The IDEA Blog



Read the thoughts and impressions on a variety of topics written by IDEA staff as well as occasional guest bloggers.

IDEA’s Year-End Fundraising Challenge: Join Us and Make an Impact
October 14, 2016

Brian Niehoff, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Kansas State University
IDEA Board Member

I serve on IDEA’s Board of Directors, and have witnessed how IDEA’s feedback and professional development tools have enhanced faculty development and improved student learning. I have also seen campuses on which campus-developed, highly idiosyncratic tools for assessment, have been developed, some of which are useful and some that are not. What sets IDEA apart from other organizations is our focus on research, and how that research informs the development of our feedback tools and ultimately affects student learning. As Associate Provost at Kansas State University, I am proud of IDEA’s founding at KSU 41 years ago, and of its continued emphasis on the value of student voice in assessing teaching and learning effectiveness.

As a student of organizational behavior, and how organizations serve as good community citizens, I have been happy to be part of IDEA’s growth in advancing our nonprofit mission on behalf of teaching and learning practitioners in higher education. Our Impact Grants are important extensions of IDEA’s core mission to improve teaching and learning. Funded through private donations and corporate sponsorships, the competitive Impact Grant application process will kick off again January, with applications due in March, and award decisions being made in early May. Our grants make much-needed financial resources available for teaching and learning and campus climate projects all across the country. For example, at Tufts University, IDEA Impact Grant-funded researchers are examining the impact of inclusive teaching on student learning. At Point Loma Nazarene University, IDEA Impact Grant funding is helping to lay the groundwork for mentoring of faculty. And, at University of Massachusetts – Lowell, the IDEA Impact Grant is funding the creation of a series of videos and exercises promoting evidence-based learning strategies that instructors and students can utilize.

It is heartening to know that IDEA gives back to the learning community in such important ways. I hope you have a similar sense of the value that the Impact Grants have.

As our IDEA Impact Match Challenge fundraiser kicks off this week, I thank our current individual and corporate donors for their support. I know that you believe that IDEA makes a difference in teaching and learning. I also hope that you recognize the exciting new direction our grant making is taking the IDEA concept. My hope is that you will again think of IDEA in your year-end giving plans as we rise to the challenge of raising $25,000 by December 31st so that we can receive a $5,000 challenge gift made available by a generous donor.

For those of you who’ve not yet made a financial donation to IDEA, I would like to encourage you to do so before December 31. The IDEA Impact Grant program has already assisted a number of institutions enhance their teaching and learning missions. Your gift will help make a difference for more faculty and students all across the country. Thank you for your support!

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