Faculty and staff members at Valparaiso University are, through their day-to-day engagement with students, the most valuable component of any “high impact practice” and integral to our the institution’s long-term goals for student retention. They share their scholarly expertise, clinical and professional experience, and pedagogical skills to create a dynamic learning environment for their students.

To support these efforts, the Institute for Leadership and Service, in cooperation with the Office of the Inclusion and Student Success Services, offers an internal funding opportunity to support creative, collaborative approaches to incorporating high impact practices into curricular and co-curricular programs. Collaboration on High Impact Practices (CHIP) Micro-grants in amounts up to $2500 are available to support projects that reflect and contribute to Valpo’s mission and identity. Up to four (4) grants will be awarded each semester. Through these micro-grants, we hope to generate ideas, foster initiatives, and stimulate innovative educational efforts that are tailored to the needs of Valparaiso University students.

For future grant cycles

Who is eligible for a micro-grant?

Faculty in any discipline and staff members engaging with students directly who meet the following criteria are invited and encouraged to apply:

  • Teaching/working with undergraduates during the regular academic year; not a summer session
  • Creative approach to engaging students who don’t self-select into high-impact practice opportunities due to personal, financial or other barriers
  • Apply as an individual or part of a group
  • Willingness to collect and share data related to retention

This grant cannot be used to fund pre-existing programs and/or regular departmental or college activities. After the initial grant cycle, those who have received a CHIP Micro-grant in the past are also eligible, provided they have met the reporting requirement for the previous grant and are seeking funding for a different project.

What types of projects can be funded?

CHIP Micro-grants are intended to support curricular, co-curricular and professional development opportunities that align with the high impact practice framework outlined by the CHIP committee. High impact practices engage students in active learning, contributing to their holistic development and long-term flourishing by deepening their learning in and outside the classroom. This includes:

First-Year Experiences

The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies.

Learning Communities

Encouraging integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines.

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Collaborative learning combines two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in the company of others, and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences.

Improving Campus Climate/Awareness

Many colleges and universities now emphasize courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies—which may address US diversity, world cultures, or both—often explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power.

Undergraduate Research

College and universities provide a rich array of opportunities for undergraduate students of all disciplines to engage in research experiences. Whether it is through individual research in response to a course project, a group research project, or working with a faculty research initiative, these experiences involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

Service/Experiential Learning

The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences.

Capstone Projects

Whether they’re called “senior capstones” or some other name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned. Capstones are offered both in departmental programs and, increasingly, in general education as well.

Vocational Exploration

Creating an integrated approach to professional development and personal discernment is a distinct aspect of Valpo’s culture. Projects related to vocational exploration—reflecting a sense of calling and not only suitability—are a valuable part of making sure students across disciplines have a chance to see their skills put to use in meaningful ways.

How to apply

Please submit your application using this form. Deadlines for the next cycle will be made available soon. All applications must include the following:

  • Narrative  (maximum of 2 pages, double-spaced) that includes the following components:
    • The project purpose, significance, and relation to the University’s mission, identity and/or strategic plan
    • Connection with at least one of the identified high impact practices
    • Anticipated goal of the project and assessment/measurement to determine project success
    • One page budget. Eligible expenses include travel, materials, or fees. Select conferences, trainings, speakers and materials (such as books) can also be covered by the grant. Funds may not be used for salary or pre-existing programs. If you anticipate including any outside funding or matching from your department or unit, please include it here.
    • For previous micro-grant recipients, a description of the prior grant’s outcomes

Interested parties are encouraged to contact ILAS Assistant Director Aaron Morrison at aaron.morrison@valpo.edu.

How projects are evaluated

The CHIP Micro-grant program is administered by the Institute for Leadership and Service. Applications will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee who will consider the merits of proposals based on the program objectives.

Post-Award Report of Project Outcomes

Grant winners are required to submit a Report of Project Outcomes to the Institute for Leadership and Service. The report must:

  • state the work completed during the grant period and assess the research completed in light of the objectives and timeframe in the grant proposal,
  • indicate how the research is being disseminated and include a copy of any published outcome if appropriate,
  • and provide an updated account detailing how grant funds were spent.

All grant recipients will participate in a mid-semester conversation and must be willing to present on their efforts in a wider university setting after the completion of the project. Any data collected will be shared with the appropriate chair or supervisor, college or unit as well as the Office for Inclusion and Student Success Services.

Please acknowledge the support of the CHIP Micro-grant program in publications and presentations connected to the grant project.


The Collaboration on High Impact Practices Micro-Grants are a project of the Institute for Leadership and Service and the Office for Inclusion and Student Success Services. Funds for the grants are provided by Bonnie & Peter Raquet.