Penn State University

Teaching and Learning Scholarship (TLS) Grants

Teaching and Learning Scholarship (TLS) goes by many different names, including the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), discipline-based education research (DBER), action research, pedagogical research, and teaching as research. All TLS involves the systematic assessment of teaching and learning practices in university courses.

The intent of the TLS program is to advance teaching and learning scholarship in higher education. Those seeking funding, should focus on teaching and learning at Penn State.

Funds Available

Grants are typically made in the range of $500–$1,500. Larger grants may be considered for scholarship with higher potential impact.

TLS Grant funds are typically used for the following expenses:

  • Conference travel for project team members
  • Purchase of research-related tools or materials (e.g., assessment instruments)
  • Undergraduate student hourly wages if they are well-justified

We provide TLS research support services, including IRB developmentliterature reviews, student researcher training, and data analysis.

TLS grant funds need to directly support research that involves Penn State faculty and students. Those seeking funds to test or implement a teaching innovation should consider our Teaching Transformation & Innovation Grants.

For a more detailed list of eligible and ineligible expenses, visit our Grants page.

TLS Grant Process

To successfully apply for a TLS grant, you should complete the following steps:

  • Meet with a SITE TLS faculty consultant for a pre-proposal session or attend SITE’s TLS Academy. This is your chance to brainstorm, ask questions, and generally develop your project into a competitive proposal.
  • Write your proposal following the guidelines below. Your Schreyer Institute consultant will provide feedback on your draft upon request.
  • Submit your proposal by email to Laura Cruz in advance of the posted deadlines. Deadlines will be announced through the SITE listserv and posted on the SITE webpage.
  • Your proposal will be reviewed by the TLS Grant committee. Please note that funds are limited and the process is competitive.
  • If your proposal is successful, you will be expected to expend your funds during the same fiscal year; funds not expended might not be available in the subsequent year.
  • TLS grants are awarded with the expectation that you will submit your work for publication to an accepted academic journal or equivalent venue within one academic year.

Proposal Guidelines

Your TLS Grant proposal should consist of the following elements:

  • Title – Please provide a tentative title for the project that clearly indicates its scope and purpose.
  • Brief description – Please provide a one or two sentence summary of your TLS project (150 words maximum)
  • Project Team – Please list all members of the project team, including name, title, role on project team, and contact information (email and phone).
  • Rationale – Please provide a rationale for your project (500 word maximum). This is your opportunity to make a persuasive case by articulating how your project advances larger scholarly conversations about teaching and learning. You are encouraged to situate your project within relevant literature (see Step 7 below for a directory of teaching and learning journals).
  • Equity and Inclusion – Please describe how proposed project addresses the Schreyer Institute's mission to "engage all students in inclusive and equitable learning environments." (150 words or less)

    For example:

    • Will the project lead to increased awareness of the multiplicity of factors that can affect individual student outcomes in your course(s)? If so, please describe how.
    • Will the project promote success and retention of underrepresented or minoritized students? If so, please describe how.
    • Will the project address climate issues that may have made some students feel less welcome in your discipline? If so, please describe how.

  • Research Design – Please provide a brief description of your proposed research design, including any data analysis (qualitative, quantitative, or other). (250 word maximum)
  • Schedule – Please provide a brief timeline of the major aspects of the project schedule. Your schedule should include submission of IRB materials and proposed date for manuscript submission. (150 words maximum)
  • Publication Outlets – Please provide at least one potential publication outlet for your finished project, including a very brief (e.g. one sentence) description of why you selected this particular outlet. If you have not selected a publication outlet yet, we recommend consulting this searchable directory of teaching and learning journals:
  • Budget – Please provide a brief description with itemized and confirmed costs for reuqested funds. Please review what we can and cannot fund on our Grants page.

Style Guidelines

  • Full proposal (including references) should be 1200 words or less
  • 12 pt. standard font (e.g. Times New Roman)
  • Double-spaced, 1” margins
  • Please add page numbers to the upper right corner
  • APA style is preferred; but others formats accepted.

TLS Grant Criteria

Successful proposals will:

  • Advance larger conversations about teaching and learning. We value projects that represent meaningful and substantive contributions to the field.
  • Contribute to the development of teaching and learning within the Penn State community. We value projects that have sustained influence on others, including students, faculty, and staff.
  • Address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Penn State and in higher education. We value projects that will have a positive influence on faculty and student attitudes and actions.
  • Articulate a clear research design and methodology. We value projects that are well-designed and reflect the highest methodological standards.
  • Provide clear and appropriate justification for funds requested.


  • Full-time Penn State faculty member
  • Primary Investigator must be full-time faculty member; though the project team may consist of others, including students (undergraduate or graduate), part-time faculty, post-docs and professional staff
  • Applicants are encouraged to include undergraduate students as co-researchers, wherever appropriate
  • Applicants are limited to one TLS, TTI, or Assessment grant every three years.

Grant Deadline

June 3, 2022

Quote from Lee Shulman, “An act of intelligence or of artistic 
			 creation becomes scholarship when it possesses at least three attributes: it becomes public; becomes 
			 an object of critical review & evaluation by members of one’s community; members of one’s community 
			 begin to use,build upon, and develop those acts of mind and creation. Quoted from article, Taking 
			 Learning Seriously, in Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

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