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Teaching & Learning Innovation Fund

The Teaching & Learning Innovation Fund (TLIF) is designed to support pedagogical innovation at KPU. Recognizing the diverse array of programs and instructional approaches that are necessary and valued at a polytechnic university, the TLIF takes an inclusive approach by supporting a broad range of projects that advance teaching practices at KPU (Goal 2 of Academic Plan 2023) and that increase innovation in teaching, learning and curriculum (Goal C2 of Vision 2023). These projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Educational media creation
  • Experiential/service learning projects 
  • Inclusive design/universal design for learning projects
  • Instructional resource creation (including for collaborative “sprint” projects)
  • Open pedagogy projects
  • Problem-based learning projects
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Virtual/augmented reality projects


Regular instructors and support staff with instructional responsibilities (e.g., lab instructors, etc.) are eligible to apply to the TLIF. Applications may be submitted by individuals or groups. Non-regular instructors and students may be co-applicants.


Applications for TLIF may include a budget up to $10,000.

Funds will support short-term (up to one-year) proposals and may be used for the following purposes:

  • Student and/or research assistants
  • Support persons with special expertise/skillsets
  • Honoraria to external collaborators
  • Honoraria or other compensation for research participants
  • Subscriptions to software or technology platforms
    • Note that these purchases require an assessment of information security and privacy and purchasing through procurement.
  • Institutional purchases of materials or equipment necessary for the project
    • Note that computer hardware equipment must be purchased through IT and procurement.
  • Supporting project-related events (e.g., workshop facilitator fees, catering, etc.)
  • Travel and registration costs related to knowledge dissemination (e.g., academic conference). Travel and related costs may not exceed 25% of the project budget.

Funds may not be used towards:

  • Compensation of KPU instructors or support staff
  • Course or time releases
  • Journal subscriptions
  • Article processing charges (APCs)
  • Professional memberships

Note that this fund is not intended to provide continuing support for projects.

Application Deadline

Applications for the TLIF are accepted on an ongoing basis until the annual funding is exhausted. If the project involves research (e.g., scholarship of teaching and learning), REB approval must be secured before the awarded funds may be accessed.


Applications to the TLIF will be adjudicated within two weeks, in order to support the rapid implementation of teaching and learning innovation. TLIF applications are adjudicated by a committee comprised of three faculty members (drawn from the pool of educational consultants seconded to the Teaching & Learning Commons), one support staff employee (drawn from the pool of support staff working in the Office of Teaching & Learning and Office of Open Education), and two administrators (one Dean, along with the Associate Vice President, Teaching & Learning).

Application Process

Download and complete the application form and submit it to

Adjudication Criteria

Successful TLIF applications will have a:

  1. Description of the significance of the project and a clear connection to advancing teaching practices at KPU (Goal 2 of Academic Plan 2023)
  2. Foreseeable positive impact within the KPU community
  3. Clear plan for how the teaching & learning innovation will be shared, scaled, or otherwise sustained
  4. Realistic budget with justification for each item and relevant quotes for software subscriptions/platforms, IT-related technology/devices, and other equipment, materials, and resources
  5. Clear description of the benchmarks or metrics that will be used to assess the impact of the project

Expectations of all TLIF Funding Recipients

  1. Submit a final report upon completion of the project to the mailbox (template will be provided).
  2. Actively share the results of the project within the KPU community, including by:
    1. Writing a blog post for the Teaching & Learning Commons' Pedagogy + Practice blog
    2. Being interviewed by staff in the Office of Teaching & Learning, for a feature in a newsletter, podcast, or on the website
    3. Presenting on the project at the Annual Symposium, KPU Day, or other appropriate internal opportunities for professional development
    4. Sharing the artefacts of the project (which may include assignment guides, rubrics, learning resources, or instructional plans) by uploading a copy of these into our institutional repository (KORA) under an open, Creative Commons license which allows others to freely adapt, modify, copy, and/or redistribute the material for teaching and learning related purposes
  3. Submit project proposals to the KPU's Research Ethics Board for approval, if applicable.
  4. Acknowledge support of the Teaching & Learning Innovation Fund during presentations or in related publications.

Funded Projects

Recipients: Dr. Larissa Petrillo, Dr. Jennifer Hardwick, and Ellen Pond, Faculty of Arts

  • Project title: Pilot Program for Service Learning Assistants
  • Award: $9,760.56
  • Project summary: This pilot program will empower exceptional student-leaders to help ensure service-learning projects are transformative, meaningful, and reciprocal. Service Learning Assistants (SLAs) are paid student leaders who help coordinate and support service-learning courses at KPU. SLAs are typically assigned to support 3 service-learning courses per semester, working with faculty, students, and community partners. This pilot program is adapted from the SLA program at Tulane University. The Faculty of Arts and School of Business will be the initial pilot program site for the Service Learning Assistants program.

Recipient: Jessica Bayntun, Wilson School of Design

  • Project title: Special Topics Course, "3D Futures"
  • Award: $6,384.54
  • Project summary: Students will have the opportunity to explore how we interact with clothing, how technology shapes us, and how to create a meaningful creative culture by immersing in technologies such as 3D scanning, augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3-dimensional illustration. Through researching three-dimensional visualization techniques, design theory, and the future of manufacturing, students will learn how to propose designs that address future design problems and text virtual simulations before the cutting and sewing of physical samples. 

Recipient: Erika Balcombe, Wilson School of Design

  • Project title: Viral Design (a digital exhibition of design student work related to the pandemic)
  • Award: $1,680.00
  • Project summary: Viral Design will be a curated, digital exhibition that showcases student design work from across the 7 disciplines within the Wilson School of Design and will address the reality of living amid COVID-19 while highlighting the challenges of designing for a post-pandemic world. Exhibiting a diversity of work, this showcase will demonstrate multi-disciplinary engagement with real-world problems and reflect the role of design in our contemporary world in order to envision what a “new normal” might look like.

Recipients: Kent Mullinix, Wallapak Polasub, Payal Batra, Leah Sandler & Mike Robinson, Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

  • Project title: Open-source Educational Media for Agriculture Extension and Building Community Connections
  • Award: $9,972.27
  • Project summary: The Institute for Sustainable Food System (ISFS) will produce two educational video series with the goal of providing agricultural extension services to regenerative small-scale farmers across KPU’s community. The first video series will focus on organic farming practices at the Tsawwassen First Nation farm school while the second will pay attention to the nutrition, health, and use of local vegetables. These video series will be open access resources and a vehicle to engage farmers and communities with the ISFS and KPU.

Recipients: Brandon Justus, Faculty of Arts, Psychology

  • Project title: The Impact of Tabletop Games on Team Cohesion and Attitudes in Higher Education
  • Award: $8,130.00
  • Project summary: Students are expected to work on group projects throughout their undergraduate studies, yet many students struggle with forming cohesive and successful teams as it is often challenging to work with uncooperative team members. This award will help advance teaching excellence by investigating if tabletop games can be used as a tool within classrooms to improve group cohesion and team attitudes. This scholarship of teaching and learning project will assess the impact of the use of group-based roleplaying, strategy, and co-op games on the development of interpersonal and team-bonding skills that may transfer to course-based projects.

Recipients: Kyle Jackson, Faculty of Arts, History

  • Project title: 3D-Printing the Past: A Collaborative Map Blending Art, Data, Design, and South Asian History
  • Award: $1,480.80
  • Project summary: Through a cross-disciplinary student collaboration between KPU History and the Wilson School of Design, this project will create a 3D-printed sculpture that physically embodies quantitative historical data as a world map, blurring the boundary between history and art while experimenting with a new way of representing the histories of South Asian print media. With help from second-year History major, Lucas Akai, and Melanie Bland, Divisional Lab Coordinator from the Wilson School of Design, the project aims to connect Lucas’ ARTS 3993 research to the expertise and 3D-printing facilities at the Wilson School of Design, forging a first-ever link between the two areas at KPU.

Recipients: Jocelyn Lymburner, Faculty of Arts, Psychology

  • Project title: Improving Student Wellness through Education: The Development and Delivery of Wellness Labs
  • Award: $3,799.22
  • Project summary: With the advent of COVID-19, students have not only faced additional stressors but have been robbed of their typical coping resources, creating what some have called a mental health crisis in this population. In order to combat this, the current project aims to engage students through the development and delivery of wellness labs within the framework of KPU’s new ARTS 2000 course – The Science and Practice of Wellness. This award will provide experiential learning opportunities and direct wellness benefits through the application of scientifically supported wellness practices (i.e. mindfulness, emotional intelligence, gratitude practices, and self-compassion) designed to improve the overall well-being of our students.

Recipients: Connie Klimek, Faculty of Health

  • Project title: Aligning the Fraser Health 48-6 Model of Care with isolated seniors’ home health and the KPU BSN Community Health Nursing Curriculum
  • Award: $8,320.00
  • Project summary: In partnership with Fraser Health and Langley Home Health, this project aims to enhance continuity of care for clients in the Fraser Health region as they transition from hospital to home. The 26-week program will see KPU Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students increasing their community engagement through visiting and providing lunches for home-bound isolated seniors with the goal of reducing clients’ sense of social isolation and enhance their sense of belonging, value and influence, particularly during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Together, BSN students will build relationships with their community while also coming to understand how determinants of health impact vulnerable and marginalized populations within the Lower Mainland.

Recipients: Lee Beavington, Faculty of Science & Horticulture

  • Project title: Place-based, Interdisciplinary Learning in Natural Environments at/near KPU Surrey
  • Co-applicants: Farhad Dastur (Faculty of Arts, Psychology), Amy Huestis (Faculty of Arts, Fine Arts), Parthiphan Krishnan (Faculty of Arts, Geography), Ross Laird (Faculty of Arts, Creative Writing), Jaden Lewis (Faculty of Science & Horticulture, Biology), David Sadoway (Faculyt of Arts, Geography), Yhanu Sivapalan (Student, Geography), Nicole Tunbridge (Faculty of Science and Horticulture, Biology), Liz Toohey-Wiese (Faculty of Arts, Fine Arts)
  • Award: $9,990.00
  • Project summary: Outdoor learning not only cultivates “independent and self-regulated learners”, it enhances community engagement, physical and mental health, and fosters Indigenizing the curriculum. This interdisciplinary project, spanning multiple Faculties across the institution and in collaboration with KPU students, aims to create written and audio-visual resources that will be used to map out natural outdoor spaces in and around KPU’s Surrey campus. The goal is to further drive place-based teaching and learning, especially as we return to campus and explore what our New KPU will look like in the Fall.

Recipients: Sue Fairburn and Melanie Bland, Wilson School of Design

  • Project title: An Applied Online Materials Library for In-Person and Remote Learners in Design
  • Award: $7,992.80
  • Project summary: This pilot applied-materials library project for remote and in-person learning will encourage material curiosity through research and cataloging. Through access and use, students will be supported in developing their understanding and knowledge of materials, their properties, their appearance and their impacts on the environment through both hands-on learning and remote access. This project aims to explore and propose a research-based approach to materials that considers innovative hard/soft material combinations and links to content otherwise unavailable. It will also deepen awareness of recyclability/end-of-life information to inform material choice and use as well as enhance visibility of the material aspects of design to the public. 

Recipient: Shayna Rusticus, Faculty of Arts

  • Project title: The Impact of Course Format On Student Perceptions of the Classroom Learning Environment
  • Award: $8,443.56
  • Project summary: This study seeks to apply the community of inquiry framework to explore differences between in-person, blended and online class formats in teaching presence, social presence, cognitive presence, sense of community, and perceptions of teamwork. Using a non-experimental design, this study will assess the ability of teaching, social and cognitive presence to predict a sense of community in the classroom and overall course satisfaction. This project has the potential to provide guidance on how class formats can be used or modified to improve student learning and preceptions of the learning environment. 

Hiring Student Assistants

If you are planning on hiring a student assistant as part of your approved TLIF, download these documents and email them to your student assistant. It is important to complete this paperwork before the student starts working. When the documents are complete, email them to

In addition to the documents provided below, the student assistant must provide a photocopy or clear photograph of their SIN card. They will also need to sign a Casual Service Contract which will be emailed to them once their completed documents have been received to the T&L Commons inbox.


Aspects of the TLIF program were inspired or adapted from similar funds at other universities, including Brock University, the University of Calgary, the University of the Fraser Valley, the University of New Brunswick, Ontario Tech University, Queens University, Royal Roads University, Suffolk University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Windsor.