Strategic Reallocation RFP: Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we conducting the strategic reallocation?
The strategic reallocation is an incremental step toward optimizing the impact and efficiency of our resources, and investing in areas where we can most effectively continue to sustain and grow our university, and advance our strategic mission. Half of the $12 million raised through the reallocation already has been redistributed to pay for the salary increases that were awarded to faculty and staff on January 1, 2015—an important strategic investment in our most important resource. The remaining $6 million will fund strategic investments in research (~$4 million) and student success (~$2 million). (Note that proposals that address a research and student success goal jointly will be eligible for funding from both pools of RFP funds). The reallocation reinforces priorities to which we committed ourselves in the University’s Strategic Plan and is critical to supporting innovation and collaboration for our future success. Investments made through this reallocation also are intended to support resource growth that will make additional investments possible in the future.
Who can submit proposals?
Proposals will be organized, prioritized, endorsed, and submitted by the respective college Deans. In leading the process of proposal development, the deans will collaborate as appropriate with each other, with administrative support areas, and with faculty and staff. In addition, one proposal can be submitted by the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) and the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) together, appropriately in collaboration with degree-granting colleges, faculty, and other administrative support areas. Each proposal submission is expected to be multi-disciplinary and must involve two or more degree-granting colleges; involvement of the Honors College, Graduate School, Global Campus, Libraries, and/or administrative support units is encouraged, as appropriate.
A separate seed grant program discussed below, will be open to WSU faculty members with appointments continuing through at least the 2016-17 academic year at the Pullman, Spokane, and Everett campuses, with involvement of staff, as appropriate. There is a Grand Challenges Seed Grant program and a Student Success Seed Grant program.
When are Letters of Intent and proposals due?
Letters of Intent are due to the Office of the Provost by February 15, 2016. Final proposals are due to the Office of the Provost by 5 p.m. on April 1, 2016. For the full Budget Reallocation RFP timeline, see the RFP website.
Will the Letters of Intent and proposals be made public?
Information regarding the final awards will be made public. Letters of Intent and proposal submissions will not be made public, as is normal for competitions of this type. Faculty and staff wishing to use the Letters of Intent and proposals to identify collaborators or advance research ideas should contact the appropriate Dean or his/her designee.
Will denied proposals receive feedback for potential use in future RFPs?
Yes. This is an important part of the process. All proposal submissions will receive a formal response letter including comments drawn from the technical reviewers and a summary of how the proposal may be strengthened. This is important input as the University expects proposal content developed under this RFP to be used in future external competitions.
How will the faculty be involved? What is the process by which deans vet proposals? How can interested faculty find partners for their proposal ideas to address the multidisciplinary priority?
Degree-granting College Deans, as well as the OUE/DSA leadership will engage faculty and staff, as appropriate, in a limited and prioritized number of focused research/student success initiatives, which are envisioned to be long-term investments to further WSU’s mission. The Deans and OUE/OSA leadership will commission a number of select groups of faculty and staff to work in collaboration with colleges, as well as administrative support units as appropriate, to draft proposals. Each Dean and the OUE/DSA leadership will employ a process they deem appropriate for their college/office, based on its size, mission, and the physical locations of its operations, in order to engage with faculty and staff on proposal creation and prioritization.
Faculty interested in identifying collaborators for proposals should contact their Associate Deans for Research or for Undergraduate Studies, or (for research proposals) Dr. Geeta Dutta, Director of the Office of Research Advancement and Strategic Partnerships (ORAP). The Office of Research maintains a database of potential collaborators, and Dr. Dutta can provide further information. Dr. Dutta is available at 509-335-5980, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Student Success proposals faculty also can contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at 509-335-8044, or email@example.com, and the Division of Student Affairs at 509-335-4531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do proposals have to involve more than one degree-granting college?
Funding agencies increasingly reward multi-disciplinary efforts. This competition is intended to help faculty and colleges make connections across disciplines that will enhance their competitiveness for large, multi-disciplinary funding opportunities. In addition, the University needs to support students’ abilities to succeed in any major they choose, and students often change majors during their university careers. Many innovative and promising programs exist in individual colleges and support areas that could help more students if scaled up to an institutional level. Enhanced coordination across colleges is also expected to enhance institutional efficiency.
How do proposals connect with central university units and labs, and the services they provide?
These proposals should not be used to duplicate any services performed currently by central university units (such as New Student Programs, Academic Success and Career Center, Institutional Research, Student Financial Services, Enterprise Systems Group, Health and Wellness Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Registrar’s Office) and core labs. Central university units stand ready to partner with colleges on proposals. If a proposal calls for capacity, responsibilities, or programs to be added to a central unit and/or will significantly expand the scope of work of a central unit beyond its normal duties and functions, then PIs need to partner with staff from the relevant units during the proposal writing stage to ensure that there is adequate coordination and funding. Funding may include additional FTE (including graduate assistants), technological resources, or other expenses.
Where is the money for this RFP coming from?
The primary source of funds for this program is the strategic reallocation exercise that all Pullman, Spokane, and Everett colleges and areas have underway. The Vancouver and Tri-Cities campuses are performing their own budget reallocation exercises. Involvement of Vancouver and Tri-Cities campuses in this RFP program is encouraged where appropriate and normally will include cost sharing or in-kind commitments from those campuses. Funds can be transferred across campuses if a proposal team considers doing so to be in the best interest of an initiative.
Why are there a limited number of submissions?
Because the intent of the reallocation is to commit the University to long-term, substantive strategic investments, each proposal must be focused, transformational, and based on convincing evidence supporting its likelihood for success. The limited submission process, common to competitive national granting programs, limits the number of full proposals to ensure the effort expended on their development by faculty and other partners involved has a larger probability of success. The RFP process is designed to produce mature proposals that clearly align with WSU’s Strategic Plan and Grand Challenges. The Deans, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs will screen and facilitate potential proposal ideas to identify and bring together relevant teams of faculty and staff across colleges for fruitful collaboration and to prioritize potential submissions based on available expertise, the demonstrated evidence base, demonstrated critical mass for successful implementation, and relevance to the University’s strategic priorities as stated in the RFPs.
Additional opportunities for funding to support innovative research and student success initiatives are provided by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research through separate seed grant programs open to WSU faculty, with the involvement of staff, as appropriate. Get more information on both the Grand Challenges Seed Grant program and the Student Success Seed Grant program.
Why is there an emphasis on revenue generation?
The ability to generate additional outside financial support is an important evaluation criteria for both the Research and Student Success RFPs. This criterion is closely tied to the requirement that all proposals be multidisciplinary in nature and of significant size, with funding levels ranging from $250,000 to $1 million per year. In particular, the University recognizes that numerous individual, high-quality research and student success activities alone may not be able to attract significant external funding. The University believes, however, that well-framed combinations of such activities will result in programs of broad societal impact that will attract external funding. Enhanced external funding is needed to advance the University’s core missions of student success, research, and engagement and meet the goals outlined in the WSU Strategic Plan. The University also recognizes that some projects have significance regardless of their ability to attract extramural funding, and that is why the evaluation criteria also include other measures of significance. Projects that increase revenue will enhance the Unversity’s ability to fund projects of significance that are not self sustaining or revenue generating.
How are the proposal reviewers chosen, and what is the review process?
The Executive Committee and members of the upper administration (i.e. the President, Co-Provosts, and Vice President for Research) will choose the review panel chair. The Executive Committee and review panel chair will assess the letters of intent and assign reviewers to proposals.
The Executive Committee has been selected to provide an institution-wide understanding of Washington State University with expertise in areas such as large, multi-disciplinary extramural research, higher education policy and student success, external affairs, regional specialties, and a variety of research paradigms. Members of the Executive Committee include:
- Ralph Cavalieri, Associate Vice President for Research
- Anson Fatland, Associate Vice President, Economic Development
- John Gardner, Vice President, University Advancement
- Nicholas Lovrich, Regents Professor Emeritus, Political Science
- Nancy Magnuson, Regents Professor Emeritus, Molecular Biosciences
- Mel Netzhammer, Chancellor, Washington State University, Vancouver
- Thomas “Les” Purce, Former WSU Vice President, Events and Outreach, President Emeritus, Evergreen State College
- Jane Sherman, Special Assistant for Academic Policy and Evaluation, Office of the Provost
The Deans may suggest reviewers to the Executive Committee on an ongoing basis. Faculty and other WSU staff should provide any reviewer suggestions to their Dean, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs, or their designees. WSU administrative staff should provide any suggestions to Kristina Peterson-Wilson (see final FAQ below for contact information).
When will the awards be disbursed?
Award recipients will be announced on June 15, 2016 and funding will be available beginning July 1, 2016. Funds will be disbursed as needed for each project, and one-time funds can be made available if a permanent allocation will not be needed immediately, such as in the case of a hiring plan that will take some time to implement. Areas will need to identify the account(s) into which the funding is to be allocated, via a template, which will be available soon.
What is the timing of disbursements?
New project funding, both one-time and PBL, will be allocated after July 1, 2016. Areas will need to identify the account(s) into which the funding is to be allocated, via a template, which will be available soon.
What is the difference between “one-time” and “PBL” funds?
PBL refers to an ongoing base-level budget. In general, PBL is a recurring fund source for planning purposes, although PBL can increase or decrease through budget reductions or reallocations. One-time funds, as the name suggests, are temporary in nature. Once used, these funds are not replaced. Typical one-time costs are start-ups or equipment.
How do these new allocations relate to the five-percent reduction that colleges and areas funded on the Pullman/Spokane/Everett budget are being required to implement?
The reallocated funds are not to reimplement activities and programs that were supported by funds offered to meet budget targets prescribed by the reallocation process. Reallocated funds need to be used for new initiatives and programs proposed in approved projects.
Will a reallocation process be implemented every year?
The reallocation initiative is a one-time budget action. The new president will decide if, when, and how additional reallocations might occur. As discussed above, the Office of the Provost and the Vice President for Research will organize periodic, regular annual reviews of progress on funded initiatives.
What is the duration of the investments selected from this process?
The RFP guidelines call for proposals whose outcomes may require up to five years to fully complete, with an annual progress evaluation for each funded project. In addition, funded projects are intended to support university growth to enable additional strategic investments in the future. For investments of PBL that span longer time horizons than 5 years (e.g., a tenured or tenure-track faculty hire), it is the expectation that the University’s strategic mission will continue to be served in demonstrable ways by the investment once the proposed 5-year outcomes are achieved.
What is the companion seed grant competition?
The seed grant competition is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of Research. Seed grant proposals will be submitted by faculty, in contrast to the “Stragetic Reallocation RFP” for which submissions are to be made by the deans. The competition is intended to fund smaller research and student success projects whose purpose upon completion is to provide support for the creation of refined and larger scale research projects and extramurally funded proposals. The seed grants are intended to improve competitiveness for external funding, and/or result in publications, patents, or exhibitions/performances, student retention, and progress toward graduation as appropriate to the PI’s discipline and project focus. Both research and student success seed grant proposals are open to all faculty members with appointments continuing through at least the 2016-17 academic year at the Pullman, Spokane, and Everett campuses, with involvement of staff, as appropriate. Although seed grant proposals will receive extra priority for funding if multi-disciplinary, they do not have to be multi-disciplinary. See details and RFP guidelines here:
Grand Challenges Seed Grants
Student Success Seed Grants
Where can I get additional information?
Questions can be sent to: RFP_Questions@wsu.edu. Please designate in the subject line: Research RFP, Student Success RFP, or both (Research and Student Success RFP), or you can call Kristina Peterson-Wilson at (509) 335-8915.