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Knowledge Communities

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Knowledge Communities Grants provide opportunities for staff and faculty at the University of Michigan to actively collaborate on scholarship-to-practice initiatives to drive institutional transformation on campus and across the country.

Knowledge Communities are grounded in inquiry and knowledge building. They integrate the scholarship and theory of scholars with the experience and expertise of practitioners in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice. This integration generates new knowledge, practices, and innovations which will be documented through the creation of products and artifacts by the Knowledge Community.

Each Knowledge Community should focus on a specific DEI theme, topic, or issue. They are co-led by a staff and faculty member to encourage collaboration and the use of expertise across roles and functions. Ideally, each Knowledge Community will include 6-12 participants, who will meet regularly over an 18-month period. During this time, the Knowledge Community will establish goals, plan activities, and create a product/artifacts related to the theme, topic, or issue. At the end of the 18 months, the Knowledge Community will submit a 2-3 page report of activities and knowledge gained through the process.

These grants are offered annually for an 18-month duration, and applicants may apply for up to $5,000 in funding.

Through this initiative, we aim to:

  • Connect faculty and staff who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact. Knowledge Communities allow faculty and staff to build a network where they can learn from each other’s knowledge, expertise, and experience.
  • Cultivate existing knowledge and practices on campus to help faculty and staff improve their own practice and develop cross-campus collaborations. Knowledge Communities provide a forum to identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate best practices.
  • Create new knowledge and understanding around DEI issues and practices. Knowledge Communities equip faculty and staff with new insights in order to transform their own practice and the practices of their respective units in order to create cross-campus institutional change.

Currently not accepting applications.


Staff and faculty at the University of Michigan may submit a proposal for a Knowledge Community. Proposals that engage students are encouraged.

Product Guidelines

One of the main features of the Knowledge Communities is the production of a product or artifact to represent the learning and knowledge building that has taken place within the community. The product can take on many different forms. It is most important that the product is a result of inquiry and should integrate scholarship and best practices in order to generate awareness, understanding, commitments, or actions. Lastly, projects should to be accessible to a public audience.

Some examples of projects include but not limited to:

Mini conference/symposium/colloquium

Creative/performing arts project; Exhibit

Institutional report/brief


Webinars or video

Resource guide, manual, or toolkit

Awareness campaign

It is important for each Knowledge Community to determine the appropriate product/artifact based on the purpose, goals, and activities of the Knowledge Community.

Funding Administration

Proposals may request up to $5,000 in funding, with awards each year based on proposal strength and available funding. Recipients are responsible for working with the NCID staff to arrange for good stewardship of the funds.

One of the co-leaders must be designated as the awardee of the funds. The department of the co-leader is responsible for creating a shortcode to receive the funds. If there are any issues or concerns with this process, please contact NCID.

Ineligible Expenses

Budget proposals should NOT include:

Salary (for faculty, full-time staff, graduate assistants, or other student personnel)

Travel expenses not directly related to the proposed project objectives and outcomes

No more than 50% of budget should go towards travel or food.

Award amounts are final. Each award stipulates an expiration date, after which any balance remaining is returned to NCID. Awardees may not retain the monies if they leave the University of Michigan.

Coordination & Logistical Support

Each Knowledge Community should be self-organized by the participants, have an ongoing core membership, and meet regularly throughout the academic year. They will be coordinated by the staff and faculty co-leaders. The co-leaders will schedule meetings, reserve rooms, facilitate meetings, providing language for website, and other logistics.

Request for Proposal Process

An application consists of:


  • Resume/CV and biographical sketch of co-chairs.
    • Should be at least 1 staff and 1 faculty member
  • Knowledge Community Statement (no more than 10 pages). The statement should include the following:
    • A description of the theme, topic, or issue for the Knowledge Community and how is it related to, and likely to advance, the DEI mission of U-M.
    • The purpose and goals of the Knowledge Community.
    • The specific products/artifacts that will be produced by this Knowledge Community.
    • A description of how the Knowledge Community plans to integrate research and theory of scholars with the experience and expertise of practitioners in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
    • Timeline and narrative on the feasibility of project completion with the 18 month funding period.
    • The biographical sketch should include a description of how the co-chairs uniquely positioned to lead the proposed Knowledge Community.
    • List of at least 5 potential members for this Knowledge Community and their contact information
  • Budget request
    • Budget justification/rationale, including other sources of funding.
    • We prioritize projects which includes cost-sharing among various units.