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Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) Outreach and Planning Grants

As part of a broader, campus-wide strategy of complementary efforts to support and enhance bilateral relationships between the University of Michigan and Minority Serving Institution (MSIs), the Rackham Graduate School will offer four (4) MSI Outreach and Planning Grants for the 2020–2021 grant cycle. Successful awards will propose approaches to increase access for diverse students from MSIs to U-M by exploring and initiating inter-institutional relationships and collaborations.

Applications Open: January 20, 2020. Proposals Due: June 5, 2020 (extended deadline)

Program Description

Funded in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, MSI Collaboration and Implementation Grants will support U-M graduate and professional programs and serve to cultivate new—and strengthen existing—relationships with MSIs.

MSI Outreach and Planning Grants should center on building institutional rapport, trust, and mutually beneficial collaborations with MSIs with the long-term goal of recruiting and enrolling students into U-M graduate and professional programs.

MSI Outreach and Planning Grants will support U-M and MSI collaborations that are responsive to organizational and cultural differences, develop effective plans for communication and dissemination, and initiate pilot activities for future scalability.

  • Four (4) grants will be awarded.
  • Awards will be made up to $8,000.
  • Funding period is 12 months.

Eligibility and Funding

U-M faculty members serving as Principal Investigators (PIs) are eligible to apply for an MSI Outreach and Planning Grant. Grant applications must include a letter of support from the PI’s department chair.

For long-term sustainability and breadth of perspective, applicants are encouraged to apply in teams. Ideally, teams will consist of the department chair, tenure-track faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. Individuals serving on a program’s recruitment or admissions committees are strongly encouraged to be on the grant team. Applicants are also encouraged to collaborate with other U-M units. Grant applications should clearly define the roles of each team member.

Four (4) grants of up to $8,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis. Awards are contingent upon availability of funds and the receipt of eligible and meritorious proposals. An additional year of funding may be awarded to a smaller and select number of awardees that show evidence of success. However, funding beyond the initial year is not guaranteed and is contingent upon the availability of future funding.

U-M programs with a commitment to engaging MSIs in intellectually and culturally responsive ways are encouraged to apply.

Allowable Expenditures

All MSI Outreach and Planning Grant funds must be used to support activities that directly impact and advance the relationship between U-M and its MSI partner institution.

Funding may be used for travel support; planning and implementation of collaborative activities; and conferences, research collaborations, and consortium development.

Funding may not be used for faculty or staff salaries, graduate students stipends, or as a replacement or substitute for existing MSI collaboration funding.

Additionally, while traditional recruitment activities are important, MSI Outreach and Planning Grants are not intended for recruitment-specific initiatives (i.e. program/departmental preview weekends or graduate fair conference travel, etc.).  Nor are these funds intended for transactional engagement that does not lead to sustainable relationships with MSI collaborators. For general recruitment activity funds, please consider applying for the Rackham Recruitment Grant.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals submitted for this competition will be evaluated by the selection committee according to the following criteria:


The demonstrated historical commitment to engaging with MSIs.

Leadership Support

The support of departmental leadership as expressed through the PI’s departmental chair’s letter of support, in addition to the chair’s possible service as co-PI on the proposal.

Potential for Scalability, Sustainability, and Impact

The implementation plan and the plan for future scalability, sustainability, and metrics to measure impact.

Departmental Engagement

The demonstrated departmental or unit commitment to engage with MSIs, beyond the PI, the grant team, and department chair.


The justification and cost-effectiveness of proposed activities.

Clarity and Attainability of Goals

The articulation of clear goals and the plan for how those goals can be achieved within the 12-month grant period.

Expectations and Deliverables

MSI Outreach and Planning Grant awardees will be expected to:

  • Engage diverse stakeholders representative of faculty, staff, students, and others from U-M and collaborating MSI institutions.
  • Participate in the initial kick-off meeting with other U-M awardees in May 2020.
  • Participate in the annual MSI Summit in October 2020.
  • Participate in bi-monthly MSI Community meetings, beginning in July 2020.
  • Create an action plan for sustaining the relationship beyond the grant period, including a partnership exit plan, if appropriate.
  • Create Midterm and Final Narrative Reports summarizing processes and outcomes, beginning October 2020, ending in May 2021.

Proposal Submission

Visit the MSI Outreach and Collaboration Grants Application to submit your proposal. Applications are due Friday, June 5, 2020 (extended deadline).

For questions regarding the MSI Outreach and Planning Grants, please contact Edmund Graham

Additional Resources