment experiences that include payment of an honorarium, lecture fee, or consulting, see "Payment of Guest Speakers, Presenters, etc." (above).

    Experiential learning grant/microgrant funds may be used to support class-based colloquia, symposia, exhibitions, or other public presentations that engage interested audiences in work undertaken by a class. Costs associated with such classes may include training (e.g. in the use of OMEKA or similar software); software subscriptions and other materials; printing costs; event promotions; transportation to off-campus exhibition sites; A/V equipment rental; and room/display reservation or rental.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

    Payment of Enrichment Experience Costs

    Whenever possible, presentation/event costs should be prepaid using a UChicago GEMS (University Procurement) card. Instructors with access to a card should make the purchase themselves, and then allocate the charges to Chicago Studies' FAS account. GEMS administrators should contact Chris Skrable directly for account and subaccount information. Allocations requests must include proper documentation of the purchase (receipt images, etc.). Instructors without access to a GEMS card must communicate purchase requests to Chicago Studies in a timely manner to avoid rush charges, etc.

    Given sufficient lead-time, Chicago Studies can assist with room reservations for on-campus experiences. In some cases, we are able to make reservations free-of-charge, especially in spaces regulated by the College or regular Chicago Studies partners (such as Office of Civic Engagement, the Logan Center, and the Institute of Politics).  Contact Chris Skrable for additional information, being sure to include the relevant date, start and stop times, and room requirements associated with your request.

    Instructors may also use personal funds to pay for pre-approved costs associated with a colloquium, exhibition, or other public presentation. Costs must be submitted via the GEMS expense system and allocated to the Chicago Studies FAS account for reimbursement. Instructors unfamiliar with the GEMS expense system can learn more by visiting https://finserv.uchicago.edu/purchasing/gems/index.shtml, or may schedule a 15-minute appointment with Chris Skrable to submit expenses with his direct support.  The University processes reimbursements submitted through GEMS every two weeks.

    Honoraria, Speakers Fees, and Consulting Fees/other Services

    For payment of honoraria, speaker fees, or invoiced services, see "Payments to Guest Speakers, Presenters, etc." (above).

    Transportation

    For assistance with reserving transportation associated with off-campus events, see "Field Trips (off-campus)" (above).

    Interested in engaging your class in the city in a way not described above?  Contact Chris Skrable, Director of Chicago Studies & Experiential Learning, with your questions, or schedule a consultation to discuss your ideas in more detail.  In-person activities may be subject to additional approvals during the COVID-19 pandemic; see our approvals page for additional information.

 

Other Chicago Studies Grants

(Not currently available)

Although not immediately available, interested faculty should contact us to learn more about future awards. Chicago Studies is also willing to co-write or endorse other University or external grant requests.