Departmental Mini-Grants


The Texas A&M University ADVANCE program is an NSF-funded effort which seeks to increase the number and diversity of women faculty at all levels.  There are twelve activities designed to transform Texas A&M University by increasing gender equity for women faculty, one of which is the Departmental Mini-Grants program.  Seventeen awards were made from 2011-2013 in the amount of $77,400 to ADVANCE Target Departments based on submitted proposals that address the issue of improving the workplace climate for women faculty – and indeed all faculty.  This activity supports department-initiated efforts to address specific challenges and provide a test bed for novel ideas.  Because sustainability and institutionalization are two of the main goals of ADVANCE, successful Mini-Grant activities will be reviewed for possible implementation to a wider audience.

To take existing initiatives to the next level, the OVPAPD launched in fall 2015 a seed grant program – Diversity Matters – to support research efforts which align with the goals of the University Diversity Plan and, by extension, ADVANCE goals as reflected in this activity.


The aim of this activity was to provide an avenue for ADVANCE Target Departments to improve the work climate for women faculty and support departments in their diversity efforts.


ADVANCE Target Departments were eligible to apply for Mini-Grants.  Multiple proposals could be submitted by a single department in a single year.  Cross-departmental efforts were also allowable.  Departments could submit proposals in multiple years.  Funding was generally awarded for only one year.  However, departments could submit a proposal which addressed follow-up issues from a previously funded proposal.  A signed statement of support was required from all involved Department Heads.


Approximately 3 to 6 departments split a total of $30,000 annually for each year of the grant 2011-2013.  Funds were not fringe-bearing.  ADVANCE funds from Departmental Mini-Grant awards could not be used to support graduate students.  (Graduate students could attend proposed events, but ADVANCE funds could not be spent on their participation.)

Note:  Awarded funds were not distributed directly to selected departments; all expenses related to Departmental Mini-Grant efforts were processed for reimbursment through the ADVANCE Center.

Proposal Outline

Proposals were no longer than two pages and used the following outline:

  • Proposal Title
  • Department Name
  • Departmental issue(s) to be addressed along with any relevant background
  • A description of the strategy to be used to address the issue(s)
  • Management plan (who will do the work)
  • Budget and the identification of any matching funds (although matching was not required)
  • Expected outcomes and impact on climate change (e.g. what metrics would be used to measure the degree to which the strategy is successful?)
  • Signed statement of support by all involved Department Heads


The following were annual dates for 2011-2013:

April 30 Mini-Grant Proposals Due
June 1 Award Notices Sent to Selected Departments
July 1 Funding Available to Awardees

Review Criteria

Proposals were reviewed on the criteria stated in the above outline.  The key criterion was the likely impact the proposal would have on the improvement of the workplace climate for women faculty in the proposing department(s).

Note:  Proposals which requested funding to send a researcher(s) to a conference or workshop were unlikely to receive favorable reviews unless such activities could be shown to have a direct benefit to the workplace climate for all female faculty in the proposing department.

Submission Instructions

The proposals had to include a signed statement of support by all involved Department Heads.  Proposals were submitted here.


Departments who were awarded funds were asked to submit a one-page Progress Report six months after initiation of activities (January 1).  A one-page Final Report was due one year after initiation of activities (July 1).  Each report included: 1) a description of Mini-Grant activities and a summary of how the funds were expended to date, 2) total number of participants in each funded activity to date (e.g. number of faculty who attended mediator sessions/panel discussions/symposiums), and 3) an account of progress towards achieving the stated goals of the proposal.  Progress Reports were submitted here: 6-Month Report, 1-Year Final Report.

Departments were asked to track faculty participation in their Mini-Grant efforts by using this Participant Tracking Form (see item 2 in the preceding paragraph).  The ADVANCE Program Coordinator worked with the grant contact person to collect these on an on-going basis during the funding year.

Additional Information

Additional information about the ADVANCE program can be found on the homepage.


ADV 4color nonAM HIGH copyaFor inquiries, please contact For inquiries, please contact, ADVANCE (979.862.4526).