BreakingGround Grants Available

Beverly Bickel is a clinical associate professor of language, literacy and culture at UMBC. Eloise Grose is Program Coordinator, service-Learning, Community Partnerships at UMBC’s Shriver Center.

Bev Bickel 2eloise-groseUMBC faculty, staff and students can apply for BreakingGround grants to support courses and projects that develop civic agency: the capacity to initiate and make meaningful contributions to social change. Since BreakingGround’s launch in 2012, the BreakingGround grant program has supported 34 courses and course-based projects, and 22 additional projects involving research, innovative practices, and community engagement. Grants have typically been in the range of $1.500 to $2,000.

Funds for BreakingGround grants have been provided by Provost Philip Rous. The grants seek to advance UMBC’s vision of “redefining excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement.”

The application form is available online. However, you do not need to have a fully developed concept to get started. We would love to talk with you and connect you with others involved with BreakingGround to help flesh out your ideas. Contact us: Beverly to talk about grants to support courses and course-related projects, and Eloise to talk about grants to support other civic agency-building projects. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact the authors: Beverly Bickel at bickel@umbc.edu, and Eloise Grose at elgrose1@umbc.edu.

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BreakingGround Grants Available for 2015-2016

Beverly Bickel is a clinical associate professor of language, literacy and culture at UMBC. Sara Leidner is UMBC’s Coordinator of Student Life for Student Organizations and Involvement.

Bev Bickel 3Sara Leidner 2UMBC faculty, staff and students can apply for BreakingGround grants of up to $2,000 to support courses and projects that develop civic agency: the capacity to initiate and make meaningful contributions to social change. Thanks to support from Provost Philip Rous, a total of $35,000 is available for 2015-2016.

Since BreakingGround’s launch in August 2012, members of the UMBC community have developed or redesigned 33 courses and created 18 innovative community projects with BreakingGround grant support. Read about those courses and projects here:

Jill Wrigley--Food forest installationSpring 2015 courses and projects
Fall 2014 courses and projects
Spring 2014 courses and projects
Fall 2013 courses and projects
Spring 2013 courses and projects
Fall 2012 courses and projects

The application form is available online. However, you do not need to have a fully developed concept to get started. The two of us would love to talk with you and connect you with others involved with BreakingGround to help flesh out your ideas. Contact us: Beverly to talk about grants to support courses, and Sara to talk about grants to support other civic agency-building projects. We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact the authors: Beverly Bickel at bickel@umbc.edu, and Sara Leidner at leidner@umbc.edu.

BreakingGround Community Program Showcase

Sara Leidner is coordinator for student organizations and involvement in UMBC’s Office of Student Life.

Sara Leidner 2As a member of the BreakingGround Community Program Committee I’m excited to share that on Wednesday March 4th there will be a BreakingGround Community Program Grant Showcase. From 12-1pm in Commons 318, UMBC community members are invited to a luncheon to celebrate, share experiences, network, and problem solve.  For the first time, past BreakingGround Community Program Grant recipients and those interested in learning more about BreakingGround initiatives will come together to share their progress and talk about ways to make meaningful, long-term contributions to the campus or surrounding community.

Since August 2012, faculty, staff and students have developed 17 innovative programs (including 6 this past fall semester) through BreakingGround Community Program Grants, with funds provided by the Provost’s Office. Funds are still available for the spring semester, and I encourage students, faculty, and staff to apply. We are looking for programs that position the participants to learn about issues, build connections, apply their creativity, and deepen their community engagement.

In addition to attending the upcoming showcase, you can also learn more about the grant application process by meeting with the BreakingGround Program Grant Committee. The committee is available to help applicants at all stages of their proposal writing process. The committee helps applicants with brainstorming (for those who are early in their planning process) and refining proposal drafts. If you are interested in getting further support, please email me to set up a meeting. Additionally, check out some other programs that have been funded in previous semesters: Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014.

I hope to see you at the BreakingGround Community Program Grant Showcase. If you’re able to attend, please RSVP by Friday February 27th.

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at sleidner@umbc.edu.

BreakingGround Community Program Grants Available

Sara Leidner is coordinator for student organizations and involvement in UMBC’s Office of Student Life.

Sara Leidner 2I have been a member of the BreakingGround Community Program Committee (formerly known as “UMBCServes”) for almost 5 years, working with creative change agents from the Shriver Center, Residential Life, Student Life, GSA and SGA. From a committee that formed to coordinate UMBC departments’ community service programs, we have evolved into a connection point and advisory group for student organizations and departments hoping to make creative, meaningful contributions to positive social change.

Thanks to Provost Philip Rous, we also can provide financial support to innovative projects (a total of $5,000 for 2013-2014). Provost Rous created the BreakingGround Community Programs fund to support UMBC departments’ and student organizations’ innovations in service, community partnerships and social problem-solving. We are looking for programs that position the participants to learn about issues, build connections, apply their creativity and deepen their community engagement.

Last year, the BreakingGround Community Program Committee awarded 6 grants to groups of UMBC undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members who developed amazing projects. We look forward to supporting additional innovations this year, and would love to talk with members of the UMBC community about your ideas. Take a look at the BreakingGround Community Program application, and consider attending one of our brainstorming workshops for prospective applicants (the first is Wednesday, October 2nd from 10 – 11 a.m. in Commons 327; others are listed in the application). We encourage students, faculty and staff to apply, and are happy to answer questions and work with you even if you cannot attend a workshop, and even if you are not requesting funds.

UMBC sophomore Katie Cano worked with the Shriver Center to develop a project that received a BreakingGround Community Program Grant in 2012-2013. Here she shares some of what she learned from the process:

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at sleidner@umbc.edu.

Accessibility Hack Day

Sara Leidner, UMBC’s coordinator of student life for student organizations and involvement, is the chair of UMBCServes.

Sara Leidner 2BreakingGround Community Program Grants fund innovative educational projects related to social change developed by UMBC organizations and departments. The grants are an incentive to transform what might otherwise have been one-shot service opportunities into forums for the development of civic agency. The grants program is administered by UMBCServes, a group of UMBC staff and students supporting opportunities for applied learning and community engagement.

I’ve been talking to some of this year’s grant recipients, asking them to share their ideas and stories. This video features Shaun Kane, a member of UMBC’s faculty in Information Systems, who shares the excitement and momentum behind the upcoming Accessibility Hack Day (tentatively scheduled for April 5-7, 2013).

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my conversations with grant recipients in the coming weeks.

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at sleidner@umbc.edu.

Community Program Grants Awarded, Next Deadline 2/15

Sara Leidner is coordinator for student organizations and involvement in UMBC’s Office of Student Life.

Sara LeidnerThe deadline to apply for BreakingGround Community Program Grants has been extended to February 15, 2013. All UMBC offices, departments and recognized student organizations are eligible for this award, funded by the Provost’s Office. Three innovative community projects have already received funding:

Accessibility Hack Day: UMBC’s Prototyping and Design Research Lab (Department of Information Systems) will engage students in a competition to develop and test ideas for making video games that are accessible to people with various disabilities. Participants in this daylong event on campus will form project groups, propose ideas, build prototypes and submit their designs to a panel of expert judges, including representatives from nonprofit organizations serving people with disabilities. The goal of the project is to spark students’ interest in developing innovative technical solutions for people with disabilities, not just in the context of voluntary service but in their careers in technology-related fields.

Community Arts Projects at UMBC Professional Development Schools: UMBC’s Teacher Education Unit (Department of Education) will support UMBC students aspiring to be teachers as they develop community arts projects with teachers, students and parents at selected local elementary schools (most of which serve families living at or below poverty level). The projects will be designed to deepen cultures of collaboration at each school site; increase UMBC students’ awareness of, and experience in, working with racially, ethnically, economically, and linguistically diverse populations; and enhance all parties’ awareness of the role of the arts in teaching, learning, and community building.

Food for Thought: The UMBC Graduate Student Association will work with local partner Food for Thought to address “food deserts”: urban neighborhoods in which residents face significant challenges in procuring healthy food. UMBC graduate students will teach young people in Pigtown/Washington Village about healthy choices, introduce them to the local community garden, help them plant container gardens of their own, provide cooking classes, and help them become advocates for themselves and their communities in connection with food issues. Participating graduate students will gain connections with each other and with community partners, reflect together on food justice issues, and consider how to integrate lessons from their experiences into their lives.

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at sleidner@umbc.edu.