Reacting Consortium and The Endeavor Foundation Announce High Impact Challenge Grants

The Reacting Consortium, in collaboration with The Endeavor Foundation, is pleased to announce that it will award 18 mini-grants to colleges and universities that seek to develop and implement curriculum innovations that use Reacting to the Past, a proven high impact learning pedagogy. The Endeavor Foundation has provided the Reacting Consortium with $178,500 over three years for this initiative.  The Reacting Consortium will award the first six grants, each for $7500, on October 20, 2016, to enable institutional teams to attend a conference focused on learning about curriculum revision and experiencing Reacting to the Past games, and to receive ongoing support for their institutional discussions from the Consortium.  The second six grants will be awarded mid-December. Application details are listed below.

As noted in the recent feature on Inside Higher Ed, the application deadline the second round of grants is December 1, 2016.  The second round of grants will be awarded for the June 2017 Annual Institute.

Winner of the Theodore Hesburgh Prize (TIAA-CREF) as the nation’s outstanding innovation in higher education, Reacting to the Past consists of complex in-class games, set in the past, in which students take on roles informed by classic texts.  Reacting games are used at hundreds of institutions—from community colleges to highly selective liberal arts colleges—and in multiple curricular contexts, including first-year seminars, capstone courses in honors colleges, and discussion sections in introductory surveys. In a recent blog post on his experience at our 2016 Annual Institute, "Reacting to the Past will revive your teaching,"  Goucher College President José Bowen concluded: "This is a pedagogy that will revitalize your classroom, change you and your students—whatever you teach."

For more information about Reacting, see our About Us page.

The application deadline for the second Reacting Endeavor Challenge Grants is December 1, 2016.  Applicants should show 1) that their institution is planning or implementing a curricular change that will employ high-impact practices including Reacting; and 2) that their institution has a clear process for advancing the project and can identify a strong five-member team, including at least one well-placed administrator. 

The Reacting Consortium will announce the second six institutional recipients of the Reacting Endeavor Challenge Grants by the end of January 2017, which will require those teams to attend the 17th Annual Institute at Barnard College, June 8-11, 2017. Reacting Endeavor Challege Teams will have a special program. There Reacting Endeavor teams will learn the Reacting pedagogy by playing mini-versions of Reacting games, by interacting with their own and other teams, and by participating in sessions on curriculum design and institutional change. The Reacting Consortium will also provide each team with a facilitator to advise on various issues of curriculum development and implementation for one year after the Institute.

The Reacting Endeavor Challenge Grant is a direct response to the plea of Derek Bok, former Harvard University president, outlined in Our Underachieving Colleges (2004).  There Bok observed that those who sought to revitalize college instruction often found it next to impossible to break through “the crust of inertia and complacency.”   

The Reacting Consortium has demonstrated the ability to overcome this inertia and energize faculty in developing highly engaging and interactive role playing simulations that have proven to achieve the Essential Learning Outcomes called for by the AAC&U LEAP initiative and other research on best practices in learning. The Consortium has built a strong collaboration across all types of higher education institutions and disciplines that it can now share with institutions that need help to take the next step in developing curriculum discussions.

Application details

Applicant institutions should submit a statement of 3-5 pages (12 point type, single- or double-spaced) outlining their plan for exploring the use of Reacting to the Past within a curriculum revision. Applications are encouraged from all types of accredited higher education institutions offering undergraduate degrees exploring one of a variety of programs such as general/liberal education, disciplinary programs, honors programs, or experiential learning programs that will have a significant impact on their campus. The application should:

  1. Identify the institutional name and the primary contact for the grant application. If this contact is not the CAO or Dean of a College/School/Division, indicate the name and title of the institutional official who has approved the team’s submission;
  2. Provide a list of the names, positions, and contact information for five members of the institutional team who will attend the team-based conference. While most teams will include several faculty and staff members, each team must include the Chief Academic Officer or a suitable high administrative designate who has the ability to contribute to discussions on institutional resources and commitments.
  3. Outline the purpose of the project in a concise narrative, including
    1. A statement of the project’s programmatic goals or student learning outcomes;
    2. A summary of the current state of the project:  for example, would the Reacting Endeavor grant advance an existing curricular revision or would it help jump start a more preliminary discussion? Has the institution committed any resources to develop or implement the team’s project?;
    3. A candid assessment of the projected obstacles to implementation of high-impact practices such as Reacting;
    4. A sentence or two indicating how the experience or expertise of each member of the team will contribute to the project.
  4. Include any additional links or attachments that might assist the Reacting Consortium in understanding the team’s application.

The majority of the $7500 grant will cover expenses for registration, accommodations, and most meals for the team to attend a team-based track at the 17th Annual Institute. The remaining funds will cover travel costs, or otherwise help advance the project, by funding campus workshops, providing stipends for courses development, or supporting attendance at future conferences. Each institution that is awarded a grant will be made an institutional member of the Reacting Consortium for one year, and thus will be eligible to receive discounts on Reacting Consortium sponsored events throughout the year.


December 1, 2016: Second Round of Applications Due. PDF attachments should be sent to Dr. Jennifer Worth, Administrative Director of the Reacting Consortium at Questions about the applications should be directed to Dr. John M. Burney, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Doane University and Chair of the Reacting Endeavor Project at

January 13-15, 2017: Reacting Winter Conference at the University of Georgia for first round Reacting Endeavor Challenge Team grantees. Each successful team will be sent further details on the Winter Conference at the time of receiving first awards.

January 31, 2017: Notice of Second Six Awards.

June 8-11, 2017: 17th Annual Institute at Barnard College for second round Reacting Endeavor Challenge Team grantees. Each successful team will be sent furrther details on the Annual Institute at the time of receiving second awards. Institutions which do not receive an award should watch the Reacting Consortium web-site for information on applying for the Third round of Reacting Endeavor Challenge Grants, currently planned for a conference in January 2018.