• Igniting Innovative Teaching & Learning

    Spark Tank!

  • Innovation Grants Challenge

    Submit your Teaching & Learning idea for a chance to win up to $5,000 to fund your project!

    The Faculty Center for Innovation is pleased to announce Spark Tank! – an innovation grants challenge designed to create community and invigorate faculty teaching and learning at Park University. Teams of 3 (faculty/student/staff combinations) pitch their innovative teaching and learning ideas for a chance to win up to $5,000 prize to fund their project! Cross-disciplinary and cross-campus projects are encouraged.


    Teams submit a written proposal and - if advanced to final round - selected teams will present at a SparkTank event during the Fall Faculty Conference. Pitches should be exciting, engaging, concise, and outline the project’s plan for implementation and ability to innovate teaching & learning at Park. The winning teams will receive up to $5,000 to implement their project during the 2020-2021 academic year and share the results of their project.

  • How to Apply

    Your application will require the following:

    1. Project title
    2. Project description (an abstract of 150-200 words)
    3. Rationale and university-wide impact impact to enhance teaching & learning at Park (approximately 300 words and include sources)
    4. Provide 3 measurable outcomes and how your team will evaluate them
    5. Detailed budget of resources needed 
    6. Timeline for implementation & collection of results/data
  • Apply Now

    Click below to submit your Spark Tank Proposal!

  • How to Pitch Your Idea

    The Process for Competing in Spark Tank!

    Review Process



    All applications are due by 5pm, CST March 20th! Teams are judged by an expert panel who will evaluate written proposals for innovative approach, clarity, feasibility, and impact.

    1. Innovation. Demonstrates a creative or innovative approach to teaching and learning practice in higher education. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an entirely new idea, just new to Park.
    2. Clarity: The project is clearly and concisely explained with a strong rationale to support its implementation and assessment of outcomes.
    3. Feasibility: The project can be realistically achieved during the allotted academic year and within the scope of the proposed budget.
    4. Impact: The project demonstrates relevance, value, and applicability to the Park community with potential for sustained impact.
    Based on judges’ collective scoring, a select group of finalists will move to the final round of judging. All applicants will be notified by May 1st or earlier.
  • Samples

    If you are curious about what to include for each section of the SparkTank proposal,

    feel free to check out these samples below. 

    Rationale & Impact (sample)

    Research has shown that simulation in nursing education builds student confidence, helps with knowledge retention, and students have reported feeling safe in a simulated scenario—especially when they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with diagnoses (Cant & Cooper, 2017). Further, many simulation training environments that offer real ‘actors’ test not only skills, but also engages students’ affective responses as well (Al-Ghareeb & Cooper, 2016). Social work students using simulation activities reported transferable skills including handling uncertainty, engagement, making value judgements, and dealing with different opinions and views (Spiteri, 2013). As such, with our behavioral health emphasis at Park University, we believe an interdisciplinary simulation could offer an extraordinary experience to nursing and social work students; the opportunity to collaborate and work together in a manner like the real-world environment they will face upon graduation. The simulation would serve as a model for interdisciplinary active learning strategies that would support Park University's mission, better prepare our students, and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration. This project would study and evaluate the effectiveness of cross-disciplinary simulation from the student and faculty perspective. Results of this work would be shared with the Park academic community and beyond.

    Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

    Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages. doi: xx.xxx/yyyy

    Measurable Outcomes & Evaluation (sample)

    Measurable Outcomes:
    1) Develop and pilot a course using Minecraft, 2) Establish a template for other courses/programs to use when integrating Minecraft in their course work, and 3) Provide a repository of resources on Minecraft in higher education.

    Evaluation of Outcomes:

    1) The course will be evaluated using student and course surveys to assess learner satisfaction, student learning, teaching effectiveness, and ease of use. The 5-point likert scale will rate the items above and the ability to achieve core learning outcomes through Minecraft integration. These results will be compared with survey results from the same course taught without Minecraft integration. 2) The template for use will be created and shared with FCI to distribute on their website (or other chosen communication channels), to assess the number of downloads or user hits, 3) The results of this project, and all materials/resources used, will be shared with the Park community via a 2-minute mentor or presentation to the faculty. The resources will be shared via the FCI website.

    Proposed Budget (sample)

    Please feel free to DOWNLOAD A BUDGET TEMPLATE with a provided sample at the link provided, to use in your project budget. Please remember that the project is budgeted for one (1) academic year that the grant is awarded, Aug 1-Jun 1; multiple year proposals will not be accepted. Funds cannot be used for course release or overtime. Hiring consultants to create material is acceptable. No more than 20% can be used as direct compensation to any one person on the three-person spark tank team. If funds are to be used for software/hardware, it should be done in consultation with ITS, to see if faculty can use Park discounts. Coordination with other offices may be required to confirm the feasibility of obtaining your project materials.

  • Spark Tank Brainstorming Session

    February 19th (Wed.) from 12:30-1pm, CST in Norrington Learning Lab or Zoom

    Join us!

    This is an opportunity to get together to discuss your potential ideas and find collaborators. Please join us onsite or via webinar. Or, if you'd like to collaborate virtually, feel free to check out the collaborative wiki.


    Examples of potential topics include (but are not limited to):

    • gaming or simulation lab integration,
    • university-wide preparedness training,
    • external speaker series, 
    • creation of virtual learning resources, 
    • 3-D printer/cartridge purchase with curriculum or programming to accompany its use, 
    • Google Glass or virtual reality headsets with programming to accompany its use, 
    • telepresence robot, 
    • pilot different video feedback in online courses and measure student satisfaction, 
    • stipend to compensate study pilots and evaluation on new teaching methods
    • redevelopment of 1-2 high enrollment courses to eliminate textbooks/textbook costs with a more innovative means of delivering content.
  • 2018-2019 Spark Finalists

    Emergency Room Simulation: An Interdepartmental Exercise in Nursing and Social Work

    Tami Radohl, Nichole Goergen, and Jennine Wilson

    View video HERE

    The Lighthouse Studio

    Sharon Gan, Caleb Puckett, and Kay Chowning

    View video HERE

    Park Bridge Program

    Wakisha Briggs, Toni-Rochelle Ford, and Amber Rucker

    View video HERE

    Park University Virtual Cyber Security Lab

    Yongzhi Wang, Calvin McElroy, and Iroda Narzullaeva

    View video HERE

    The Rap Branch Library App - (Read, Rap & Record Book Reviews!)

    Kathleen Howe, Linda Passamaneck, and Roy Scott

    View video HERE

    Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Drone Applications Certificate in Criminal Justice Administration

    Greg Rose, Eugene Matthews, and John Schuepback

    View video HERE