Are you a LCTL instructor interested in furthering proficiency-based online language instruction and collaborating with colleagues across institutions? The Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages Partnership, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and housed in the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) at Michigan State University, is seeking to support additional working groups that will create open materials and engage in strategic collaboration across institutions of higher education. We are launching a call for working groups (individuals across 2 to 4 institutions) to develop an open textbook and lesson plans for their language as well as create a strategic coordination plan across their institutions.  

Award: up to $30,000 per group 

The application process begins with a Letter of Intent (max of 4 pages), which will be submitted below. Your letter should address: 

  1. description of project personnel (brief background, why they wish to collaborate together) 
  2. project proposal including creation of open materials and strategic collaboration (see more details below)
  3. project timeline
  4. rough budget calculations (how will the up to $30,000 be distributed, including how many hours your estimate you will spend on the project, cost per hour, etc.) 

Proposal Timeline 

Letter of Intent Deadline: January 31, 2023 

  • January 31, 2023 – letter of intent due 
  • If selected to move on in the process, full proposals will be due by March 27, 2023 
  • Notification of award will happen in late March/early April 

Project Deliverables

  • Detailed plan for group work, created through participation in TDI Workshop (Group launch) 
    • The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) workshop will be organized and paid for by the grant. This workshop will help your group set goals and make a more detailed plan from your proposal. 
  • OER Textbook and lesson plan (estimate of approximately 70% of project effort) 
  • Strategic Collaboration Plan (30% project effort) 
  • Commitment to piloting OER textbook and lesson plans 
    • Include plan for any revisions necessary 

Project Timeline 

  • All projects must be complete by July 31, 2024 in order for billing to be finalized by the end of the grant on August 31, 2024.  
  • Working groups may choose to work during the summers (2023 & 2024) or during the academic year or some combination thereof.  
  • Groups may start as early as May 15, 2023 (or as soon as subawards are executed) or as late as August 16, 2023. 

Proposal Evaluation

Working group proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • Completeness and feasibility of proposal 
  • Instructor group strength and potential to collaborate effectively 
  • Pedagogy (e.g., focus on proficiency-, task-, project-based teaching approach) and transformational impact 
  • Demonstrated need of support (institutional and national) in the language 

Resource Creation 

  • Describe the level of textbook you wish to create (beginner, intermediate, advanced, content course, etc.)  
  • Describe the need for an open textbook at that level for your language.  
    • Do any other textbooks exist for your language at that level, especially open textbooks? 
    • How does your textbook complement existing (open access) materials? 
  • See examples of some recent MSU Open Textbooks here.

Strategic collaboration 

Enrollment fluctuations and trends are one of the biggest challenges for building sustainable LCTL programs. Strategic collaboration, including course sharing and joint programming, between institutions and organizations can lead to more consistent, sustainably larger enrollments, providing institutions with more language diversity. Strategic collaboration can also look like sharing efforts in program planning or sharing resources to maximize instructional capacity at all institutions. 

Questions you may consider while addressing this point:  

  • How could your institutions share students, instructional effort, course planning/offerings? Is there a possibility of launching a joint minor/major?  
  • How could your institutions collaborate to engage your language students across institutions in coursework (e.g., course sharing), extracurricular activities, etc.?  
  • How will you utilize your OER textbook amongst your group? Who is piloting it? Who will be implementing it? 
  • How will you gather and incorporate feedback? 
  • How will you share resources (teaching materials, planning, etc.) across your institutions? Be specific as to the logistics of this.  
  • Explore the possibility of sharing courses at different levels to maximize instructional capacity. 


  1. Which languages be a part of this project?
    • Any LCTL – that is, any less commonly taught language in the USA. For the purposes of our grant, this means all languages except English, French, German, or Spanish.
  2. Can independent scholars participate as part of the core working group?
    • No, Michigan State University will distribute the money via subawards to institutions, meaning all working group members must be employed by another institution/business
  3. Should all core members of the working group be in the USA?
    • Yes, the goal is to strengthen LCTL education in the United States, so all members of the core working group should be teaching at institutions in the USA
  4. Can some of the money be used to hire hourly assistance for the project in the form of students, other faculty, or consultants outside of the core working group members?
    • Yes, this would be feasible as long as they are included on one of your university’s subawards.
  5. Can I create something other than a textbook? Can the textbook cover multiple levels? Can I tailor it to [XYZ] university’s program
    • The idea behind creating an OER textbook is to create a resource that other instructors of your language that are *not* in your working group can easily use once it is published, not to create something specific to your program.
  6. How many awards will there be?
    • Up to three groups will be chosen for awards.

Additional Questions?

The Project Manager will hold two Q&A sessions on Zoom for interested parties who wish to discuss the project.