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Join the Next Cohort of Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellows

Deadline: February 12, 2024

Now accepting applications for the 2024 cohort by Monday, February 12 at 5 p.m.

The Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellows Program provides support and a peer learning community for faculty who are interested in designing Collaborative Project Courses – courses in which student learning is driven by collaborative engagement with applied projects that extend across an entire semester. Participating faculty will receive $5,000; support and guidance from pedagogy experts and faculty experienced in this form of teaching; the option to request funding for a doctoral student to support the course design; and the opportunity to collaborate on course (re)design with a group of peers from across campus. This program is a partnership between Duke Learning Innovation and Bass Connections.

  • Application deadline: February 12, 2024 at 5 p.m.
  • Applicants notified: Late February 2024
  • Program dates: May 2024 – December 2024

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What are Collaborative Project Courses?

Collaborative Project Courses are courses in which student learning is driven by collaborative research, analysis and communication on applied projects that extend across an entire semester. Such courses often bridge the classroom and the world beyond the university, giving students a chance to bring their academic knowledge and skills to bear on complex problems under the mentorship of faculty, graduate students and, in some cases, community members. 

Collaborative Project Courses help students grasp the relevance of their work while also demanding rigorous study and original research, often alongside engagement with a community of practice. When done well, this approach creates a dynamic learning environment and inspires students to take greater ownership of the learning process. For a more in-depth summary of Collaborative Project Courses, and the unique pedagogical questions they pose, visit our Collaborative Project Courses: Course Design Resource Center.

About the Faculty Fellows Program

Collaborative Project Courses often raise new challenges for faculty  challenges related to course design, the framing of projects, the provision of guidance to teams and the management of group dynamics. The Faculty Fellows program establishes a cohort of faculty who will learn and work together, with support and advising from Duke Learning Innovation, to develop Collaborative Project Courses for Fall 2024 or Spring 2025. Please note that based on the program timeline, this opportunity is likely to work best for faculty planning to teach their course in Spring 2025; however, we will work with faculty on an accelerated timeline if they wish to teach their course in Fall 2024.

Participants in the program will reimagine an existing course, or design a new course, to include project-based pedagogies in which students work together to create new knowledge, tangible works and/or creative or artistic products. Courses can be designed at any level (undergraduate; undergraduate/graduate; or graduate/professional).

The Faculty Fellows program includes regular meetings for the first four months, followed by eight months of periodic engagement to support faculty as they implement their new course (see full description of the time commitment below). We aim to create an active and engaged learning community where faculty will provide one another with support and advice throughout the program, creating new faculty networks along the way. We will also invite faculty with experience using this teaching model to share their experiences with the cohort and provide advice to participants at different stages of the program. 

Because it takes significant time to design project-based courses, Faculty Fellows will receive $5,000 to be used at their discretion (e.g., for summer salary to design the course, funding to pay a doctoral student for assistance in course design, discretionary research funds, funds to support course activities or a TA, travel funding to explore best practice models or seek professional development). 

Faculty may also request supplemental funding of $1,750 to cover 75 hours of a doctoral student’s time to support elements of the course design through the Bass Connections Collaborative Project Expeditions program. This is an optional element of the program. Faculty Fellows would be responsible for identifying/recruiting a graduate student to work with them. Bass Connections can also help faculty recruit a graduate student partner but cannot guarantee that we will be able to identify a suitable candidate. 

Topics covered through the fellowship will include:

  • Choosing and scoping projects
  • Writing achievable learning objectives and designing a syllabus
  • Structuring in- and out-of-class time effectively
  • Identifying and working with partners/clients for projects
  • Designing course/project milestones and deliverables
  • Creating and managing student teams 
  • Mentoring students to be effective team members
  • Using reflection to support student learning
  • Assessing student work
  • Preparing for team teaching, if applicable
  • Other topics identified by fellowship participants

Program Details

Fellowship time commitment

The fellowship will require participation in: 

  • A three-day intensive, in-person kick-off on May 13-15 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (including an optional cohort dinner tentatively planned for May 13)
  • Four, one-hour virtual meetings throughout the summer (May 22, June 12, July 12, August 2 at 10 a.m.)
  • In-person meeting on August 14 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • In-person meeting on December 10 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

In addition to cohort meetings, Fellows will participate in hands-on activities in Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 including:

  • Draft a course syllabus (Summer/Fall 2024)
  • Review 3-4 draft syllabi developed by other Fellows and provide feedback (Summer/Fall 2024)
  • Work in pairs to conduct a classroom visit and/or debrief of another cohort member's Collaborative Project Course (Fall 2024/Spring 2025)
  • Work with Learning Innovation to collect student feedback on your course (optional; Spring 2025)
  • Participate in an end-of-program debrief and lessons-learned discussion with the cohort (Spring 2025)

Fellows are expected to attend all meetings, complete work between meetings, be prepared for meeting activities and design a Collaborative Project Course to be taught in Fall 2024 or Spring 2025. 


Faculty of any level and rank and from any Duke school may apply. We hope to form a diverse cohort of faculty who can learn from one another. Faculty must be available to participate during the dates/times listed in the “Program Details” section above. If you cannot make the session dates and times, we encourage you to visit our Course Design Resource Center and schedule a consultation with Duke Learning Innovation

Faculty may either design a new course or redesign an existing course targeted at undergraduate, graduate and/or professional school students. We expect participants to offer the course in either Fall 2024 or Spring 2025, but proposals for courses starting in Fall 2025 will also be considered. For existing courses, faculty should have support from their unit for offering the redesigned course on a regular basis, at least three times in the subsequent five-year period. New courses can be more experimental in nature, but there should be commitment from the unit for offering the course multiple times (assuming sufficient enrollment). 

We also welcome faculty who are co-teaching a course to apply. In such an instance, one or both faculty may apply. If both faculty participate, the pair will receive $7,500 to use at their discretion. 

Course and faculty support

Faculty who fully participate in all required meetings and activities will receive $5,000 to be used at the faculty member’s discretion. As noted above, faculty will also have the option of receiving $1,750 to cover 75 hours of a doctoral student’s time to support elements of the course design through the Bass Connections Collaborative Project Expeditions program. 

Faculty will also have the opportunity to learn from and share ideas with a network of faculty, including other Fellows in the program and faculty who are experienced in this form of teaching. Duke Learning Innovation and the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies will provide course design guidance and will also be available to connect faculty to other faculty or resources to support their course goals.

Application and selection

Applications should be submitted by February 12 at 5 p.m. via this online form. You may draft your application directly within the online form and save and return to your work. The application will ask you to provide a brief description of the course you intend to design and upload a statement of support from your unit. 

Faculty who are co-teaching a course (or faculty who teach different sections of a core course) can submit one application, with one letter of support. The application should make clear that the course would be co-taught and should clarify whether one, or both, faculty intend to participate in the program. 

The strongest applications will be those in which: 1) the faculty demonstrate a commitment to the goals of the fellowship, and 2) the proposed course aligns with the curricular goals of the department/school (e.g., redesign of a core/gateway course; creation of a new course to fill a gap in the curriculum).

Decisions will be announced in late February 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Collaborative Project Courses different from service-learning courses or courses with team assignments?

There are two elements that must be incorporated into all Collaborative Project Courses: student teamwork and the generation of an authentic product through project-based work. Because of their applied nature and the existence of an external partner, many service-learning courses align with this model, but not all do. Courses with team assignments can also be Collaborative Project Courses if the team/project work is intensive, takes place throughout the semester and involves the creation of an authentic product (usually this means the product is for an audience beyond just the course participants and instructor). 

What are some examples of a Collaborative Project Course?

This is a flexible model that can be applied in unique ways depending on the focus and goals of a course. That said, several examples include:

Read about our first and second cohorts of Faculty Fellows, which have included faculty affiliated with eight Duke schools and a wide array of university institutes. 

Does the course have to be a new course, or can I propose to redesign an existing course?

We aim to form a diverse cohort of faculty working on a range of courses. Courses that address a strategic curricular goal of a given unit will be given preference. Often, this might mean reimagining a core or gateways course. It can also mean designing a new course that fills a gap in the curriculum. Courses can be targeted at any level of student and can be of any size. 

How refined does my course idea need to be before I apply?

We don’t expect you to have a fully fleshed out idea before you apply, but your general idea should embody the ethos of a Collaborative Project Course. If you’re not sure whether your idea is a good fit, feel free to attend our virtual drop-in office hours on December 15 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. or January 18 from 12-1 p.m.and/or request a meeting before the application due date with Laura Howes, Assistant Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies and Bass Connections, or Elise Mueller, Associate Director of Teaching Innovation. 

Do I have to participate in all the fellowship sessions?

Yes, Fellows are expected to attend and participate in all of the scheduled sessions. 

Can we propose a co-taught course? What if a course has multiple sections taught by different faculty? Would both faculty need to participate in the program? 

Many courses of this type are co-taught. If you plan to co-teach a course, it is up to you and your co-teacher whether or not you both wish to participate in the program. If both faculty choose to participate in the program, you only need to submit one application. Instead of $5,000 per faculty member, the pair will receive $7,500 to use at its discretion. 

We also welcome pairs of faculty who teach different sections of a core course. The same arrangements apply (one or both may participate; if both, the pair would receive $7,500).

Do all Collaborative Project Courses involve research?

Many do, but this is not a requirement. 

Do all Collaborative Project Courses involve community partners?

Many do, but this is not a requirement. 

Are all Collaborative Project Courses interdisciplinary? 

No, these courses may be deeply rooted within a discipline or interdisciplinary. All types of courses can benefit from this mode of pedagogy. 

Is this program primarily focused on undergraduate courses?

No! Faculty who teach graduate and/or professional students or mixed-level courses are encouraged to consider this fellowship. All schools and programs are invited to reimagine their coursework to include Collaborative Project Courses. 

What is the Collaborative Project Expeditions program and how would it fit in with this fellowship?

The Collaborative Project Expeditions program provides support for doctoral students to work with a faculty sponsor to create or redesign a course that integrates collaborative, project-based work as a central element of the course design. Participating students receive a stipend of $1,750 and are expected to spend approximately 75 hours over the course of the summer or a semester developing the collaborative project in consultation with their faculty sponsor. Common tasks that graduate students could assist with include cultivating client relationships and lining up projects with external partners, developing resources to support teams (e.g., project charters, peer assessments) or curating archival or other materials/resources for teams to work with throughout the duration of their project. 

This is an optional element of the program. If you are interested in having a doctoral student work with you, please indicate whether you have a doctoral student in mind or if you would need help recruiting a student.