The SEMSS Innovation Project


The VCU Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success (SEMSS) is committed to creating and improving efforts related to recruitment, retention and engagement of students, in addition to creating opportunities to foster innovation and creativity among staff. To support these efforts, SEMSS, through the Vice President for Strategy, Enrollment Management and Student Success, is soliciting proposals for implementation of the Innovation Project—a mini-grant program that supports small and/or pilot initiatives created to further the recruitment, retention and engagement of students at VCU. Through this mini-grant program, we hope to generate ideas, foster initiatives and stimulate educational efforts that are tailored to the needs of VCU students related to college access, persistence and graduation.

The Innovation Project seeks to engage a broader spectrum of SEMSS staff, beyond the director and senior leadership levels, in the work of moving VCU toward a more student-centered environment. Therefore, in addition to approved funding, grant recipients will receive the following:

  • Five (5) hours per week release time from regular duties to work on their mini-grant project.

  • Professional coach/mentor to guide recipients through the project implementation. Grant recipients will have the opportunity to request their top three (3) choices for a professional coach and mentor related to the subject of their project.

The goals of the Innovation Project mini-grant are:

  • To encourage creativity and innovation among SEMSS staff.

  • To promote the development of initiatives related to VCU and SEMSS strategic goals of recruitment, retention and engagement of students.

  • To provide professional development opportunities to grant recipients through proposal development and submission, grant implementation processes, budget management, etc.

Eligibility criteria

All full-time SEMSS staff members who do not hold the positions of Director; Executive Director; Assistant, Associate or Sr. Associate Vice President; or Vice President. While individuals are encouraged to submit mini-grant proposals, teams of no more than two (2) SEMSS professionals are welcome to submit.

Mini-grant amounts

SEMSS will award five (5) $1,000 to $2,000 grants for the 2022-2023 academic year. These are state discretionary funds and must be spent by the grant recipient before May 31, 2023 in accordance with approved university guidelines.

Mini-grant proposal submission process

Call for proposals: September 12-30, 2022

Committee review of proposals: October 3-7, 2022

Announcement of 2022-2023 grant recipients: October 10, 2022