As Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Digital Education, Caroline Levander oversees Rice’s strategic academic priorities in quality teaching, digital education, entrepreneurship, and international engagement. She leads the digital learning and scholarship endeavor, which includes overseeing all online curricula as well as K-20 digital initiatives.

In support of these initiatives, SIDE runs three university funds that are a part of Rice’s Creative Ventures: the Faculty Initiatives Fund, the Teaching Innovation Fund, and the Rice Online Grant Program.

The Faculty Initiatives Fund is part of a competitive fund for Rice faculty in all disciplines that provides seed money for ambitious new interdisciplinary research projects, collaborations, or pedagogical models. The FIF awards of $50,000-$75,000 support projects that might lead to larger endeavors, external funding opportunities, or unusually innovative collaborations.

The Teaching Innovation Fund welcomes proposals from departments, groups of faculty, or individual faculty seeking to develop pedagogy, courseware, or curriculum that utilizes new technologies, delivery methods, or tools. The TIF awards competitive grants of between $5,000-$10,000 in all disciplines.

The Rice Online Grant Program accepts proposal from Rice faculty who are interested in creating online courseware or projects that encourage pedagogical innovation. Over the last four years, Rice faculty from a wide range of disciplines have developed successful, high-quality online courses that have stimulated innovation in teaching and learning, enhanced campus courses, and reached a world-wide audience.