Provost’s Initiative on Teaching Advancement (PITA)

The Initiative

PITA grants enable recipients to design, implement, and assess instructional and pedagogical innovation that has a high probability of enhancing education at Illinois. The projects most likely to be funded are those that clearly align with campus educational goals, and where PITA award resources might be leveraged to increase external support. Activities that may be supported by PITA grants include, but are not limited to:

  1. Projects that strengthen excellence in instruction by way of teacher-to-teacher mentoring and evaluation. Proposals that involve one or more of the college Teaching Academies are especially encouraged.
  2. Projects that improve existing courses. Viable improvements include the incorporation of innovative educational technologies, or the development of community-engagement opportunities.
  3. Development of new courses and pilot classes that are intended to become part of the core curriculum of a department or program.
  4. Instructional research or assessment that examines the effectiveness of some aspect of instructional practice or that develops methods to measure instructional effectiveness.
  5. Projects aimed to better assess and improve degree programs.  Viable improvements include the design and implementation of assessment strategies such as rubrics, capstone courses or projects, or ePortfolio adoption.

PITA funding is not available to support the redesign of highly specialized courses.

In addition, the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning may provide PITA award recipients limited support.


The objectives of PITA are:

  • To support the continuous improvement of instructors on campus, including specialized faculty and TAs.
  • To support the implementation of teaching innovations and enhancements (not including equipment).
  • To encourage the development of multiple, discipline-appropriate assessment alternatives (e.g., teaching portfolios, peer evaluation, and mentoring programs), and the dissemination of successful models to other units for use in support of teaching improvement.
  • To seek broad participation from the many disciplines across campus.
  • To increase visibility of teaching excellence, enhancement, innovation, and assessment across and beyond the campus community.


Any college, school, department, instructional unit, or working group representing more than one academic unit may apply, as may any individual instructional staff member. Each proposal must be endorsed by the appropriate unit executive officer(s). Multi-unit proposals should designate a lead administrative unit (see below).

Grants are for a one-year period. Grants of $7,500 will be awarded.

Budgeted items may include a mixture of resources needed to complete the project, including graduate assistant support, materials and supplies, travel support, and discretionary funds.

In addition to a mid-year summary, grant recipients are to provide a written final report that:

  • Summarizes the activities and results as they relate to the proposed objectives.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the results.
  • Suggest ways that the results might be replicated or improved.
  • Summarize the activities and results as they relate to opportunities for securing external funding or resources.

Grant recipients are expected to participate in the Annual Faculty Retreat in the Spring as well as campus-wide workshops on teaching advancement and/or assessment workshops. In addition, all final reports will be shared with the campus community.


The Teaching Advancement Board (TAB) will evaluate proposals and present recommendations for awards to the Provost. Selection criteria include:

  • To what extent would the successful completion of the project improve the quality of teaching and learning on this campus? To that end, does the proposal include specific mechanisms for measuring and assessing improvement in teaching and learning not only in the individual course but in the program?
  • To what extent would the successful completion of the project contribute to knowledge about how to assess teaching effectiveness and student learning? Does the proposal describe specific approaches to measuring the enhancement of teaching effectiveness? Are these approaches clearly grounded in a disciplinary tradition of inquiry, or in inquiry practices recognized in the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) community?
  • What is the likelihood that the project can be completed within the proposed time frame and budget?
  • To what extent might the funding of a PITA grant for this project be leveraged into increased external support? For example, how might the PITA grant serve as seed money for a teaching initiative that may then be leveraged into a viable proposal for external funding? Alternatively, how might the PITA grant help secure additional support from external source(s) for the proposed project?


Proposals should be limited to three pages, excluding the endorsements defined below, and should include the following information:

Project overview

Title and 300-word abstract.

Project narrative

  • Clear identification of the project objectives.
  • Project rationale and relation to the current state of knowledge in the field.
  • A description of the project plan for achieving the stated objectives, including an implementation timeline and mechanisms for measuring outcomes.
  • An explanation of how the PITA grant might be leveraged to secure or compete for external support.
  • Explanation of the practical impact the project’s anticipated outcomes will have on teaching and learning at Illinois, and the visibility it will provide beyond the campus community.

Funding justification

Use the budget categories mentioned above under “Terms.”


  • A letter of endorsement from each proposer’s unit executive officer (UEO), indicating agreement that the proposal aligns with the unit’s aims within the framework of the Campus Strategic Plan, and college-level elaborations therof. Each UEO’s cover letter should make explicit reference to the proposal’s title and the name of the lead proposer. If applicable, letters should specifically address any unit cost-sharing mentioned in the proposal’s budget.
  • Endorsement of the lead proposer’s college dean. The dean’s endorsement should make explicit reference to the proposal’s title and the name of the lead proposer. It should also specifically address any college cost-sharing mentioned in the proposal’s budget.
  • *Optional* For assessment projects, if you received an endorsement from the Council of Learning Outcomes Assessment (C-LOA) that indicates an exemplar program assessment process is underway in the unit, you are encouraged to include it with your submission.

Past or current PITA grant holders are eligible to apply.


To apply, please email proposal to Please be sure that the proposal includes contact information for the lead proposer (e-mail address and telephone number).


March 25th – Deadline for applications to be submitted.

End of Spring Semester– Recipient(s) will be notified.

*When a deadline falls on a weekend or campus holiday, applications will be due the next business day.

Previous Recipients
Award RecipientAdditional PartnersDepartmentAward Year
Shelly SchdmitSaad Sheab, Amy LemanFSHN2023
Vishal SachdevUnnati NarangBus Admin2023
Shandra JamisonCarlos E. Brown, Jr., Althena Ryals, Mae VogelCICOM2023
Wenhao David HuangEunjung Grace OhEPOL2023
Ben SchappMaria Bonn, Sharon ComstockiSchool2023
Annie AbbottSaad ShehabSpanish & Portuguese2022
Catherine CorrLynn BurdickSpecial Education2022
James DallingPlant Biology2022
Barbara HugChristina KristCurriculum & Instruction2022
Kevin TanSocial Work2022
Angel GarciaEnglish2021
Ewa MaslowskaAdvertising2021
Karin JensenHolly GoleckiBioengineering2021
Chi-Fang WuSocial Work2021
Karin JensenBioengineering2021
Teresa OstlerSocial Work2020
Elise McCarrenChemistry2020
Christian RayChemistry2020
Cynthia KocherTheater2020
Craig LundstromGeology2019
Robert Wallon2019
Rachel SwitzkySiebel Center for Design2019
Dawn BohnFSHN2019
Ann ReisnerMedia & Cinema Studies2018
Cory PettijohnEarth, Society & Environment2018
Aimy WissaMSE2017
Marianne AlleyneEntomology2017
Tracy ParishBusiness2017
Nicole CookeiSchool2017
Ellen FiremanStatistics2017
Blake JohnsonMSE2017
Goeffrey HermanComputer Science2017
Ann-Perry WitmerEngineering2015
Grace GiorgioCommunication2015
Eunjung Grace OhEPOL2015
Mark SteinbergHistory2015
Annette McCoyVet Clinical Med2015

Note: Due to budgetary constraints the PITA awards were temporarily paused in 2016.