1. What is a letter of intent (LOI)?
A letter of intent is a cohesively written summary of the proposed project. It should provide an overview that includes the aims, methods and outcome and very clearly communicates the need, importance and feasibility of this work.
2. Why do I have to write a LOI and then a proposal?
The purpose of submitting an LOI first is to assure that the project meets the criteria for the Lewis University Faculty Scholar or Caterpillar Scholar Award and has departmental and dean support prior to putting in the work of developing a full proposal. The LOI consists of an application page plus a 750-word summary of the proposed project whereas a full proposal may be 20 pages in length.
3. If the project has two or more authors, is each applicant required to provide a LOI?
Each applicant must provide a LOI indicating that Department Chair/Program Director approval has been obtained. This assures that communications have occurred and support for the scholarly work has been obtained. The text of the project description should be the same.
4. How do I determine if I should apply for the Faculty Lewis University Scholar Award or the Caterpillar Scholar Award? Can I apply for both?
The Caterpillar Scholar Award is designated by the Caterpillar Foundation for scholarly work in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering or mathematics). The second major distinction is that the Lewis University Faculty Scholar Award provides 3 credit hours of reassigned time; i.e., teaching one less 3-credit hour course, for one semester. The Caterpillar Scholar Award is designed to be flexible to provide time; i.e., 3 credit hours of reassignment; or funding for equipment and supplies, student research assistant salaries; or a combination of both. The greater flexibility is designed to provide scholars with experience in developing a budget similar to a larger externally-funded grant. The third major difference is that the Caterpillar Scholar Award may span two semesters. A scholar may only apply for one of these awards at a given point in time. A scholar may apply for either award at a future date for a different project.
5. How do I determine which category my project fits into (discovery, integration, application, or teaching)? Can it fit into more than one category? Is it advantageous for it to fit into more than one category for the review?
It is best to make a decision as to which is the primary category for your project and keep that the aim of your application. A project that spans more than one category may seem poorly focused. The best applications are those that are sharply directed in a particular area and towards a particular end.
Discovery - original research; development of new knowledge; creative work
Integration - connections across disciplines, bringing new insight to original research
Application - application of science into practice; movement of knowledge to engagement
Teaching - transforming and extending knowledge/inquiry for the improvement of student learning
6. How is scholarship defined and how can I determine if my project meets the criteria?
Scholarship advances knowledge in one's discipline, has a theoretical component, a reasoned and logically coherent methodological approach and a planned trajectory over time. The most important component is the process that went into the production of the outcome. For example, a book or manuscript may be the outcome of scholarly work; but it is the planning, analysis, synthesis, or creation that went into the manuscript that is the scholarship. The scholar must identify what the area of scholarship is and then communicate the importance of that work to the larger community.
7. What happens to my LOI if I do not follow the format or complete it, as required?
The application will not be considered if it does not follow the requested format or is incomplete.
8. The submission format seems to follow the format for the sciences and does not seem applicable to my discipline.
The proposal format has been developed to be generalizable across disciplines. Every scholarly project should have aims, a theoretical framework or perspective, an approach to carry out the work, and an outcome.