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Innovation Challenge

2016-17 Innovation Challenge: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

President Kathleen McCartney recently announced the creation of a new competitive funding opportunity—the Innovation Challenge—to support projects that strengthen our community and beyond. 

Proposals for innovative, inclusion-themed projects were reviewed by a working group representing the president’s cabinet, students, staff and faculty. Funding for 11 proposals was announced in November, 2016.

Those submitting proposals were asked to consider the following guidelines:

  • Funded projects should demonstrate innovative approaches to teaching, research and activism related to inclusion and anti-racism efforts.
  • Proposals that take a team approach and engage students, staff and faculty in collaborative projects are particularly encouraged.
  • Projects should focus on culture change/enhancement, and especially on ideas that can be replicated at a larger scale.
  • Projects that are currently being funded (e.g., current faculty research, programs receiving student activities funding) will not be considered.
  • Projects selected for funding must be completed during the timeframe that the primary applicant is at Smith (e.g., a graduating senior may not undertake a project that extends beyond her graduation).
  • Similarly, projects that are eligible for funding from other college sources will not be considered.
  • Funds may not be used to pay Smith students, staff or faculty.

For more information, please contact

Working Group

Nybria Acklin ’18, Student Government Association

Dwight Hamilton, Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

Zaza Kabayadondo, Co-Director, Design Thinking Initiative

Donna Lisker, Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life

Peggy O’Neill, Assistant Professor, School for Social Work

Bill Peterson, Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Development

Silvana Saca ’18, Secretary, Student Government Association