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

Hrabowski Fund for Academic Innovation Competition Accepting Proposals (Deadline: Oct. 5)

Do you have a fresh idea on how to enhance teaching and learning at UMBC? The Hrabowski Fund for Academic Innovation Competition is accepting proposals for creative, new initiatives that will increase the success of our undergraduate and graduate students.

Approximately $100,000 will be available for the 2013-14 competition to fund curriculum development, course redesigns and other projects designed to improve or understand student-learning outcomes at UMBC. The competition is open to all faculty, lecturers and instructors with full-time appointments and proposals for funding may be made by individuals or collaborative groups.

Applications will be reviewed twice annually. For the inaugural competition, proposal deadlines are October 5, 2012 and February 8, 2013. The Faculty Development Center (FDC) is available to work with faculty as they develop project ideas. Download the Hrabowski Academic Innovation Fund Call for Proposals Packet to get started and contact FDC Director Linda Hodges for additional details.

Community-Building Grants: Apply by Sept. 30

BreakingGround’s new Community-Building Grant program will award up to $1,000 to UMBC departments and organizations to implement educational and community-building programs relating to social change. Applications are due September 30 for the first round of grants, funded through UMBCServes.

This grant program seeks to encourage campus groups that plan one-time community service projects to transform those programs into forums for the development of civic agency. Proposals should reflect BreakingGround themes and help to position participants to make meaningful, long-term contributions to the campus or surrounding community.

Click here for details and the online application. Questions? Contact Contact Sara Leidner, UMBC’s student organizations and involvement coordinator.