Request for Proposals

The Arts Initiative seeks proposals for curricular development projects, research that explores the application of the arts in classrooms, or programs that enhance the connection between teaching at the University of Michigan and the arts. Projects should promote integration of arts thinking, methodologies, or practices into student learning through the curriculum. The proposed projects can be theoretical for wider dissemination or classroom-based for the development of the applicant’s own courses.

Examples of the Kinds of Activity This Program Supports:

  • Developing new curricular materials (concept guides, bibliographies, syllabi)
  • Creating modules, or course components, for teaching through the arts in humanities, social sciences, or STEM
  • Facilitating methodologies for collaborative teaching: arts + other disciplines
  • Data collection and analysis to inform impact of the arts on teaching and learning
  • Testing models of arts-based classroom engagements or technologies that increase access to creative making or collaboration
  • Investigating and designing high-impact learning models through the arts (internships, travel learning, civically-engaged learning)


Selected proposals from individuals will be for $2,500 to $10,000 Selected proposals for teams will be for $5,000 to $20,000 Teams composed of members from two or more units are encouraged.


The Arts Initiative has conducted a series of workshops and listening sessions with members of the U-M community representing a range of disciplines and positions. One common desire expressed in these sessions is to provide more opportunities for our students to learn through the arts and provide support to integrate the arts into teaching for faculty, and staff in pedagogically-focused programs. The Arts + the Curriculum program supports and encourages wider access to arts-based learning across the U-M community. The Arts Initiative identified these focus areas to encourage arts-based teaching at U-M.

Applications will indicate how their proposal addresses one of the following focus areas:

  • Project development toward collaboration and interdisciplinary teaching and pedagogy is often cited as an effective way for faculty from non-arts disciplines to tap into new approaches to framing concepts and alternative forms of learning assessment (beyond papers or presentations), and for arts faculty to demonstrate arts modalities in teaching and learning to peers.
  • Curricular materials and new class modules or course components can activate teaching and learning and serve as templates for adoption of arts pedagogy for others.
  • Research or data analysis about the impact of the arts on teaching and learning will uncover more data-backed evidence of the impact of the arts on teaching and learning, and contribute to case-making.
  • Development of high-impact learning experiences centered on the arts will immerse students in experiences that engage them and convene groups from various backgrounds and perspectives.

Who Can Apply

  • Faculty: Tenure-Track, Lecturers, or Research-Track, at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, or Flint campuses
  • Staff of pedagogically-focused programs
  • Mixed teams of faculty and staff

We seek proposals both from faculty and programs from non-arts units, and from arts-based units:

  • Non-arts units: proposals to encourage arts-related content or creative expression that enhances learning but does not merely instrumentalize the arts
  • Arts-based units: proposals to promote wider reach and understanding of arts-based teaching, with arts faculty or program staff to lead interdisciplinary teams, create/co-create course materials as arts experts, or promote arts-based learning by students both majoring in arts and pursuing other majors

Other Guidelines

  • Funds can offset the cost of a teaching release, as negotiated by the applicant working with their department.
  • Cost share is not required, but encouraged.
  • Funds can be used for travel.
  • Funds can be used for a summer-ninth effort (summer ‘23) but may be subject to caps.
  • Funds can offset staff salary in proportion to project effort.
  • Funds can be used to pay student workers.
  • Proposals can incorporate methodologies related to arts and K-12 education, but for the benefit of learning in higher education.
  • The Arts + the Curriculum program is not intended as a supplement to duplicate an existing program, or only buy tickets/ pay honoraria for class guests (see Arts at Michigan’s Course Connections for this kind of support), though payments for honoraria or tickets are allowed if part of a larger plan for new curricular development.


  • Proposals accepted until Monday, Sept. 26.
  • All awardees will present their projects at a symposium on Sept. 20, 2023
  • Projects should be completed by December 31, 2023
  • Awarded projects are required to provide a written report within two months of completion as a contribution to the Arts Initiative’s resource bank of arts-based teaching and learning examples.

Application (Templates will be provided for each of these)

Project Description and implementation plan with timeline and team members (if applicable) (1-2 pages) Budget Justification (up to 1 page) Impact & Communications Plan: How might others learn about your project or class? References (optional)