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Preaward: The Proposal Writing Stage

Persuasive Proposal Writing

Each sponsor has a particular vital concern and is looking for solutions to particular problems. Each has a different sense of how the world currently is and how it ought to be. Grantseekers have to show how their work will fill that precise gap. The best proposals go beyond mere compliance with the guidelines and speak directly to the sponsor’s needs. The Grants Team has over 90 years of experience crafting and refining proposals that are responsive to each sponsor’s requests and priorities. 

Proposal Development through Compression Planning® with Storyboarding

Our high rate of successfully funded proposals is partly due to our use of Compression Planning® with storyboarding to help faculty and staff turn ideas into feasible projects and fundable proposals. This small-group process permits us to develop ideas and plan projects more effectively and efficiently.

Image of a group gathered around a blue board. They are writing their ideas on cards and posting them to the board.

Logic Models

The Grants Office creates logic models for many of our projects. Logic models are visual depictions of how our programs will lead to our desired outcomes. Not only do they help funders understand what we aim to do and how we will do it, they also help us during the planning stage to clarify our priorities, define what we’ll do, identify what resources we’ll need, and confirm what results we aim to achieve.

Sample Abstracts from Successful Sponsored Projects

The transportation sector is in the midst of a major transition to electric vehicles as automotive manufacturers have launched large electric vehicle development programs. Automotive technician training programs will need to adjust to these changes by providing technical education that focuses on electric vehicle technologies. Students need to learn how to diagnose a new set of problems and how to use equipment and tools to maintain these vehicles. This project will develop a new certificate program in hybrid and electric vehicle technology leading to an associate degree in automotive technology. Technician training will focus on the theory, operation, diagnosis, service, and repair of systems related to the propulsion of electric vehicles. Professional development workshops will be provided for postsecondary educators so that they can upgrade their automotive technology programs. During the workshop, participants will learn about battery technology, electric motors, and safety procedures through classroom instruction and hands-on learning experiences with electric vehicles and service equipment. High school students will have the opportunity to learn about careers in automotive technology through summer camps in which students will learn the hands-on basics of vehicle maintenance.

The primary goal of this project is to help develop the technician workforce that can support the new infrastructure for electric vehicles. This project aims to increase the capacity of faculty to prepare automotive technicians to repair and service electric vehicles, the number of automotive technician graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose and repair electric vehicles, and the number of high school students enrolling in automotive technology degree and certificate programs. Faculty in automotive technology programs at two-year institutions will be recruited to participate in a summer workshop on electric vehicle technologies. Workshop participants will have hands-on learning opportunities focused on diagnostics, testing, and repair procedures. The project will develop a new certificate program that will provide students with advanced training in high-voltage safety systems, removing/replacing batteries, servicing electric drive motors, diagnosing electric power convertors, and other skills needed to service battery electric vehicles. Technician training will focus on the theory, operation, diagnosis, service, and repair of vehicle systems. The project will recruit high school students from traditionally underrepresented groups for automotive summer camps designed to increase students’ interest in taking automotive technician courses. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.

Buildings account for a major portion of the total U.S. energy consumption. Making buildings more energy efficient is a goal of the high-performance building technology industry. Achieving this goal requires hiring more building performance technicians, but the demand for these technicians outstrips the supply. Building performance technical work includes all aspects of facility operations and maintenance, including whole-system analysis and energy management. Thus, success in the building technology workforce requires the knowledge and skills needed to install, implement, and maintain complex building systems. This project intends to increase the pipeline of highly skilled building performance technicians by creating a new stackable certificate program, offering dual enrollment courses for high school students, providing training for high school teachers, and conducting outreach activities. By expanding career pathways into the building performance workforce, the project aims to broaden participation of women and other groups that are underrepresented in the building technology workforce and that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project will address a significant and growing demand for entry-level high performance building technicians in Southwest Ohio. The overall goal of the project is to expand the pipeline of skilled technicians who have the skills to reduce energy consumption in buildings. To this end, the project will develop a stackable short-term certificate with embedded industry-recognized credentials. Students who earn this credential will be prepared to take industry certification exams and enter the building performance workforce. Specific aims of the project include to: (1) create a new postsecondary certificate program that can be completed by high school students; (2) train high school teachers to deliver postsecondary course content; (3) pilot an outreach program to raise awareness of technical career opportunities among youth, particularly from communities not equitably represented in the building technician workforce; (4) provide a structured approach to guide high school students and unemployed/ underemployed adults onto building performance career pathways; and (5) improve student learning by upgrading labs with the latest building technologies. Using student surveys, student interviews, and institutional data, the project will assess the impact of the certificate program on student learning and the impact of outreach activities on recruiting students from communities that are underrepresented in the technical workforce. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.

This innovative, collaborative proposal leverages the strengths of two institutions to create a unique opportunity for under-represented and military-connected students to pursue highly sought STEM degrees with opportunities for meaningful, in-demand careers while reducing the cost of their path to completion. The Central State University - Sinclair Community College STEM Academy will incorporate proven techniques to improve student success while leveraging existing programs to provide maximum efficiency. This opportunity will create a cohesive program to identify and nurture students in pursuing degrees in the in-demand STEM fields needed by employers today and tomorrow. This program is unique in both the broad scope of connected services, as well as a new partnership between Central State University and Sinclair Community College. Starting in high school, students can select from four STEM pathways, transitioning to Sinclair Community College for eleven Associate degrees and then to Central State University with a total of fifteen possible Baccalaureate degrees. All four pathways will be available during the pilot phase; recruitment into this program is primarily a commitment to pursue a STEM path to CSU, so having all pathways available immediately will increase the recruitment pool.

The ability to offer funding for tuition, books and fees for students with financial need removes a barrier for many students seeking work who may have the opinion that college is too costly or otherwise inaccessible. The ability to provide this funding across a broad range of short-term certificate programs will allow Sinclair representatives to approach regional employers, associations, community benefit organizations, and governments with an important tool that will allow stakeholders to respond nimbly to the region’s employment needs.

Sinclair will primarily adopt a two-pronged approach to promote the certificates available under this program. One is focused on recruiting students with financial need to valuable STCs that lead to great jobs with local employers, and the other is focused on preparing incarcerated students for in-demand jobs upon release. Both are aimed squarely at addressing racial and economic inequity.

All STCs to be offered were chosen because they lead to jobs that are in high demand by employers in the Dayton region. When Sinclair students complete their credentials, both graduates and employers benefit due to the close alignment between student and company needs. These highly skilled graduates will be the solution to employers’ workforce skill gaps. Graduates will benefit from entering middle-skill jobs with career pathways leading to increasing salaries and wages that will support their families the communities where they reside.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity for Sinclair to “meet the moment” and reevaluate course design and delivery in the remote learning environment. As a result, Sinclair has developed a two-pronged approach to support more equitable learning outcomes for students in online classrooms. This proof-of-concept model will influence four pillars of the student experience: course design, course delivery, course support, and course data. Specifically, we will hire one Equity Instructional Designer (EID) and one Equity Success Coach (ESC) for a period of three years. The EID and ESC will collaborate to develop a research-based Equity Rubric as an instrument to assess and (re)design online courses and online student support practices. 

The Equity Rubric will: 

  • reveal any inequities or inherent biases in course design and delivery
  • mitigate any exclusionary practices that produce outcome disparities
  • ensure that the course design and learning activities are presented with equity in mind
  • address forms of bias such as image representation bias and human interaction bias

The EID will apply the Equity Rubric across high-risk, low-success online courses to rebuild, revise, and reformulate courses to meet the criteria of the equity rubric. The ESC will provide in-course support in targeted high-enrollment, low-success online courses that have been (re)designed with fidelity to the Equity Rubric. The ESC will deploy in-course coaching strategies focused on social-emotional learning and behavioral interventions that align with the Equity Rubric, and will partner with faculty to improve student success through equitable learner-centered strategies and technologies.