Grant for Advancing Social Justice and Diversity in Graduate Education

This past fall, the Graduate School sponsored a grant competition to generate ideas for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in graduate education at Purdue University. A panel of seven graduate students reviewed all the submissions and selected five finalists to put forth for the graduate communities’ consideration. 

Now it is your turn! Please visit the link below to pick the proposal that you think would make the biggest impact. At this link, you will find the title, summary, and budget for each of the proposals. Please note that you can only vote for one of the proposals. Voting closes on December 9th at midnight. Winners will be notified by December 11th.


This grant program is in response to the recent events that remind us that equality is not equally distributed and that racism exists in all parts of our personal and professional lives.   The Graduate School believes that creative solutions exist in the minds and hearts of the graduate student population at Purdue to design systems and implement policies and innovations that will change higher education in ways that make it more inclusive. We want to hear your ideas. Therefore, the Graduate School is calling for proposals created by interdisciplinary graduate student teams to develop actionable ideas to advance social justice and diversity in graduate education at Purdue.  This is a program for graduate students, and as such, graduate students across the Purdue University system will serve on the review panel and recommend which proposals should be considered for funding.


All current students in the Purdue Graduate School System are eligible to submit proposals. All students on the proposal team must be enrolled for Fall 2020.


A total of $15,000 is available in funding. Each proposal may request up to $5,000. A minimum of three team projects will be funded.  Funds may not be used for salary or travel. Projects/Research must be completed within one academic year.

Selection Criteria and Process

Graduate students across the Purdue Graduate School System will be nominated (you can self-nominate to Dean Mason) to serve on a proposal review panel.  Panelists will select proposals for advancement to the second round, which will then be posted for review by the graduate student community. The graduate student community will have the opportunity to vote for the proposal they believe will have the most impact. The panel will then nominate finalists, including the campus wide vote as a selection criterion, to the Graduate School for consideration. All funded projects will be expected to present a 6-month progress report and final report.  These are campus projects to be used for improving diversity and inclusion at Purdue. If you plan to present information from your project outside of the university you may need to seek appropriate IRB approvals.

We are particularly interested in good ideas from your perspective. If you have an idea that can change graduate education at Purdue, but don’t have the bandwidth to implement it yourself, we will implement it for you. This grant process is not intended to cause more work for already overburdened students.

Competitive Proposals should:

  • Focus on systems, research questions, or innovations that address a social justice or diversity issue in graduate education in general and be applicable across the Purdue Graduate School System without emphasis on a single department or graduate program.  The idea can be a new program, technology, research question or system.

  • Include interdisciplinary teams of graduate students that span departments, colleges and/or disciplines. For example, sociology, education, economics and science may come together to examine the impact of an orientation program on diverse populations; Or another team might organize resources for low income populations or provide events for the community support of LGBTQ students. Once you have a project idea, reach out to graduate students in other areas that could add strength to your proposal such as those with experience in organizing events, technology design and engineering, community outreach, education, public health, communication – the combinations are endless.

  • Offer a clear plan for assessing the impact of the resources, new system, or actions you are proposing. The proposal should have measurable outcomes that are described along with a plan that lays out how these outcomes will be assessed. How will you know it worked? How will you measure the impact or feasibility? Should the action plan be expanded and examined in more detail at the end of your project?

  • Include the name of a faculty advisor(s) who can advise on the assessment process, if necessary.

  • Include a detailed budget on how the funds will be applied to the project. Remember, funds cannot be used for salary or travel, but funds may be used to help develop resources, design technology, implement events or systems, etc. The project plan should not exceed 1 year and a specific department business office contact should be included to handle the funds.

Proposal Preparation

Proposals should be uploaded as a single PDF file and will be submitted as an attachment to the following Qualtrics form: Submission Link.

Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT on September 30, 2020. The document should be limited to five pages, double spaced with 12 pt. font and include the following components:

  • Cover Sheet (Does not count in your five pages).
    • Title of Project
    • Name of each team member along with their campus program, college, and email contact information
    • Designate one team member as the lead
    • Contact name in the lead team member’s business office
  • Summary of the project that can be included in the public voting site (250 words)
  • Description of project or initiative.
  • Paragraph on the value of completed project to graduate education at Purdue.
  • Description of outcomes or goals the project will achieve.
  • Methods or action plan, if applicable.
  • A plan for assessing the success outcomes/goals.
  • Budget and budget justification.
  • A reference page, if necessary (won’t count toward your page limit).


Questions on this request for proposals can be sent to