Viewing: ENT 510 : Writing Proposals in Agriculture, Biology, and Ecology

Last approved: Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:25:42 GMT

Last edit: Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:25:38 GMT

Changes proposed by: hjburrac
Change Type
ENT (Entomology)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Writing Proposals in Agriculture, Biology, and Ecology
Writing Proposals
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Entomology & Plant Pathology (11ENT)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Every Year
Fall 2018
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
ENT 791Fall 20179
ENT 791Fall 201620
ENT 791Fall 201523
ENT 791Fall 201314
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Hannah Burrack
Graduate Faculty

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture2020NoPrevious offerings as special topics course have attracted up to 23 enrolled students with 1-4 students sitting in without registration each semester.
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
Participants will be guided through the process of writing, with the intention to submit, a fellowship or grant proposal to an appropriate program of their selection and effective peer review of grant or fellowship proposals. The course includes a combination of lectures, in class activities, and direct practice. Students will also interact with a wide variety of experts in grant writing and evaluation who serve as weekly guest reviewers.

This course is unlike any other currently offered at NC State in that it takes an in depth, facilitated approach to training students in the grant writing and review process. While some other graduate level courses include writing a proposal as a single assignment or a writing exercise, this course familiarizes students with the entire proposal development, writing, and submission process through a combination of lectures, discussions, facilitated peer review, and expert guest reviewers. Please see attached message from Dr. Craig Layman who teaches an introductory graduate course in Applied Ecology which includes a grant proposal assignment but has a much different overall focus.

Grant writing is an essential skill for students interested in pursing careers in academia or non governmental organizations, but it is also beneficial for those working in industry or regulatory venues to develop methods for proposing initiatives and ideas.

The format of this course is also demonstrably successful. Prior offerings as a special topic have resulted in a total of 11 proposals selected for funding (fellowships & grants combined) and 7 selected as honorable mentions (fellowships only).


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

Dr. Burrack is the lead instructor of this course and currently devotes 5% effort to Teaching/Mentoring., In addition, the course includes approximately 9 guest reviewers. Guest reviewers vary between sessions but have included other faculty in CALS with demonstrated grant writing success, staff from campus offices that assist with grant preparation and submission (e.g. NCSU proposal development unit), program officers from outside agencies (recently the NC Biotech Center), and students who have successfully written proposals.

The course meets in a conference-style room to allow interaction and discussion between participants.

There are three objectives of this course.

1. Participants will write, with the intention to submit, a fellowship or grant proposal. To successfully complete this objective, participants will also necessarily do the following: describe their graduate research objectives succinctly in writing, and frame their objectives appropriately for the intended audience.

2. Participants will develop oral and written peer review skills.

3. Students will become familiar with grant writing resources within and outside NC State University. 

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify grant & fellowship programs appropriate to their research area.

  2. Develop testable hypotheses in the context of a grant proposal.

  3.  Describe appropriate experimental methods in the context of a grant proposal.

  4. Provide constructive written and oral feedback on the work of their peers.

  5. Incorporate peer feedback into their writing.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Readings12 ptsStudents will prepare three discussion questions from each required course reading. Students will send these questions to the instructor via email prior to the start of class and refer to them to inform in-class discussion of the readings. Due on dates indicated in course schedule.
Short Paper20 ptsStudents will provide an approximately 1000-word writing sample on a topic of their choosing. Writing samples need not be produced new specifically for this class and can include sections of previously written papers, blog posts, popular press articles, or other written material. Students will exchange writing samples with a partner of their choosing and then edit their partner's sample. Editing should focus on reducing wordiness, enhancing clarity, and reducing passive voice. Students should then revise their own writing sampling, incorporating their partner's edits. Final assignments as turned in to the instructor should consist of:
-The original writing sample
-The sample as edited by the student's partner
-The final, revised writing sample
Due on date indicated in course schedule.
Other10 ptsPractice review: Students will complete a primary review of a provided practice proposal following examples as provided by the instructor. Due on date indicated in course schedule.
Other2 ptsStudents will submit their proposal to the instructor by 5pm one week before their assigned review date. As the proposal will be reviewed in class, its content is not graded, only its timely submission. Proposals not submitted on time will not be reviewed by the class. Due on date as determined in class.
Other10 ptsStudents will read all the proposals for each week and, for proposals they are NOT assigned to as reviewers, should submit a one sentence positive attribute and a one sentence constructive criticism. 2 pts per proposal. Due on dates as determined in class.
Other10 ptsSecondary reviewers provide a written review of the proposal’s merits following the provided examples. This review is summarized orally in class. Due on date as determined in class.
Other20 ptsTertiary Review Panel: Tertiary reviewers provide a written review of the proposal’s merits following the provided examples. This review is summarized orally in class. The tertiary reviewer also serves as panel scribe and assembles a non-redundant summary of the in class discussion of the proposal. Due on date as determined in class.
Participation6 ptsStudents are expected to be actively engaged in class discussions and contribute to reviews of all proposals. Based on entire semester participation.
Other10 ptsPrimary reviewers provide a written review of the proposal’s merits following the provided examples. This review is summarized orally in class. Due on date as determined in class.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Fellowship or grant program selectionBefore first classStudents will select potential fellowship and grant programs which they intend to target before the first class session and come prepared to discuss their selection during the first class. Students will be provided with a list of potential programs compiled by the instructor.
Overview of course mechanicsWeek 1Students will share their target program. Instructor will review course mechanics. Students will be expected to have reviewed syllabus before the first class session and ask any questions at this time. The proposal review schedule will be set by the end of this week based on the deadlines of the programs students have selected.
Hypothesis constructionWeek 2Students will read three assigned articles on hypothesis design before class (Tully (2014), Grogan (2005), Platt (1964) ) and prepare two questions to discuss from the readings.

Students will also prepare draft hypotheses for their proposed project. They will present hypotheses in class, which will then be discussed and edited.
Writing for clarity and concisionWeek 3Students will complete the Purdue Online Writing Lab "Eliminating Wordiness" exercises:, and read Sand-Jensen (2007), Gopen and Swan (1990) prior to class. Students should bring two questions from these readings to class to discuss.

Students will bring a 1-2 paragraph writing sample to class. Writing samples can be excerpts of previously written work and do not need to be written specifically for this course. Working in pairs, students will be guided through editing their partners and revising their own writing samples. They will be evaluated on the extent of change and improvement from their original writing sample, with a specific emphasis on eliminating unnecessary wordiness and decreasing total word count.
Practice reviews and proposal constructionWeek 4Students will write a practice primary review of a provided example proposal and will discuss the proposal as a group in class.

The instructor will present a lecture illustrating typical proposal formats and the proposal submission process at NC State. The information presented will be tailored to the programs the students plan to submit proposals to.
Peer reviewsWeeks 5 through 14One to three proposals will be reviewed each week, with the review schedule determined based on program deadlines.

Throughout the semester, students will be assigned one proposal each as primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer. For all proposals which students are not assigned as a specific reviewer, they will submit one positive attribute and one constructive criticism. These reviews will be compiled by the instructor into a review packet and provided to the proposal author within one week of the review date to aid in editing their proposal.

The primary reviewer will summarize the proposal and lead the panel discussion. The secondary and tertiary reviewers will add any non redundant comments, and the tertiary reviewer will produce a writing summary of the overall panel discussion. Students not assigned as reviewers for a proposal are expected to contribute to panel discussions.

The instructor will provide the proposal author a detailed review of their proposal. In addition, a guest reviewer will participate in each peer review session. Guest reviewers will present a brief overview of a grant writing topic during the first 15 minutes of class. Topics in the past have included: Pitching your project to industry; Selecting and evaluating references; Developing and presenting broader impacts; Proposal design and layout; Developing and presenting research methods; Communicating science to non experts
Mock panelsWeeks 15 and 16Students will submit revised versions of their proposal for mock panel sessions.

The class will be divided in half, which each group evaluating the other's proposals. Unlike peer review sessions, proposal authors will not be present during mock panel sessions in which their proposal is being discussed. These sessions will be run similar to federal grant panels, with primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewers assigned to each proposal. Tertiary reviewers will prepare a panel summary including comments from all reviewers, which will be graded and provided to the proposal author.

Proposals will be ranked, and a virtual potential pool of funds will be distributed based on ranking.
mlnosbis 4/17/2018:
1) Including the words "biological sciences" in the title is confusing, since this course is not affiliated with that department. Since this is taught in ENT, I suggest perhaps using only "sciences" if your intent is to indicate the broad scope.
2) Course goals are broad goals for the course. If you list them on the CIM form, they should be included on the syllabus. (not required to include goals).
3) Learning Outcomes are required. See the Learning Outcomes Guidelines attached under Additional Documentation to revise the learning outcomes. They must be introduced with the phrase, "by the end of this course, students will be able to..." and the information on the syllabus should match the CIM form.
4) Syllabus notes:
- The note about course structure should be revised. If a course only meets for 2 hours per week, it is not a 3-credit course.
- The listed time of 3:34-5:25 is not an approved time on the campus timetable (, so this will require a Non Standard Meeting Request through Registration & Records. Just an FYI.
- There are no textbooks listed. What is the course material? Moodle readings?
- Need more information on the course assignments. Are there assignments that the students will give to each guest speaker for their feedback? This is unclear.
- There are many weeks on the syllabus where the topic is TBD. Do you have content for these weeks? General themes?

cohen (4/17/2018):
1. I, too, struggle with the title. I would actually prefer that the title reflect the name of the program or department and not be generalized to sciences. I would be interested in getting additional recommendations from the three reviewers for this action.
2. In CIM there are only 90 points listed under the Student Evaluation Methods section. The primary review section (10 points) is on the syllabus but not in CIM.
3. This course may not be taken for credit only (S/U grading). Please note that on the syllabus.

HJB, 4/17/2018
I have adjusted the course title. I am reluctant to include Entomology or Plant Pathology in the title because previous sessions as a special topics course have included roughly half non-entomology or plant pathology students, including students from other colleges. Guest reviewers also routinely include faculty from other colleges and disciplines. Let me know if the proposed new title is more appropriate.

I have adjusted the course goals & learning outcomes. Please let me know if this is adequate.

The syllabus has been edited to:
-reduce the credit hours to 2
-clarify that readings will be provided via Moodle (readings include both journal articles and sample proposals)
-provide additional information on course assignments
-specify topics to be addressed during review sessions. The specific dates each topic is covered vary based on guest reviewer availability, but I have listed the topics covered.

Thank you for catching that the peer review had not been included in CIM! I have added this, and the points now total 100.

ABGS Reviewer Comments 4/30/2018:
- Overall, I think it is an interesting course and one that many students across the university would benefit from. Once this course is permanent, I could see it being very popular if other programs know about it, etc. Do they plan to market this course to the general grad school population?
- I did see that there is a ENG 626 (Advanced Writing for Empirical Research), that appears to have some overlap, but not sure if that is still taught or if consultation with English is necessary. --> Suggest consultation with CHASS. Contact Deanna Dannels ( for consultation; add notes to the consultation field in CIM.
- Have they reached out to the Graduate School in general about this course and how it might mesh with professional development activities in the Graduate School? --> It is not required to reach out to the Graduate School because our professional development offerings are not credit bearing courses. The professional development team is aware of the course and may reach out the instructor if desired.

HJB, 5/21/2018
I have consulted with faculty in the English Department regarding their course (see attached email exchange). They agree that the course sounds useful and that it is not redundant with ENG 626; see attached email exchange (Penrose Email Chain 2018). Based on this exchange, I have again slightly adjusted the course title. I hope this will be acceptable to the reviewers.

ABGS Reviewer Comments 8/27/2018:
-The revised title is appropriate. I appreciate that the course is kept broader than just ENT students so that students from other colleges in related fields can benefit.
mlnosbis (Thu, 26 Apr 2018 14:32:40 GMT): Rollback: Not yet ready for Board approval.
Key: 24607
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