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Program Innovation Accelerator

Call for New Program Ideas

Both the Academic Planning and Strategy Group and the International Opportunities Think Tank recommended support for the development of innovative academic programs.  As a next step in academic planning process, we are starting an academic Program Innovation Accelerator to launch academic programs and non-standard program models using a streamlined approach with targeted funding and appropriate administrative support. This approach focuses on academic quality and making new programs available to students more quickly, while meeting accreditation, state, and federal requirements (as applicable). Faculty from across the university are invited to propose new program offerings and more flexible pathways to a degree, with an emphasis on attracting new students and increasing opportunities for degrees and credentials on all Ohio University campuses. Funding and support services will be available for programs selected for priority development. 

Program ideas will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year. All ideas are encouraged, with special interest in building on areas of existing strength in research and teaching that could grow into new programs, including multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programs; curricular gaps for which we have the essential expertise to close; and programs that are innovative in design, delivery, or structure. A few examples of each that have been raised in recent academic planning discussions but not yet developed include:  

  • Building on strengths: including (but not limited to) health and wellness; energy, the environment, and building vibrant communities; plant-based medicine; robotics; and interdisciplinary programs, such as health and the arts, digital humanities, or global curricula 

  • Closing gaps: including (but not limited to) digital and data-focused programs such as data science and analytics, coding, cybersecurity and surveillance, artificial intelligence, gaming, and esports 

  • Innovation: including (but not limited to) stackable and standalone undergraduate and graduate certificates, early start/fast launch virtual first year program, 3 + 1 options, and microcredential programs 

All potential program ideas are encouraged to be submitted for consideration.

Program Submission and Evaluation

Proposers should submit an initial proposal of  250 to1,000 words for each program idea. Submissions must include the following: 

  1. Name of lead faculty member 
  2. List of partner faculty, departments, and/or disciplines that could contribute to program, if applicable 
  3. High-level outline of program objectives and structure including level of credential (e.g., certificate, degree; undergraduate, graduate, professional education) 
  4. Target audience/industry/career pathways, and benefit for the student and university (e.g., accreditation or industry alignment, new student population/revenue, distinct research strength) 
  5. Efforts to date on program development, if applicable

Submitted proposals will be prioritized for development and funding by the provost’s office. All proposals will be made available for review on the provost’s website in order to encourage connections across units.  

Priority will be determined holistically with attention to whether the program will attract new students or channel existing students, the degree of interdisciplinarity and student-centered flexibility built into the program, net revenue and time to financial sustainability, university and external impact/interest/availability, impact on diversity and inclusion, alignment to mission and strategic priorities, existing capacity and readiness to design and build the program, and how the proposed program complements existing offerings. The availability of, or potential for, additional external funding will enhance the prospects of program ideas where applicable. Note that all programs must still go through required institutional review processes, and should have the support of the college(s) involved.  



Development and Implementation

Our aim is to make this process accessible and easy to navigate so faculty can focus on curricular design and development. Funds may be used to support curricular development, initial instructional needs, supplies, marketing, or other program development and launch needs. Ideas more suited to existing grant programs such as the 1804 grant or Konneker Fund will be redirected to those programs.  

We will also provide dedicated support services for priority programs to connect faculty to other faculty across the university who can help design and implement the program; remove barriers and facilitate administrative processes that are necessary to gain approvals at all levels of the university, and from state, federal, and accrediting bodies; and pull in essential administrative support professionals who can contribute to successful design and launch of new programs. Cross-functional teams drawn from areas such as enrollment, marketing, budget/finance, instructional innovation, and University Libraries will support priority proposal development and implementation.