Call for Applications: Center & Institute Initiative to Enhance Remote Learning and Teaching, Columbia University

June 11, 2021


All Columbia University, Barnard College, and Teachers College faculty, instructors, undergraduate and graduate students, TAs, research fellows, and postdocs (if teaching or taking a class in the 2020-21 academic year) are eligible to apply. 


Funding of up to $1,500 per proposal is available. 


Applications for the grants are open via rolling submission throughout the 2020-21 academic year, including the summer term. 


With a challenging academic year ahead, a consortium of Centers and Institutes will offer funding for proposals that cultivate student engagement and enhance the online learning experience for Columbia students and instructors. As many universities and colleges grapple with the reality of online and hybrid instruction in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty members, teaching assistants, instructors, and students prepare to learn and teach in unprecedented ways. Structuring engaging online or hybrid courses is not a simple task.

We welcome proposals from any member of any course offered in the 2020-21 academic year - instructor, TA, or student. Successful proposals will lay out course activities (to be carried out inside or outside class sessions) that will enhance the teaching and learning experiences of remote learning; they can also suggest innovative pedagogical strategies and tools. They can be proposed at any time during an ongoing, or in advance of a future, course. This funding opportunity aims to make resources available quickly so that students and teachers can respond rapidly to class dynamics, ideas, and opportunities.

Activities might include forming online student-instructor groups, special events, public outreach activities or webinars, journal/book clubs, outdoor activities, in-home activities or demonstrations, financial support for assistance in the classroom, special speaker honoraria, etc. 

We look forward to receiving innovative proposals, especially from students and TAs.

Participating Centers and Institutes

The Center for American Studies (CAS) seeks proposals that focus on the experiences and values of the people of the United States as embodied in their history, literature, politics, art, and other enduring forms of cultural expression. The Center focuses on providing civics education and preparing students to confront the most pressing problems that face our society with historical awareness. 

CAS has now exhausted its funds for the entire academic year. Future proposals will not be considered.

The Center for Justice (CJF) seeks proposals that align with its mission to help transform the approaches to justice from being driven by punishment and retribution to being centered on prevention and healing. We welcome proposals for course-related activities that align with the Center's current projects, promote an end to mass incarceration and criminalization, or support more equitable and effective approaches to justice and safety through education, research, and policy change.

CFJ is not reviewing proposals in spring 2021. 

The Center for Science and Society (CSS) and the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health (CHEPH) seek proposals that fall within the broad scope of understanding the relations between science and society, and histories and politics of health, disease, and environment in a local and global context. We particularly welcome proposals that involve science and social justice; access to knowledge; science and democracy; the interaction of capitalism, science, and disease; science, experts and evidence; health and racial disparities in COVID-19 times. 

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) seeks proposals that focus on the cross-regional and cross-cultural study of the current pandemic, racism and its histories, capitalism and biosecurity, migration, health disparities, and social justice. We are particularly interested in proposals that demonstrate a strong commitment to comparative, multilingual, and cross-disciplinary approaches to literature, technology and society. 

The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (IRCPL) seeks proposals for projects that aim to understand the role of religion and secularism, both historically and in the contemporary world, and is particularly interested in programs that consider the intersection of religion with race and racism, climate change, and issues related to public health. IRCPL hopes that these funds will allow students and instructors to enhance and enrich the digital learning experience.

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) seeks proposals for initiatives that advance the critical study of human rights, particularly in ways that connect theory to practice. 

The Weatherhead East Asian Institute seeks proposals that expand knowledge of East, Southeast, and Inner Asia through teaching and learning. We invite proposals that pioneer new directions in East, Southeast, and Inner Asian studies and align with our mission to foster interdisciplinary and cross-regional collaboration. 


In order to apply, please complete the Application Form. Within the form, applicants should upload a brief description of the proposed activity (500-word maximum) as a PDF. The activity description should include: 

  • How the activity will fit into the course structure
  • How the proposal will achieve the aims of this Call for Proposals
  • Proposed timeline
  • If you will be receiving assistance from any department or student organization
  • Signature from course instructor (if not applicant) in support of proposal. 

Video proposals are welcome in lieu of a written activity description! Videos should be no longer than three minutes and may be up to 1 GB in size. Editing, visual effects, music, or other post-production efforts are not required. Videos should address the above information. Please provide course instruction signature separately, if needed. 

Proposals will be routed to the relevant Center/Institute for review. For questions, please contact [email protected].

Please visit the Remote Learning Grants Overview page for an up-to-date list of 2020-21 awardees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone eligible may apply regardless of their location.

Yes! Proposals can be made at any time during an ongoing, or in advance of a future, course.

We value creativity and ability for projects to enhance the teaching and learning experiences of remote learning. Some examples might be public outreach activities, outdoor field trips, in-home demonstrations with supplies, virtual tours, hackathons, and other applied projects, reading groups, or special guest speakers.