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Ideas in Action: November 2
October 9, 2007, Volume 54, No. 7

The Office of the Provost announces that applications are currently being accepted for Ideas in Action, a program supporting courses that provide undergraduates with the opportunity to conduct research based on real-world public policy issues. Ideas in Action courses are semester-long, faculty-led courses that allow students to analyze problems brought to the class by a distinguished policymaker.  The idea is to link faculty, students, and community through the research enterprise. Students work throughout the semester to develop a final product which is then presented back to the policymaker and his/her organization.  If circumstances allow, multiple policymakers may be involved and visit the class periodically over the course of the semester.

The Ideas in Action program funds undergraduate-level courses in any academic discipline, in any of the four undergraduate schools. Existing courses that have been re-worked to take advantage of Ideas in Action are eligible for funding as entirely new courses.  The program is intended for standing faculty, although a limited number of grants may be awarded to non-standing faculty.  A grant of up to $5,000 is made available to each course to cover the cost of bringing the distinguished policymaker to campus, for housing while here, and incidentals such as a meal with the class. Instructor compensation is the responsibility of the academic department sponsoring the course.

The Fels Institute provides support for each Ideas in Action course during its development and at any time during the semester. If requested, Fels can assist in identifying an appropriate policymaker to work with the class. In addition, a project manager will be available to assist the instructor, policymakers, or students involved in the course. Fels can also make the students’ research and findings available to policymakers across the nation and around the world through the Institute’s website and other means.  Ideas in Action courses may be cross-listed in the instructor’s home school and also cross-listed at Fels under a 300 or 400-level course number to provide one-stop course shopping. For a list of courses that have been offered through the program, please visit www.fels.upenn.edu/ideas-in-action.htm.

The deadline for the current application cycle is November 2, 2007.  Applications will be accepted for courses to be offered in any of the upcoming three terms:  Spring 2008, Fall 2008, and Spring 2009.  Applications are available from the Associate Provost, Dr. Andy Binns.  To request an application form, send an e-mail to provost-ed@upenn.edu with “Ideas in Action” in the subject line. Faculty members who wish to discuss a possible Ideas in Action course or would like assistance in preparing a proposal should contact Dr. Donald Kettl, director of the Fels Institute of Government at dkettl@sas.upenn.edu. Additional information is available at www.fels.upenn.edu/ideas-in-action.htm or by contacting the Associate Provost for Education (215) 898-7225 or provost-ed@upenn.edu.

Almanac - October 9, 2007, Volume 54, No. 7