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The Aspire Learning and Teaching (ALT) Fund is a new initiative, launching first in the Fall of 2015. Below are a set of questions that we believe you may have regarding this fund. Given that this is new initiative, we know that there will be questions that arise that we may or may not have anticipated, so please do send questions to altfund.ok@ubc.ca. We will answer you and update this list regularly with the information as appropriate.

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General Questions

Aspire is the Vision for UBC Okanagan’s future, developed consultatively with students, faculty, staff and diverse community stakeholders. The vision highlights the campus’ aspirations and provides strategic direction on Academic, Research and Campus Master Planning. The consultation report highlights priority areas for exploration in four core areas: Transformative Student Learning, Research Excellence, Community Engagement and Place. More information is available at: http://aspire.ok.ubc.ca.

The ALT Fund is a new funding initiative from the Provost of UBC Okanagan meant to catalyze the changes in curriculum, innovations in teaching practice, and enhancements in the learning environment that are envisioned in Aspire. The fund will enable faculty members to make strategic changes within existing, or implement new, undergraduate and graduate academic programs that are more flexible, interdisciplinary, experiential and/or collaborative. The overall goal of the ALT Fund is to transform student learning at UBC Okanagan.

The ALT Fund is strategic initiative managed through the Provost’s Office, in partnership with the Deans Council and UBC Okanagan’s centrally positioned units that provide support for teaching and learning (e.g., Centre for Teaching and Learning, Okanagan Planning and Institutional Research, UBC Okanagan Library, IT, Media & Classroom Services). Program administration is provided by the Provost’s Office; questions related to the ALT Fund may be directed to Michelle Lamberson, Director, Flexible Learning Special Projects, UBC Okanagan and Vancouver (michelle.lamberson@ubc.ca) and/or altfund.ok@ubc.ca.

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ALT Fund Scope

At its core, the ALT Fund is focused on making an impact at the academic program level. Applicants should be able to articulate how a proposed project, regardless of its scale or focus, provides measurable benefits to one or more academic programs. Hence a range of projects are possible, from projects at the course level that address a critical program need through to targeted support for development of new flexible learning programs and/or interdisciplinary degree pathways.
The Provost has worked with the Deans Council to identify a set of priority focus areas that align with UBC Okanagan’s strategic academic objectives. Preference will be given to projects that resonate with those areas. The Provost will work with the Deans to ensure that these focus areas are updated each year to reflect any evolution in academic priorities.

The following project types are ineligible to receive funding from the ALT Fund:

  • Projects for which the primary purpose is program evaluation are ineligible for funding from the ALT Fund.
  • Projects for which the primary purpose is research are ineligible for funding from the ALT Fund.

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Developing an ALT Fund Application

The Provost worked closely with the Deans Council to develop the overall goals, guidelines and the Priority Areas of Focus associated with the ALT Fund.
The ALT Fund follows a two-stage, online application process that includes a Letter of Intent (submission date of December 9, 2015) and Full Proposal (submission date of February 29, 2016). The Deans Council reviews the Letter of Intent and recommends to the Provost which proposals should be invited to develop a full proposal. The recommendation at the Letter of Intent stage may include combining the efforts of one or more applicants to strengthen the viability or enhance the possible impact of the proposed project.

The Provost Office and members of UBC Okanagan’s teaching and learning-focused support units will support faculty members who are developing Letters of Intent and Final Proposals as needed and appropriate.

An adjudication committee, comprising individuals selected by the Provost for their expertise in teaching and learning (including topics such as pedagogy, curriculum, evaluation, and learning technology) will review the final proposals and provide recommendations to the Provost.
The Provost may consult with the Deans prior to making the final selection of proposals to be funded.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is structured to enable applicants to pitch a good idea for program innovation, whereas the full proposal requires applicants to turn their ideas into a concrete plan.

The Letter of Intent should explain what innovation is planned, why it is significant, what approach will be taken, how the innovation will provide wide benefits and how success will be gauged. In addition, the LOI enables applicants to identify/estimate the supports and expertise that they believe will be needed to undertake the project. No budget template is submitted with the LOI.

The Full Proposal should articulate the benefits, expected outcomes, work plan, evaluation plan and required resources in detail. A budget must be submitted that identifies what is requested of the ALT Fund and what is being provided in-kind. Department Heads must indicate how they will support the proposal.

The ALT Fund is focused on transformation at the academic program level. We recommend that you first discuss your ideas with your colleagues in the Department(s)/Unit(s) associated with the academic program or programs that you will be enhancing with your proposed project. In particular, you, and any co-applicants, will need the support of your Department/Unit Head(s) at both the Letter of Intent and Full Proposal stages. Your Dean(s) will see all Letters of Intent and Final Proposals.

UBC Okanagan’s central service units that support teaching and learning can provide advice on developing your Letter of Intent. The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) can advise on topics such as pedagogy, instructional design, assessment, learning technology integration and planning. The Office of Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR) can provide feedback and advice on evaluation approaches and methodologies. The Library can provide support on learning resources discovery/development (including open resources) and copyright, licensing and digitization. IT, Media & Classroom Services, in partnership with the CTL, can provide advice on media development, video-conferencing and learning space enhancement or utilization.

You can also request assistance from the Provost Office either by emailing altfund.ok@ubc.ca or contacting Michelle Lamberson (michelle.lamberson@ubc.ca, 250-807-9029).

The type of support you may need is dependent on the nature of your project. The “Budget Considerations” component of the Guidelines outlines some of the key restrictions associated with the Fund. It is important to consult with the central support units (CTL, UBC Okanagan Library, PAIR, and IT, Media & Classroom Services).

Common types of support that may be needed include:

  • Graduate and Undergraduate Academic Assistants (project workers)
  • Instructional and curriculum design support
  • Project management/project coordination
  • Media design and production: web-programming, graphic design, videography, animation, post-production
  • Learning resource discovery/development (including open resources) – learning support materials
  • Learning technology development and support
  • Library consultation – resources, copyright, licensing, digitization
  • Professional development – instructors and TAs
  • Evaluation support

This fund is not an equipment fund; however, equipment purchased by an academic program or supplied by other sources may be considered an in-kind expense if the primary use of the equipment is for the project.

If you are planning to develop learning materials in support of flipped classroom or blended learning activities (video material, screen casts, etc.), please identify this as a need in the “Project Approach & Required Support” section of the LOI so that these activities can be scoped in the Full Proposal and service needs identified.
Equipment for this purpose may be provisioned from a central pool of media resources for use during the project.

If you need specialized facilities or classrooms for your project, please identify those in “Changes to learning spaces/environment envisioned” section of the LOI and Full Proposal.

Any funds requested for teaching buyouts must be matched by the Faculty or Department. The maximum amount of funding available to any project from the ALT Fund is 50% of one teaching buyout for each year of the project.

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Submitting a Letter of Intent

All proposals must be submitted through the online ALT Fund’s application system, which will be accessed through the ALT Fund website (http://altfund.ok.ubc.ca) This system is anticipated to be active beginning in mid-November, 2015.

No, we regret that late applications will not be accepted.

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Submitting a Full Proposal

All proposals must be submitted through the online ALT Fund’s application system, which will be accessed through the ALT Fund website (http://altfund.ok.ubc.ca) This system is anticipated to be active beginning in mid-November, 2015.

An individual from either the Provost’s Office or one of the teaching and learning support organizations will be assigned to work with those who are invited to develop a full proposal.

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