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Teaching Innovation Grants


These grants are designed to fund innovation in existing music courses that support the School of Music's Distinct Values:

  • Music Leaders
  • Musicians as Educators and Educators as Musicians
  • Diversely Skilled Musicians

The goals of this program are to:

  • Support faculty who would like to try out new ideas
  • Have a positive impact on students
  • Better align existing courses with School of Music Distinct Values
  • Encourage an entrepreneurial culture
  • Help differentiate the School of Music in ways that distinguish us as a national leader

Funds Available

Multiple awards of $1,500 are available. Designed to be flexible, funding may be used in a number of ways:

  • Class related expenses
  • Support for student projects
  • Professional development/travel stipend
  • Guest presenter/artist visits


Eligible applicants include all tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as other full-time employees who teach courses in the School of Music. We encourage applications from all music disciplines: applied, ensembles, education, academics, etc. Submissions may come from individuals or teams. 


To be considered, applications must include: 

  1. Cover sheet. Included project title, one sentence project description, and contact information (name, email, phone) for project leader and team members.
  2. Three page maximum proposal that provides:
    1. Course. Course title, number, and an overview of the class historically
    2. Students. What students are typically involved (how many, what majors, what degrees)? Is this an elective or requirement?
    3. Innovation. Description of the proposed innovation and how it connects to School of Music Distinct Values.
    4. Uniqueness. How unique is the innovation among music schools? Will it play a role in differentiating our school?
    5. Impact. How do you expect the innovation to impact students involved in the class?
    6. Funding. How will the funding be used?
  3. Two page maximum resume of bio

Applications should be emailed as PDFs with the subject heading “Spark Teaching Innovation Grant Proposal” to Meredith Buttler:


Deadline for proposals is January 17, 2017 at noon. Awards will be announced by March 1. Innovations should relate to courses during the 2017-18 academic year.

Review Process

A panel of three judges who are not affiliated with the USC School of Music will review applications. Judging considerations include:

  • How innovative is the proposal
  • Does it connect to School of Music Distinct Values
  • Does the innovation represent a new effort in an existing course
  • Does the innovation add something new or useful for the students
  • Does the innovation help differentiate the School of Music from other programs

Final Report

A final 1-2 page report should be submitted to Meredith Buttler at no more than 90 days after the related course has been completed. In this statement, indicate:

  • How was the innovation implemented?
  • How effective was the innovation?
  • What is the next step? Do you have plans for developing this innovation further? Will is remain a part of your course?

Questions and Support

While Spark provides funding, employees are not involved with the judging process. However, we are available as consultants or collaborators to help faculty develop proposals. Please let us know how we can be of assistance.

Direct questions to Meredith Buttler: