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Washington State University
Washington State University Office of the Provost

Initiatives Student Success Seed Grant

2017 Student Success Seed Grant Program

As a community, we’ve dedicated ourselves to providing students with a transformational educational experience. This dedication is evident in much of what our faculty and staff do on a daily basis, and it’s confirmed by results like our recent No. 1 national ranking among public colleges and universities for the value added to the student experience through academic and co-curricular opportunities. But while we take pride in our achievements, we remain mindful of the work we have to do and resolute in the belief that our best is still ahead of us. Achieving our student success goals requires a continuous commitment to innovation and excellence, an intentional effort to align interventions with institutional strategy, and a shared vision enabling collaboration across our institution. To help facilitate this, accrued funding from the 2016 reallocation is being extended in order to invite new applications for the Student Success Seed Grant Program. Together we will bring forth and develop the best ideas and solutions for increasing student persistence, graduation rates, and learning outcomes, and continue our commitment to providing a transformative student experience at a preeminent public research university.

Purpose of the Student Success Seed Grant Program

The Program is designed to support the development, replication, and dissemination of innovative solutions that demonstrate success for addressing widespread challenges in postsecondary education for students who are at risk for not completing an undergraduate degree. A specific focus of the program is to improve student persistence and completion outcomes at Washington State University. Successful proposals for Student Success Seed Grants will demonstrate a clear plan for securing subsequent major external funding to continue, expand, and advance interventions.

Seed Grant Stages

Two stages are awarded under this program: a “Development” stage and a “Scale-Up” stage. Although it is expected that successful proposals will receive both, Scale-up funding is only provided to projects that, following the Development stage, meet reporting and funding requirements, show evidence of promising practices, and have a detailed plan for subsequent major external funding.

Development stage grants support new or substantially more-effective practices for improving student persistence and completion outcomes at Washington State University. Applications must be based on strong theory and supported by evidence to support the project’s effectiveness and readiness for implementation. The Development stage will boost existing collaborations or create new collaborations among faculty and student service professionals. The project period for the Development stage is 12 to 14 months.

Scale-up stage grants provide funding to support expansion and achieve sustainability of successful Development projects. Scale-up grants provide financial support for evaluation, further research, intervention refinement, and major proposal development. Scale-up grants receive priority status for limited submissions from WSU and assistance from the Seed Grant Management Team (comprised of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost) in proposal submission and project implementation. The project period for the Scale-up stage is 4 to 6 months.

Indicators of Successful Projects

The Student Success Seed Grants Program provides resources to advance the Washington State University Strategic Plan and the Drive to 25. Successful projects are aligned with the University’s commitment to providing a transformative student experience through high-impact practices and will further institutional community efforts to achieve the following goals:

  1. Provide an excellent teaching and learning opportunity to a larger and more diverse student population
  2. Provide a university experience centered on student engagement, development, and success, which prepares graduates to lead and excel in a diverse United States and global society
  3. Improve curricular and student support infrastructure to enhance access, educational quality, and student success in a growing institution

Competitive Priority

Student Success Seed Grants support the goals of WSU’s Drive to 25. Drive to 25 is our shared commitment to achieve recognition as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities, preeminent in research and discovery, teaching, and engagement by 2030.

The Drive to 25 builds on the cornerstones of our institutional Strategic Plan and its two pivotal goals:

  • WSU will offer a transformative educational experience to undergraduate and graduate students
  • WSU will accelerate the development of a preeminent research portfolio

A key metric in WSU’s Drive to 25 is the number of undergraduates engaged in research, scholarship, and creative discovery. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, these experiences constitute “high-impact educational practices,” improving persistence and educational outcomes. Washington State University is well positioned to provide these transformational experiences in all disciplines, but there is a need to expand both availability and participation. Therefore, reviewers will provide a competitive preference for applications that propose to increase the number of undergraduates who participate in research, scholarship, and creative discovery through one or more of the following experiences:

  • courses that included a community-based project (service-learning)
  • work with a faculty member on a research project
  • internships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, or clinical placements
  • study abroad
  • culminating senior experience (capstone course, senior project or thesis, comprehensive exam, portfolio, etc.)


The Student Success Seed Grant Program is meant to encourage and facilitate external proposal submission as well as collaboration across campus.  Therefore, Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator eligibility is consistent with University policy developed by the Office of Research. Because many external submissions require PIs and teams with expertise in research, evaluation, theory, and practice, the strength of the personnel and collaboration involved will be considered when funding proposals. In addition, Seed Grant proposals are required to incorporate partnerships with either the Office of Undergraduate Education or Division of Student Affairs.

Tenure Accruing and Non-Tenure Accruing Faculty, as defined by the Faculty Manual, may submit proposals and must be approved by their Department before submission.

Temporary Faculty, Administrative Professional (A/P) and Other Staff (O/S) may submit proposals and must be approved by their Department before submission. In addition, appropriate University officials (typically a supervisor) must ensure these employees understand their roles and responsibilities associated with managing a sponsored project.

Previous Student Success Seed Grant awardees are not eligible to serve as PIs.

If an application is submitted to develop or scale an intervention already in existence at WSU, evidence of promise or effectiveness, as well as a description of what obstacles are preventing development currently, must be provided in the proposal.

Application and Submission

RFP announced: March 8, 2017

Applications due: April 14, 2017

Funding decisions announced: April 28, 2017

Funding available: July 1, 2017

Contact and Seed Grant Management Team

The Office of the Provost and Division of Student Affairs jointly administer the pre and post-award processes for the Student Success Seed Grants Program.

Office of the Provost: Michael Highfill, Director, Student Success Initiatives

Division of Student Affairs: Lucila Loera, Asst. Vice President

Project Period and Funding

Student Success Seed Grants have a project period of 18 months and include two stages. Award maximum is $25,000 for the total project period.