Whittier Innovates


As the College prepares for the challenges of an uncertain future, what are the innovations that will better position us to meet the emerging needs of our students, faculty, and staff within each department and across campus? 

The current crisis has shed light on new opportunities for innovation, and in some cases, intensified existing needs. We must be timely and decisive in the ways we address these needs. This is your opportunity to champion your idea, receive funding through the Presidential Innovation Fund, and own your project into the future. You can be the change leader we need right now on the Poet campus. 

New This Year

Proposals will be reviewed immediately and on an ongoing basis. Decisions for grant funding will be made by the Whittier Innovates committee within three weeks of application submission to support immediate rollout. 

Who is eligible?

  • All faculty, staff, and students
  • Individuals can participate, but collaborative teams are encouraged

What’s in it for you?

The opportunity to lead a new campus innovation and manage the implementation and success of your project from start to finish. It’s also an opportunity to enhance your résumé, and you’ll be featured through website and social media news stories.

How to Submit

  • Access the application
  • You may submit either a written application or video submission 
  • You must include a financial itemization outlining how the grant will be used 

How will applications be evaluated?

  • Likelihood of successful execution of proposal
  • Applicant clearly demonstrates a plan for the sustainability of the innovation beyond initial funding 
  • Proposal addresses a clear pain point and communicates the value to campus
  • Applicant(s) can demonstrate support from their department head(s)
    • Others across campus would also be inspired to support the proposal submitted 
    • Alignment with the College’s priorities (in light of current pandemic)
  • Consideration for

      impact on student success 

    • impact on revenue (this is especially important to highlight in each application: what efficiencies, cost-savings, or revenue will the project generate?)       
    • impact on equity and inclusion


  • Grants will be made on an ongoing basis, and there is no limit to the level of funding you may request
  • Must demonstrate a plan for the sustainability of your innovation beyond initial funding
  • Embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and collaborate across campus
  • Projects that are currently being funded (or are eligible for funding) through other sources are not eligible (i.e. fellowships, grants, faculty research in progress, etc.)
  • Students should not only consult with faculty or staff members, but should secure a mentor who can assist in executing the project (a faculty or staff member)
  • Awardees will be required to submit updates on their project
  • Vice Presidents and members of President Oubré’s cabinet are ineligible
  • Have fun! 


  • What idea do you have to better identify and reach our students in a safe, confidential, and supportive way in the age of social distancing and the growing digital divide?
  • What technologies can you implement to address the digital divide? 
  • What programmatic innovations would offer students opportunities for career prep, resilience, and empowerment in a challenging job market and allow us to better track their progress? 
  • How can we stay better connected as a campus community (an app, website, portal)?
  • What strengths can you help Whittier build upon to create new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff, and to elevate our national reputation as we seek to attract future members of the Poet community?
  • Let your imagination run free!
  • See last year’s winners: two were selected and funded

The Presidential Innovation Fund is possible thanks to the generosity of donors from the Poet community.