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Pathways to Success 

Virginia Tech's First Year Experiences

SACS Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

Request for Proposals (RFP) 2014 - 2015 

Proposals are due February 10, 2014 by 5:00PM   


The Virginia Tech Office of First Year Experiences (FYE) invites participation in the fifth year of funding for Pathways to Success.  In this request for proposals you will find:

Overview of Pathways to Success
Eligibility Information
Funding Information
Program Requirements for Pathways to Success
Online Proposal Submission Form
Budget Worksheet
Cover Sheet

If your program is approved for funding a formal implementation plan and assessment strategy will be required by the Office of First Year Experiences by April 14, 2014.  Additionally, a first draft of your course or program syllabus will be required by early to mid June (exact date to be determined).


Overview of Pathways to Success

Virginia Tech’s Office of First Year Experiences (FYE) invites participation in the fourth year of funding for Pathways to Success, an institutional initiative implemented in 2010 as Virginia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) - a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation requirement.  Grants will be awarded to academic units for programs in the 2014-2015 academic year with the intent of serving approximately 5,000 first year students.  Descriptions of the currently funded programs and additional information can be found at   The five-year plan for the QEP implementation is to have approved programs in place providing the opportunity for all first year freshmen and transfer students by 2015. 

Virginia Tech's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Pathways to Success, focuses on discipline specific first year experiences that provide curricular and co-curricular learning opportunities and intellectual and practical skills that are foundational to students’ development into lifelong learners. In facilitation of this goal, Pathways to Success project activities customize learning and assessment activities to address the following three learning outcomes of  

Problem Solving - the ability to define a problem, identify problem-solving strategies, and propose solutions/hypotheses;

Inquiry – the ability to select a topic of inquiry, access and evaluate existing knowledge, research, and/or views, and use information effectively, ethically, and legally to accomplish a specific purpose; and

Integration of learning- the ability and disposition to make connections between ideas and experiences, apply them across disciplines and to new learning situations within and beyond campus, and reflect upon and assess themselves as learners.



Academic units (i.e. departments, schools, colleges) are eligible to apply for Pathways to Success grants.  Academic departments that apply must do so through and with the support of their college administration.  The principal investigator must be a faculty member or be in an Administrative Professional (AP) position.



Funding for approved projects is to the college or an academic department for fiscal and administrative oversight.  When determining the amount to request, proposers should keep in mind that the primary goal is to serve as many students as feasible.  Depending on the number of students served, funded projects have ranged from $10,000 to $45,000.   Examples of appropriate use of funds include, but may not be limited to, GTA support, faculty summer stipends, release time from teaching, books, software, or technology support.  Principal investigators will be required to account for how the grant money is used.


Program Requirements

Pathways to Success programs should be consistent with the mission, strategic directions and culture of the proposing academic unit and reflect student experiences particularly important to and appropriate for the unit.  

Funded programs must address how the three learning outcomes of problem solving, inquiry, and integration of learning are appropriately tailored to meet the unique needs of first year students in individual academic units and how these outcomes are meaningful and measurable indicators of learning. 

Every program that is funded will:

  • Integrate the learning outcomes of problem solving, inquiry, and integration of learning into the course curriculum in measurable ways;
  • Partner with at least one unit of the Division of Student Affairs;
  • Collaborate with the University Libraries;
  • Integrate the electronic Pathways Planner;
  • Integrate the university’s Common Book; and
  • Participate in ongoing training and workshops provided throughout the funding cycle, including CIDER, Assessment, and Camp QEP events;


Programs with one or more of the following characteristics are strongly encouraged:

  • An interdisciplinary emphasis and/or inter-college perspectives of learning/research
  • The incorporation of high impact practices to achieve learning outcomes, such as undergraduate research, collaborative assignments, global learning opportunities, and community-based  learning
  • The establishment of robust partnerships with non-Student Affairs partners such as The Community Learning Collaborative, the Student Success Center, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Women’s Center

To begin your online submission please click HERE

Proposals are due February 10, 2014 by 5:00PM  

Download Virginia Tech's First Year Experiences Pathways to Success Request for Proposals 2014 - 2015 Cover Sheet & Budget Worksheet

Download the Pathways to Success Cover Sheet and Budget Worksheet below:

First Year Experiences Request for Proposals Cover Sheet (DOCX | 20KB)

First Year Experiences Request for Proposals Budget Worksheet (DOCX | 82KB)