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Civic Learning and First Year Implementation Mini-Grants Request for Proposals

Overview - Civic Learning and First Year Programs
Ever since the late 1980s, two powerful but largely unconnected movements have been gaining momentum in American higher education. The first of these focuses on the public purposes of higher education, and includes initiatives related to such things as student political participation, deliberative dialogue, the engaged campus, and community-based teaching and learning. The second focuses on the special needs of first-year students, and includes programs located in offices as diverse as admissions and enrollment management, student development, academic affairs, and residence life. Both movements have had to struggle with many of the same challenges - challenges rooted in an academy slow to change. And yet, despite the potential benefits that could accrue from closer collaboration, few campuses have sought to explore - deliberately and comprehensively - the possibility of genuinely collaborative programming.

In summer 2006, 11 CSU campus teams attended a three-day CSU Civic Learning Institute. Leading up to and during the meeting, each team was asked to 1) assess current civic learning practices and activities for first-year students; 2) develop campus-specific ideas that center on civic learning and first-year efforts; and 3) draft a one-year charrette plan for strengthening their institution's civic engagement programming for first-year students. During the charrette presentations, a number of pioneering ideas emerged that integrate first-year programs and civic learning efforts together in a powerful way.

Availability of Mini-grant Funds
Eligibility: Only the 11 campuses that attended the Civic Learning Institute are eligible to apply for these funds.

Size and Length: By providing up to ten campus mini-grants that range from $6,000 to $8,000, the Office of Community Service Learning at the Chancellor's Office seeks to embolden campus teams to implement the challenging and creative ideas designed at the Institute. The development and implementation of these ideas will not only benefit individual campuses but will also contribute to our collective efforts at fostering civic learning skills, values and knowledge among CSU first-year students.

The grant period will be from January 1 - May 18, 2007. More information about the timeline is available at the end of the Request for Proposals.

Scope of Activities: There are a wide range of activities that are appropriate under this grant opportunity. Some ideas are:

  • offering faculty development workshops to incorporate a civic learning component into curricular options (learning communities, freshman seminar, a discipline-specific course);
  • providing release time for faculty to assume a leadership role in coordinating civic learning activities for first year students that are either based in the curriculum or co-curricular;
  • facilitating conversations with staff from across divisions that result in new activities (civic learning programming for residential life, linking courses together with co-curricular activities); and
  • hosting a speaker who spurs faculty interest and knowledge on how to integrate civic learning into first year courses.

Additionally, campus teams are encouraged to propose other civic learning activities. If you have questions about the appropriateness of your proposed goals and activities, please email/call Judy Botelho, Assistant Director, Community Service Learning, at (562) 951-4749 or

Use of Funds:
Allowable Grant Costs: Examples of allowable costs include a faculty minigrant for curriculum development, faculty release time, or honoraria for speakers (not to exceed $540/day). Other appropriate expenses include: training resources, supplies, travel expenses consistent with CSU campus policies and procedures, outreach materials, evaluation, conference fees and meeting expenses.*

Non-Allowable Grant Costs: Funds may not be used for stipends to students who receive academic credit for their service as part of a course. Also, funds may not be used for purchasing capital equipment in excess of 10% of the CSU funds request. Items generally not allowable include food (beyond that which may be appropriate for a working meeting - i.e., at a conference or in-service training), treats for children, birthday parties, coffee funds, 'thank you' dinners, and most recognition gifts.

*While the grant can support a minimal amount of food and refreshments, these expenses can not be the basis of your budget narrative.

Match Requirements: All applicants are required to provide a 1:1 match for all grants funds. Match funds may come from cash or in-kind resources (staff time devoted to project, supplies, etc).

Campus Application Guidelines
A complete application will include:

  • Appendix A (.doc) - Cover Page
  • Appendix B (.xls) - Budget Form
  • Narrative - The narrative should not be more than 3 pages in length. Your Budget Form does not count towards the three-page limit.

Narrative Questions

  1. Since returning from the Civic Learning Institute, what has your campus team discussed and acted upon?
  2. What goals and activities are proposed, and when do you intend to accomplish these efforts? Please be clear in your description about who will be leading the activities and the timeline.
  3. Once your activities have been successfully implemented, what outcomes do you anticipate will be realized?

Using the Budget Form, Appendix B (.xls), please briefly describe how you will use the funds from the Chancellor's Office and your match contributions. In the budget narrative column, please provide information for all items so that the Chancellor's Office can understand the basis for your request. For example, if one of your categories is - "Operating Costs: Supplies and Services" - include the item, purpose and calculation.

For answers to some frequently asked questions along with an explanation of the budget categories and how to calculate administrative costs (indirect costs), please see frequently asked questions (.doc)

Review Process and Criteria Chancellor's Office staff will review applications. The following criteria will be used for determining awards:

  • explicit civic learning component for all proposed activities;
  • clarity of goals and activities;
  • response to key questions in guidelines;
  • connection between budget narrative and proposed activities is clearly evident; and
  • campus match, particularly your ratio of cash to in-kind match.

Campus Responsibilities and Deliverables
If a campus receives a mini-grant, the initiative leader will be asked to:

  • Share highlights about grant-funded activities on the CSU service-learning list-serve and/or CSU first-year listserve and/or Blackboard;
  • Submit year-end project report summarizing achievements and challenges; and
  • Complete the extensive Learn and Serve LASSIE report.


  • November 8, 2006: Campus applications are due at the Chancellor's Office by 5 pm. Proposals may be submitted electronically to Judy Botelho ( or via postal mail. If you wish to send the proposal via postal mail, please send it to:
  • Judy Botelho
    Assistant Director, Community Service Learning
    401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor Long Beach, CA 90802-4210

  • November 22: Campuses are notified as to the status of their proposals.
  • November 22 - December 6: Funded campuses and Chancellor's Office staff discuss whether any changes are needed to the application or budget. All changes need to be finalized by December 6, in order that the Chancellor's Office can process grant awards.
  • January 1 - May 18, 2007: Grant period
  • June 15, 2007: Campus final report should be submitted to the Chancellor's Office.
  • June 29, 2007: Learn and Serve's LASSIE report will likely be due.
  • July 2, 2007: Campus final invoice and fiscal close out report should be submitted to the Chancellor's Office.

If you have any questions regarding this initiative, please contact Judy Botelho, Assistant Director, Community Service Learning, CSU Chancellor's Office, at (562) 951-4749 or

Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: May 06, 2016