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Planning Engineering Exchange Programs From The Proposal To Final Evaluation

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.323.1 - 2.323.13

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Thomas R Phillips

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

2) Is the applicant capable of doing the proposed work? ⇒ Does the applicant understand the problem or need? ⇒ Quality of the project design (clear objectives, workable approach, good evaluation plan, etc.) ⇒ Adequate resources? – money, personnel, facilities, equipment, supplies, etc. ⇒ Qualified personnel in key roles? ⇒ Prior relevant experience? ⇒ Commitment of the applicant and any other participants? ⇒ Sufficient contribution of resources by each participant? ⇒ Does their prior work in this area indicate a stake in the success of the project? ⇒ Likelihood of continuation after the end of the grant?

3) What is the potential for the dissemination of information? Will other organizations be able to use this? (This requires an understanding of what can be learned from the project, why that knowledge is important, to whom it is important, and how to make it useful) Ten Common Problems in Grant Proposals “Over-Written” proposals: A FIPSE or NSF grant announcement begins with broad philosophical statements about the program and its objectives. Some applicants use the introduction as a proposal outline, and in an effort to address every possible issue, they make insupportable claims and promises. It is important to get straight to the key points: the need or problem, a clear solution and outcomes, and a workable plan for implementation, dissemination, and evaluation. Applicants should write their proposals around the criteria for evaluation.

Writers must avoid making simple concepts more complicated than they have to be. The trick is to translate sophisticated or complex ideas into plain English. Even a short ‘dissertation’ is probably overkill. Writers must ask if the proposal is overly ambitious -- are the planners trying to do too much? In a ‘busy’ proposal it is easy to lose sight of the key concepts and objectives, and once that happens, the proposed activities probably won’t get the job done. Writers should build a tight, coherent working plan around a few well-defined objectives. Less can be more.

The best proposals are elegant in their simplicity, and at least where FIPSE is concerned, suitable for reading by an educated layperson. Failure to differentiate the proposed activity from what already exists: This was a common shortcoming in proposals for international curriculum development. The projects dealt with lecture and lab courses, software, Internet-based teaching materials, course materials for distance learning, data bases, and resource centers. It becomes harder each day to conceive of totally original or unique projects. Academic exchange, practical experience, curriculum development, and distance learning are familiar concepts, but may be new in a given context or application.

It may not be easy to document existing courses, software, and Web materials – but the effort must be made. This would have to be done for a product development and marketing plan, so why should this be any different? A lot of this work is done under grants, so reports often exist in print or on the Web. One way to send up a red flag is to just say that “nothing of this kind exists.” It is more impressive to see a clear explanation of how the proposed work is the same, complementary, or different from existing efforts. Disconnect between international curriculum development and student exchange activity:. In a number of the proposals for international faculty curriculum development and travel support, the student exchange component was disconnected, almost an afterthought. Some proposals lost points because the curriculum development work could have been done by faculty, without moving or

Phillips, T. R. (1997, June), Planning Engineering Exchange Programs From The Proposal To Final Evaluation Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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