Professional Development Grants

Purpose: To enable term, teaching specialist, special appointment, tenure-track, and tenured faculty from all disciplines to pursue scholarly, artistic, pedagogical and curricular projects that hold the promise of enhancing the college’s reputation for leadership and excellence. Faculty development grants are intended to support a wide range of scholarly and artistic work; projects advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the college; collaboration within and among disciplines; curricular and pedagogical innovations; assessment of student learning; the scholarship of teaching and learning; and activities designed to secure outside funding. Grants of up to a maximum of $6,000 are available to initiate, continue, or complete projects. Grants are not available for projects to fulfill degree requirements, to purchase computing hardware or software, or to purchase equipment that should be funded by a capital budget. Faculty will be asked to address their use of IPAT funds if they have them. Examples of appropriate requests include, but are not limited to:

  • Supplies or travel expenses to conduct research, training, artistic activity or scholarship
  • Expenses to support dissemination of artistic and/or scholarly projects
  • Funds to hire someone to assist in preparing a manuscript
  • Support for workshop attendance or development
  • Training in new instrumentation, technologies and/or techniques
  • Travel to conferences, collections, seminars, etc. requiring funds over and above those provided by the IPAT account.
  • Funds for small group retreats that may include visiting experts and/or common readings
  • Support for new initiatives in teaching
  • Support for co-mentoring between faculty for curricular or research re-invention
  • Support for student work (all St. Olaf student work policies apply)

Funds from the Virginia Ann Dekker Groot Endowment are also available to support professional development involving intensive work in another language, including research, course development, and the refining of the faculty member’s linguistic skills.

Funds from the Nygaard Study in Norway Endowment are available to support faculty travel to Norway for research, course development, or language study. Nygaard grants may be combined with the Oslo International Summer School stipend. Funds are granted twice a year as part of the Professional Development Grant cycle, and applicants should use the PDG proposal form.

How to apply: In order to be considered for funding, an application must include one copy of each of the following. Electronic versions are acceptable and should be sent to

  • A completed Professional Development Grant Application Cover Form. (This link provides a printable form.)
  • A narrative proposal of no more than three (3) single-spaced pages that:
    • is clear, specific, and comprehensible to the non-specialist
    • specifically addresses relevant criteria
  • A completed Grant Budget Form
  • A current curriculum vitae for the applicant. If the proposal is being submitted by a group, no CVs are required.
  • A completed confidential statement form (Chair’s Response Form) from the applicant’s chair (or, if the applicant is a department chair, from a past chair or senior department colleague).

Deadlines: There are two application deadlines: one in the fall for projects starting no earlier than January 1st and completed by May 31st; and one deadline in the spring for projects starting no earlier than June 1st and completed by December 31st. (See current Application Deadlines.) Grant applications will be due by noon in the Office of the Dean of the College on the appropriate date. All materials, including supporting letters, must be received in the Dean’s office by noon on the date indicated.

Eligibility: Faculty with a minimum 0.50 FTE for the full academic year during which application is being made and who will complete the grant project while holding a St. Olaf appointment are eligible to apply. Although we welcome applications from all faculty who meet the above criteria, preference may be given to applicants who have not received college-funded support (e.g., Professional Development Grants) in the past two years. Note: Sabbatical leave does not change the terms of faculty FTE appointments. Eligible faculty members who are currently on or anticipating sabbatical leave may apply.

Food: For projects involving substantial off-campus travel, meals can be funded. For group projects, funding can also be requested for meals and refreshments when the project involves activities lasting a minimum of 3 hours (for refreshments) or more than four hours (for a meal). The applicant’s proposal should provide explicit scheduling information.

Criteria for review: Applications should be written in clear language accessible to the non-specialist. Applicants may consult with a GFR representative or a past grant recipient as they prepare their application. Applications for Professional Development Grants should address all relevant criteria from the following list:

  1. Significance of the project. Projects may further one’s scholarly and/or artistic activities, improve educational practices or result in curricular innovation. Discuss the relevant significance of your project. If the project may qualify for a Dekker-Groot grant, also describe how the project will involve intensive work in another language pertaining to research, pedagogy, or refinement of linguistic skills.
  2. Project design. Describe the activities and overall time frame of this project. Include a proposed schedule.
  3. Project budget. Provide a detailed account of anticipated expenditures in support of project activities, indicating how the total amount of the request will be allocated among expenditure categories.
  4. Plans for dissemination. Specify plans for dissemination.
  5. Broader impact. How does this project realize the values expressed in the statement of purpose described above? For example, applicants may discuss how their proposed activities will affect the quality of teaching, the level of interdisciplinary cooperation, activity leading to the generation of outside funding opportunities, and individual creativity or leadership.

Reporting: Within 2 months of completing the project, grant recipients must email a 1-3 page report on the results of the grant project to the Dean of the College (, with copies to the chair of the Faculty Life Committee, and the applicant’s Department Chair and Associate Dean. Reports should describe activities and results. Expenditures with adequate receipts (as applicable) should be included.

Updated July 2022