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Concerns about perceived limitations imposed by institutional structures, policies and practices continue to be expressed even as graduate students’ scholarly, research and creative interests are increasingly focused at the intersections of disciplines.  To help address these concerns, the Graduate School invites proposals for innovative ideas in interdisciplinary graduate education.   Proposals are solicited that have the potential to enhance interdisciplinary graduate education at the University of Minnesota by introducing innovative programming, promising institutional practices, or new opportunities for graduate students to facilitate research, scholarship or creative activity across traditional disciplinary boundaries.  Preference will be given to ideas that cross colleges and/or departments, and to those that could be adopted by others seeking to enhance interdisciplinary graduate education.

Submission deadline: 

Proposals must be submitted electronically to the Graduate School no later than Friday, February 14, 2014. 

Eligibility criteria: 

Any member of the graduate education community (currently enrolled students, University faculty and staff, department, graduate program, or college) is eligible to submit a proposal.  Ideally, submitters will engage with constituencies across multiple disciplines in developing their proposal.

Required elements of the proposal: 

Proposals must be submitted electronically and include the following information:

  • The name of the individual or entity submitting the proposal (if an individual, the individual’s status—e.g., Director of Graduate Studies, department head, graduate student)
  • A description of the proposed innovation
  • Supporting information, to include:
    • the expected benefit of the innovation
    • who will benefit from it
    • the steps or process needed to implement the innovation
    • the process and criteria that will be used to evaluate success
    • a timeline for planning, implementation and evaluation
    • identification of potential partners (their concurrence is not needed at this stage)
    • the estimated cost of implementing the innovation on a one-time and/or recurring basis.

Selection criteria: 

Proposals will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Alignment of the proposed innovation with the Graduate School’s vision and mission 
  • The likelihood of a positive impact on graduate students and their education
  • The feasibility of sustaining the innovation beyond the implementation year
  • The scope of the proposed innovation and the potential for its adoption by others seeking to enhance interdisciplinary graduate education

Selection process:

Proposals will be judged on the basis of the above criteria in a competitive process overseen by the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education in consultation with a review committee comprised of faculty and graduate students.


Modest awards (up to $5,000) will be made to the proposers of the best three ideas to recognize and help launch the ideas.  A single award will be made in the case of proposals with multiple authors.  Award recipients will be invited to consult with the Graduate School staff regarding the development of their ideas.  The Graduate School will promote the winning ideas and, in collaboration with relevant University units, will pursue the development and implementation of ideas that have broad institutional scope. 

Awards will be announced by early April.


A report to the Graduate School on the implementation and success of the innovation will be required no later than July 1, 2015.


For questions, contact Vicki Field, Graduate School Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives, 612-625-6532 or