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University of Massachusetts Amherst

HFA Online Program Development Fund


College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Online Program Development Funds Spring 2013
Request for Proposals
Application Deadline: March 4, 2013


In its continuing effort to assist academic departments with the development of online academic offerings, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts is requesting proposals from academic departments for support to develop fully articulated online program offerings ranging from certificates and minors to fully developed majors. The application process requires a sponsoring academic department(s) and the approval of the department head or chair. Proposals involving two or more departments must secure the approval of all heads or chairs of the participating departments. Departments are encouraged to also give strong consideration to professional and pre-professional programs that would appeal to a broader base of students beyond the institution.


Online Program Development
This program is designed to encourage the development of quality online offerings that lead to the granting of certificates, minors and undergraduate and graduate degrees or degree completion programs as distinct from stand-alone online courses. Examples would include programs aimed at traditional campus students seeking a specialized certificate to increase employability after graduation; adult learners; “traditional-aged” students who are working and need the flexibility of online courses; and working professionals. The application will consist of a simple written proposal paying particular attention to the specific courses to be developed, the schedule of the development process, the projected associated costs and the anticipated timetable for the initial launch of the program.

Of particular importance will be a developed rationale indicating the projected need or demand for the proposed program based on the known or anticipated audience. For example, if this program were developed, explain how your program would differ from those at other institutions or why students would choose this UMass program and not that of another institution.

Additionally, the College recognizes that these programs will require a strong sense of ownership from the sponsoring academic department in order to shepherd this through from course development, to training, to Faculty Senate approvals and to eventual launch. For this reason, the College and Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) are committed to assisting selected departments with the important steps of market research, project planning and marketing. Accordingly, please note that staff from CPE is prepared to meet with you prior to the application process to discuss your ideas and to help you refine your proposal. While not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Contact Janet Kaplan Bucciarelli (7-2153, the CPE Coordinator for CHFA, to set up a meeting.

Proposals will be screened by a combined CHFA and CPE panel and recommendations will be made to the Dean. Final decisions will be announced by the Dean (TBD – Spring semester). Throughout the process, the College will work closely with Continuing and Professional Education staff to ensure that appropriate marketing, promotion and training occur in a timely and productive manner. It is anticipated that selected proposals will describe programs developed for initial launching in the summer of 2014. However, some proposals may include courses already developed and scheduled for the coming spring, summer and fall, 2013.


Successful proposals (no more than 4-6 pages in length) will address the following points:

• A brief narrative description of the proposed program
• A list of the courses to be developed or converted from face to face to online
• Projected timetable for the course(s) development and the anticipated date of the first course offerings
• A brief description of the projected need or anticipated demand for the program
• How does the department plan to reach its audience?
• The name of the individual faculty member who will serve as the coordinator and department liaison on behalf of the program
• A brief list and description of roles for any additional faculty participants


Review Process
Proposals will be reviewed by a panel composed of CHFA and CPE faculty and staff. The goal of the screening process will be to identify those proposals that hold the most promise for development and completion to eventual certificate, minor or major level or full degree program. Proposals may be made for completely new programs or they may seek support in order to combine with and to build upon existing online offerings.

Successful applications will demonstrate how the proposed program will sequence courses, develop them for online presentation and lead to either, a certificate, a minor, a major or a degree.

It is expected that courses and programs developed in conjunction with these funds will be high demand. The College and Continuing and Professional Education will do all that it can to support the necessary research to ensure that the pool of available students and the overall demand for selected programs is appropriate to the effort and investment made to launch them.

No previous experience with online course development or instruction is required. However, selected department proposals will reflect clear strategies for ensuring adherence to sound technological and pedagogical online practices.
This program will provide an excellent opportunity to enhance technology skills and learn the basics of online instruction in a supportive and professional environment.


The College will make awards to selected academic departments in the amount of $10,000.


Applications will be accepted from individual departments seeking to develop specific programs for online or blended delivery. Applications will also be accepted from two or more combined departments seeking to develop programs from courses drawn from each department.


Submission and Due Date
Completed proposals accompanied by an application form are due via email by March 4, 2013. Please direct questions and applications via email to Ron Michaud.


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