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About the President's Innovation Fund

The President’s Innovation Fund at Stephen F. Austin State University promotes and encourages innovative recruitment, retention and teaching/learning practices that focus on student success. The goal of this fund is to award projects to faculty and staff with the expectation that these projects will develop a national reputation in effective and innovative student recruitment and retention best practices.

Specifically, this fund will invest in initiatives that creatively fuel increased student enrollment, engagement and success. Projects must focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • student recruitment and retention
  • challenging students to take an active role in their education
  • transforming classrooms into active learning spaces.

The awards will be given to recipients who propose novel ways to approach recruitment, retention, and /or teaching and learning, with a particular focus on helping more students from all backgrounds not only to persist but to excel.

Award Overview

Approximately $100,000 is available and will be allocated through a competitive review process by a selection committee. Awards are available in two types – Innovation Seed Awards and Innovation Implementation and Research Awards.

Time Frame

Projects will officially start no later than November 1, 2022 and will end July 31, 2023.

Cover Page

The required application cover page must be completed and submitted by email to

Proposal Submission, Deadlines, and Selection Panel

For the 2022-23 competition, the proposal deadline is September 30, 2022. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Application materials are to be submitted by e-mail to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies ( in a single PDF file (preferably) or in Word format. Hardcopy applications will not be accepted. 

Selection Panel

Applications will be evaluated by a selection panel, which may require finalists to make a brief presentation to the panel to answer questions about their proposal.

The selection panel consists of:

  • One staff representative from the Division of Student Affairs
  • One staff representative from the Division of Academic Affairs 
  • One staff representative from Enrollment Management
  • One faculty member from each college
  • Chair (ex officio) – ORGS

Innovation Seed Awards


All full-time faculty and staff are eligible to apply as individuals or as teams except recipients of an FY22 Award (either the seed or the implementation/research award) are ineligible to apply for a new Innovation Seed Award.

Seed awards up to $7,500 fund:

  • small-scale pilot projects in an individual or small number of classrooms, or
  • small-scale recruitment or retention pilot projects in a specific academic major, student population or geographic region, or
  • initial data collection to support a submission to an external agency with focus on recruitment, retention, or transforming classrooms into active learning spaces.

Innovation Implementation and Research Awards


All full-time faculty and staff are eligible to apply as individuals or as teams except FY22 recipients of an Innovation Implementation and Research Award are ineligible to apply for a consecutive year of funding.

Recipients of an FY22 Innovation Seed Fund Award will receive priority consideration for the Innovation Implementation and Research Award. Implementation and Research Awards range from $7,500 to $15,000. These awards fund:

  • large-scale recruitment, retention, and/or student success projects, and 
  • projects with a significant research basis and therefore a high potential for success, and
  • projects that are transformative in nature and, upon completion, provide data/evidence for informed decision-making and/or possible adoption at the university level or beyond.


Expenses that can be covered by these grants may include, but are not limited to: supplies and equipment, programming or research assistance, fees and expenses for student field trips, benchmarking, school visits, support for external classroom guest speakers, fees and expenses for conferences or workshops directly related to teaching, salaries for undergraduate/graduate student support, and summer stipends.  

How to Apply

Applications shall include:

  • A cover page. The cover page requires a signature indicating endorsement of the entire proposal by the lead applicant's and key personnel members' department chair/supervisor and dean (academic units only).
  • An abstract under 300 words (for awardees, this abstract will be included in publicity and the ORGS website).
  • A two-page CV or biosketch for each key faculty and staff member.
  • The proposal narrative must include the following sections in the following order: 
    1. project background
    2. project goals and objectives
    3. detailed methodology
    4. detailed plan to assess/evaluate/measure the effectiveness of the project in reaching the stated goals
    5. work schedule and management plan
    6. detailed budget 
    7. budget justification 
    8. dissemination and/or implementation plans.


  • Submit as a single PDF file (preferrable) or in Word format.
  • Use headings for the proposal narrative sections.
  • Number all pages at top right or bottom center of pages.
  • Proposal narratives for seed awards (budget less than $7,500) have a maximum length of eight pages, not including the budget and budget justification.
  • Proposal narratives for implementation and research awards (budget between $7,500 and $15,000) have a maximum length of fifteen pages, not including the budget and budget justification.

Evaluation Criteria 

  • Clear description of a well-defined project or problem to be investigated.
  • Potential impact on student success and/or increased enrollment and the metrics that will be used to assess this impact.
  • As appropriate, the relationship between the proposed methods and/or concepts and relevant existing research (required for Innovation Implementation and Research applications).
  • The feasibility of the project to be accomplished successfully during the granting period.
  • Plans for formative and summative assessment of the impact on student recruitment, retention and/or success.
  • Plans for dissemination and/or implementation within the SFA community, including the potential of the transfer of lessons learned to other courses, disciplines, programs, etc.
  • Budget adequately supports the project goals and objectives.

Expectations of All Awardees

All awardees will be required to attend an award orientation meeting with the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS) before work begins. Awardees will have an account setup after meeting with ORGS. Awardees are responsible for following all university purchasing policies and procedures, and for monitoring their expenditures. 

Presentation and Report 

Within three months of project completion, awardees will submit a three-to-five-page report about key outcomes, use of budgeted funds, and ideas to replicate and expand model projects. Send reports via email to

The reports will be showcased on the Provost/Executive Vice President’s website and then subsequently moved to the President Innovation Fund website.

Presentation: Either in the spring of 2023 or fall 2024, awardees will deliver a campus-wide presentation as part of the dissemination component. The 10-to-15-minute presentation will cover the work performed to date, actual or anticipated outcomes, and as applicable, ideas for future informed decision-making and/or possible adoption at the university level or beyond.


Grants and Sponsored Programs


Physical Address

404 Aikman Drive
Dugas Liberal Arts North, Room 419
Nacogdoches, Texas

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 13024, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962