Below are a set of questions that we believe you may have regarding this fund. Please send additional questions to  altfund.ok@ubc.ca. We will answer you and update this list regularly with the information as appropriate.


General Questions

Q: What is Aspire?

A: Aspire is the Vision for UBC Okanagan’s future, developed consultatively with students, faculty, staff and diverse community stakeholders. The vision highlights the campus’ aspirations and provides strategic direction on Academic, Research and Campus Master Planning. The consultation report highlights priority areas for exploration in four core areas: Transformative Student Learning, Research Excellence, Community Engagement and Place. More information is available at: http://aspire.ok.ubc.ca.

Q: What is the Aspire Learning and Teaching (ALT) Fund?

A: The ALT Fund is a new funding initiative from the Provost of UBC Okanagan meant to catalyze the changes in curriculum, innovations in teaching practice, and enhancements in the learning environment that are envisioned in Aspire. The fund will enable faculty members to make strategic changes within existing, or implement new, undergraduate and graduate academic programs that are more flexible, interdisciplinary, experiential and/or collaborative. The overall goal of the ALT Fund is to transform student learning at UBC Okanagan.

The first Aspire Learning and Teaching (ALT) Fund call was launched in the Fall of 2015, for projects to be funded in the 2016-17 year.  The current call (launched in February 2017) is for the 2018-19 year.
Updated February 24, 2017

Q: Who is managing the Aspire Learning & Teaching (ALT) Fund?

A: The ALT Fund is strategic initiative managed through the Provost’s Office, in partnership with the Deans Council and UBC Okanagan’s centrally positioned units that provide support for teaching and learning (e.g., Centre for Teaching and Learning, Okanagan Planning and Institutional Research, UBC Okanagan Library, IT, Media & Classroom Services). Program administration is provided by the Provost’s Office; questions related to the ALT Fund may be directed to Michelle Lamberson, Director, Flexible Learning Special Projects, UBC Okanagan and Vancouver (michelle.lamberson@ubc.ca) and/or altfund.ok@ubc.ca.


ALT Fund Scope

Q: What types of projects will the ALT Fund support?

A: At its core, the ALT Fund is focused on making an impact at the academic program level. Applicants should be able to articulate how a proposed project, regardless of its scale or focus, provides measurable benefits to one or more academic programs. Hence a range of projects are possible, from innovations at the course level that address a critical program need through to targeted support for development of new flexible learning programs and/or interdisciplinary degree pathways.

The Provost works with the Deans Council to identify a set of priority focus areas that align with UBC Okanagan’s strategic academic objectives. Preference will be given to projects that resonate with those areas. As appropriate, the focus areas are updated each year to reflect any evolution in academic priorities.
Updated February 24, 2017

Q: What types of projects are ineligible for the ALT Fund?

A: The following project types are ineligible to receive funding from the ALT Fund:

  • Projects for which the primary purpose is program evaluation are ineligible.
  • Projects for which the primary purpose is research are ineligible.


Developing an ALT Fund Application

Q: What is the applications process and who is involved?

A: The Provost works closely with the Deans Council to develop the overall goals, guidelines and the Priority Areas of Focus associated with the ALT Fund.

The ALT Fund follows a two-stage, online application process that includes a Letter of Intent (submission date of May 24, 2017 and Full Proposal (submission date of October 4, 2017). The Deans Council reviews the Letter of Intent and recommends to the Provost which proposals should be invited to develop a full proposal. The recommendation at the Letter of Intent stage may include combining the efforts of one or more applicants to strengthen the viability or enhance the possible impact of the proposed project.

The Provost Office and members of UBC Okanagan’s teaching and learning-focused support units will support faculty members who are developing Letters of Intent and Final Proposals as needed and appropriate.

An adjudication committee, comprising individuals selected in consultation with the Provost for their expertise in teaching and learning (including topics such as pedagogy, curriculum, evaluation, and learning technology) will review the final proposals and provide recommendations to the Provost.

The Provost may consult with the Deans prior to making the final selection of proposals to be funded.
Updated February 24, 2017

Q: What are the major differences between what is required of a Letter of Intent and a Full Proposal?

A: The Letter of Intent (LOI) is structured to enable applicants to pitch a good idea for program innovation, whereas the full proposal requires applicants to turn their ideas into a concrete plan.

The Letter of Intent should explain what innovation is planned, why it is significant, what approach will be taken, how the innovation will provide wide benefits and how success will be gauged. In addition, the LOI enables applicants to identify/estimate the supports and expertise that they believe will be needed to undertake the project. An estimate of the budget ask from the Fund is expected, as opposed to a full budget breakdown. In addition, you are asked to indicate the amount that you have committed, or expect to receive, from other sources.

The Full Proposal should articulate the benefits, expected outcomes, work plan, evaluation plan and required resources in detail. A full budget (using the spreadsheet template provided) must be submitted.  The template enables you to articulate the full cost of the project, and provide detail on what is being requested form the fund and what is provided in-kind. Department Heads must indicate how they will support the proposal. Letters of Support can be appended to the proposal.

Q: Who can I go to for advice on developing my Letter of Intent?

A: The ALT Fund is focused on transformation at the academic program level. We recommend that you first discuss your ideas with your colleagues in the Department(s)/Unit(s) associated with the academic program or programs that you will be enhancing with your proposed project. In particular, you, and any co-applicants, will need the support of your Department/Unit Head(s) at both the Letter of Intent and Full Proposal stages. Your Dean(s) will see all Letters of Intent and Final Proposals.

UBC Okanagan’s central service units that support teaching and learning can provide advice on developing your Letter of Intent. The Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) can advise on topics such as pedagogy, instructional design, assessment, learning technology integration and planning. The Office of Planning and Institutional Research (PAIR) can provide feedback and advice on evaluation approaches and methodologies. The Library can provide support on learning resources discovery/development (including open resources) and copyright, licensing and digitization. IT, Media & Classroom Services, in partnership with the CTL, can provide advice on media development, video-conferencing and learning space enhancement or utilization.

You can also request assistance from the Provost Office either by emailing altfund.ok@ubc.ca or contacting Michelle Lamberson (michelle.lamberson@ubc.ca, 250-807-9029).


Budget Considerations

Q: What are the funding limits for individual projects? 

A:  There is no set minimum, but a maximum of $50,000 is available per project. Projects may be up to three years in length. A range of projects will be considered, from projects at the course level that address a critical program need through to targeted support for development of new flexible learning programs and/or interdisciplinary degree pathways. It is anticipated that the awards will be a mix of small and large projects.

Q: What kinds of support can I ask for in my Letter of Intent and Full Proposal?

A: The type of support you may need is dependent on the nature of your project. The “Budget Considerations” component of the Guidelines outlines some of the key restrictions associated with the Fund. It is important to consult with the central support units (CTL, UBC Okanagan Library, PAIR, and IT, Media & Classroom Services).

Common types of support that may be needed include:

  • Graduate and Undergraduate Academic Assistants (project workers)
  • Instructional and curriculum design support
  • Project management/project coordination
  • Media design and production: web-programming, graphic design, videography, animation, post-production
  • Learning resource discovery/development (including open resources) – learning support materials
  • Learning technology development and support
  • Library consultation – resources, copyright, licensing, digitization
  • Professional development – instructors and TAs
  • Evaluation support

Q: Can I ask for equipment from the ALT Fund?

A: This fund is not an equipment fund; however, equipment purchased by an academic program or supplied by other sources may be considered an in-kind expense if the primary use of the equipment is for the project.

Q: What if my project requires media development?

A: If you are planning to develop learning materials in support of flipped classroom or blended learning activities (video material, screen casts, etc.), please identify this as a need in the “Project Approach & Required Support” section of the LOI so that these activities can be scoped in the Full Proposal and service needs identified.

Equipment for this purpose may be provisioned from a central pool of media resources for use during the project.

Q: What if the innovation I propose requires changes in classrooms, specialized software or other learning spaces?

A: If you need specialized facilities or classrooms for your project, please identify those in “Changes to learning spaces/environment considerations” section of the LOI and Full Proposal.
Updated February 24, 2017

Q: Can I apply for teaching release in my proposal?
A: Yes, any teaching releases should be discussed and agreed to in principle at the Letter of Intent Stage; a letter of resource commitment/support from the Department Head/Director should accompany the full proposal.  Any funds requested for teaching buyouts must be matched by the Faculty or Department. The maximum amount of funding available to any project from the ALT Fund is 50% of one teaching buyout for each year of the project. (Updated February 24, 2017)

Q:  I understand that travel associated with dissemination (e.g., conference travel) is not eligible for funding. Can I request travel funds for other purposes (e.g., to support collaborative work between campuses, collect field samples, shoot video at a relevant external location)? 

A: Yes, you can request travel funds (exclusive of dissemination activities) as long as the work associated with the travel contributes meaningfully to advancing your project goals in efficient and effective ways. Please ensure that you indicate how you will gauge the impact of the travel-related work in the appropriate parts of the LOI and Full Proposal. Dissemination costs may be included as in-kind contributions to the project.
Updated February 24, 2017

Q: When should a letter of support be included with a full proposal?

A.  Support letters are required for teaching buyouts and significant investments in infrastructure or services.  Overall, the letters are meant to ensure that 1) all resource commitments are identified and 2) there is a commitment to providing those resources.
Added September 21, 2016

Q. What format should support letters use?

A: Letters may be in the form a succinct email from the person/unit committing the resources to the Lead Applicant.  A PDF of the email can be uploaded to the application system (there are upload buttons for the budget and any support letters). Multiple letters can be merged into one document for efficiency’s sake.
Added September 21, 2016

Q. What information should be included in a support letter?

A: If the letter is from a Department Head/Director, then the following applies:

  • The letter should provide a list of the the resource commitments identified in the budget, and indicate that s/he is aware of and committed to providing the resources if application is successful.
  • In situations where a Department Head/Director is an applicant then a  “one over” rule applies (email/letter from Associate Dean or Dean, as appropriate).
  • If the letter is for a teaching buyout, the letter from the Department Head/Director should indicate that the buyout is approved for the individual and for the specified time, and that workloads have been adjusted to accommodate the commitment.
  • If there is a longer term commitment of resources (e.g., additional TAs needed ongoing), then there should be a statement that acknowledges the longer term commitment, and that s/he is committed to this investment if the project is successful.

If the letter is for resources provided by a service units, a similar type of email is needed. The Director of the unit should indicate that they are aware of and agree to providing the identified resources.

Any significant institutional upgrades, particularly any that involve permits of any kind, will require a letter from Campus Planning.
Added September 21, 2016


Submitting a Letter of Intent

Q: How do I submit my Letter of Intent?

A: All proposals must be submitted through the online ALT Fund’s application system, which will be accessed through the ALT Fund website (http://altfund.ok.ubc.ca).

Q: Will late applications be accepted?

A: No, we regret that late applications will not be accepted.


Submitting a Full Proposal

Q: How do I submit my Full Proposal?

A: All proposals must be submitted through the online ALT Fund’s application system, which will be accessed through the ALT Fund website (http://altfund.ok.ubc.ca).

Q: Who can I ask for advice on developing a Full Proposal?

A: An individual from either the Provost’s Office or one of the teaching and learning support organizations will be assigned to work with those who are invited to develop a full proposal.