FAQ | University of Portland


How do you define a "fresh approach" in the context of teaching and learning?

Experimenting with and applying new pedagogical approaches, technologies, course designs, ways of structuring and organizing courses, assessments, and the classroom are all great examples.   

Can I apply for an Ignite grant if I’m currently on sabbatical? Can I undertake my project when I’m on sabbatical?

Yes, you can apply and/or undertake an Ignite Grant when you are on sabbatical.

If you are planning or are currently on an unpaid leave from the University you are not eligible to apply for an Ignite Grant.

Can I/we request more than $5,000?

$5,000 is the maximum amount that can be awarded per proposal. If you anticipate that your budget will exceed $5,000 please contact the Ignite team to explore potential funding options to supplement the Ignite funding. It is also possible your idea may be well suited to explore external funding sources.

Do you consider certain criteria more important than others?

The following criteria is used by proposal reviewers to evaluate ideas: Strategic Fit, Fresh Approach, Impact, Dissemination of Results, and Budget and Sustainability. Please see the Request for Proposal page for details. Given the nature of the program focus on innovation and the requirement that applicants seek approval, Strategic Fit and Innovation are particularly key criteria to pay attention to in your project description. All criteria are evaluated equally, but if there is a tie in the ranking between two proposals closer scrutiny will be paid to those two criteria.

How are proposals evaluated?

Proposals are shared with a panel of reviewers comprised of faculty, administrators, staff, and students. Reviewers receive a rubric, based on the evaluation criteria, to rate each proposal. Reviewers also provide context to the ratings. From these ratings, each proposal is ranked against each other to determine the top proposals for funding. If there is a tie (e.g., we have funding for five proposals and the fifth place is a tie) we take into consideration qualitative feedback and evaluate Strategic Fit and Innovation, per the above notation, more carefully. The Office of the Provost makes the final award decisions.

Where does the funding come from?

Currently, funding comes from the Office of the Provost and through generous external donations. Our goal is to make this program sustainable through external funding only.

What if I’m awarded a grant and I can’t complete the project?

If you are unable to complete the project for whatever reason, your team, if applicable, can continue. If you have a solo project you can try to find another faculty person to take it over. If that’s not possible, we will close the project and return any remaining funding back to the award pool. We are eager to learn from all projects, and if your project is receiving external funds we are particularly interested in capturing your story and key takeaways to share with the donor(s).

I’d like to hire a student researcher/worker. How do I do that?

If you are considering hiring a student researcher or worker, please consult Student Employment in HR (studentemployment@up.edu) prior to submitting your proposal. It’s imperative that you understand the restrictions around student research vs. work, pay levels including fringe, and what is expected of you in managing a student. Feel free to contact the Ignite team to navigate those conversations.

What should I take into consideration with my budget?

Approved budget items may include: faculty stipend, student research, equipment and supplies, convening, travel, contracted expertise

Stipend: Since these funds are in the form of a stipend all items purchased and used for the project will be property of the faculty lead. If funds are provided through the use of a University PCard they follow the same restrictions as other university funds. Fringe of approximately 10% is applied to faculty stipends.

Student employment: Please speak with Student Employment in HR for updated information on student worker hourly rates and stipends for student research.

Technology Purchasing:

  • All equipment is property of the University of Portland.
  • All software will be licensed to the University of Portland.
  • All equipment/software purchased for the project will not be eligible for a technology refresh.
  • The equipment/software will be checked out to the faculty lead for as long as they are employed by the University. In the event the faculty lead is no longer with the University that equipment will be returned to Academic Technology Services & Innovation for future deployments.

Please include in your budget notes when you anticipate starting the project and making the purchases.

If you have questions that are unanswered here, please email the Ignite team: ignite@up.edu