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Since taking over the facilitation of the Pew FTLC Grants Program in May 2013, I have made two significant enhancements to the Faculty Conference Travel Grant in consultation with the Pew FTLC faculty/staff, the Pew FTLC Advisory Committee, the Pew FTLC Grants Sub-Committee , and in response to questions/concerns raised by faculty from across the university. Each quarter, the window of time between when the grant system opened and the funding was depleted grew shorter until it became an online race to see which faculty could get into the system first and have access to funds. It was clear that the demand for grant funds was far surpassing the supply and that many of the same faculty were receiving funding year after year. Our first revision to the grant was to implement an every-other-year eligibility so that we could distribute the funds more widely among the faculty. While this temporarily took some pressure off of the online system, our applicant pool continued to grow to the extent that funds were again being depleted within 2-3 minutes of opening the grant system each quarter. This was frustrating to many faculty who could not get into the system or who were unavailable to apply at 8am due to their teaching schedule. In addition, we had no way to track how many faculty were interested in funding. Our second revision to the grant involved redesigning the online system to accept all applications during a three-day window after which we award funds through a lottery drawing. This new system relieves the 8am online application rush, allows us to develop a waiting list in the event that a faculty member is unable to use his/her funding, and gives us useful data to adjust funding levels each quarter to accommodate traditionally busier seasons of conference travel. Each of these revisions to the online grant system has been posted in multiple places on our website and has been announced in the Pew FTLC online newsletter.

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