Your Questions Answered

We’ve put together some commonly asked questions to give you more information about Think Big engagement opportunities. If you have a question that you can’t find the answer to, please contact us.

General Questions

Q: I've been asked to review final proposals for the 2019/2020 Think Big Seed and RFP round. As we review these proposals, are we to evaluate their quality, fit, significance, etc. assuming that CWRU is operating as per normal (i.e. before COVID-19), or are we to judge how these ideas would play out in a campus environment constrained by COVID-19?
A: Please review as if CWRU is operating under "normal" circumstances.  Unfortunately, there are just too many unknowns right now to guess how they would look in a COVID-19-constrained future.

Q: Given the current circumstances in response to COVID-19, my team is concerned that we might not be able to accomplish exactly what we intended to propose. How should we proceed?
A: We are profoundly grateful for your continued efforts to advance the university's strategic plan. We want to clarify that we would like you to write your final proposal as you initially intended; please submit what you would have proposed to accomplish in a pre-coronavirus world. We intend, however, to be as flexible as necessary about the implementation of the successful proposals. In other words, continue to THINK BIG, but know that we understand plans may have to change somewhat at the implementation stage given the current crisis. 

Q: Since the character counts are very low, will we be able to assume that the reviewers will have access to the first round applications?  Thus, can we leave out some detail that was in there?
A: Yes, we will give reviewers both proposals as part of the review. 

Q: In the "Finalist Proposal" for Think Big Seeds and RFPs you asked, "does this proposal have a global component?" What does that mean? 
A: We are referring to active global components. For example, activities occurring outside of the US, partnerships developed with international entities, or efforts to infuse global understanding and awareness in CWRU programs/activities. This information is for tracking purposes and will NOT be scored.

Q: In the "Finalist Proposal" for Think Big Seeds and RFPs you asked us to provide "written confirmation" from our team members. How do you want this to be done?
A: We prefer a PDF of the commitments uploaded as one document. This can include letters, emails, or any other documents that express interest by the team members. The goal here is to be sure that all team members were consulted, and are active participants in the proposal.

Q: When are applications due for becoming a reviewer for the Think Big Seed or Think Big RFP programs?
A: There is no "due date." Instead, the applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

Q: Who will be reviewing the Think Big Seed and Think Big RFP proposals?  
A: Members of the CWRU community will serve as reviewers and interested parties will be entered into a reviewer database. Depending upon the focus area(s) of the annual submission, the Think Big team will match interest and/or expertise with the proposals. Learn more or become a reviewer.

Q: Who can submit a Think Big RFP proposal or apply for a Think Big Seed grant?
A: CWRU faculty (full-time, part-time, and emeriti), staff (full-time, part-time), and students (full-time, part-time, undergraduate, graduate/professional)

Q: Does the budget need to include overhead?
A: No. We aren’t requesting budget numbers at the preliminary stage.

Q: Is a a scoring rubric available for review?
A: For the preliminary round of Seeds and RFPs, the rubric will mirror the questions in the application. We are most interested in how the proposed idea is aligned to the intent of the pathway objectives and desired outcomes. If invited to submit a full proposal, additional direction will be provided regarding the importance of certain elements and weighting of criteria for final selection.

Q: When are preliminary proposals due?
A: Preliminary proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2020.

Q: Are spaces included in the character count for submissions?
A: Yes. Spaces are considered a character for this purpose.

Questions regarding Think Big Seeds

Q: We noticed that the Think Big Seed must end on or by Oct. 1, 2020. I want to clarify: does everything have to be completed by Oct. 1?
A: The start/end date can be negotiated upon award, but it does need to remain within a six month window.  The seeds should be viewed as one-time investments to test ideas within a short window of time.

Q: If the start of the six month timeline for the seed can't be accommodated during the summer months, can we request another period for the start date?  
A. Yes, we recognize that the timing of these first seeds is not aligned with summer planning.  We will discuss case-by-case the appropriate six month window for each seed if a summer start does not work.  

Q: Can Think Big Seeds funds be used for summer student support or summer faculty salaries?
A: If summer support is needed to accomplish a project, you should include this in the preliminary proposal, as it will help inform the budget guidance we will provide when inviting full proposals.

Questions regarding Think Big RFPs

Q: Can RFP responses include graduate student support?  Stipend only or tuition as well?
A: We will be making decisions on a case-by-case basis depending on the focus of the project request and role of the graduate student on the project. **Please note that these are one-time strategic dollars and should not be considered as multi-year support for students.

Q: Are there parameters for what kinds of things RFP funding may be used for? (Example: Is it possible to use funds for course release? If so, would that be at the external rate (a percentage of salary) or at the cost of a course being taught by an adjunct?)
A: Generally we prefer not to provide salary support since this is strategic, short-term funding that will end. We recognize, however, that we need to manage this on a case-by-case basis. For those who need to free their time via course release, we suggest using the cost of a course being taught by an adjunct as the budget request. We will provide further direction (and ask questions of those submitting) when we get to the full proposal stage.