The application period closes on Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Academic Technology and Outreach (ATO) at Montana State University invites proposals to develop non-credit professional development courses for 2022.

Engagement between MSU and individuals and communities across Montana continues to be a critical component of MSU’s Strategic Plan: Choosing Promise. The goal of this request for proposals is to leverage the knowledge and expertise of MSU faculty and staff to address the professional development needs of the people of the Gallatin Valley and beyond through non-credit course development.

What we offer

ATO aims to make your non-credit course goals easier to achieve. We provide management of course registration and fee collection, assistance with marketing, access to our non-credit Brightspace platform for online courses, and other support as appropriate.

We will list courses among ATO course offerings, and ATO will manage registrations and fee collection through our website. Although we cannot know what the future will hold, the expectation is that courses developed in response to this RFP will be offered on a repeating basis from year to year.

2021 Awardees

  • Jim Vanides, MSSE: "Teaching Science Online" uses a flipped classroom model to cover the top pedagogical skills every online science teacher needs to facilitate effective and exciting online science learning experiences.
  • Jeannie Dixon and Robyn Gotz, Earth Sciences: “Soils, Slopes and Streams” is designed to increase knowledge surrounding Earth surface processes for both traditional K-12 teachers and alternative educators. The course focuses on soils, streams and slopes and the processes that impact human lives.
  • Brianna Routh, Extension: “Teaching Nutrition and Culinary Sciences” addresses the growing need for food preparation and nutrition knowledge to promote individual, family and community wellbeing across Montana.

Questions and preliminary discussion

Questions and preliminary discussions about non-credit course development are welcome and may be directed to Mark Chakoian at 994-7957 or

Proposal information and requirements

Non-Credit Course Development proposals should include:

  • Identification of a professional development offering (broadly construed) that can connect the skills and knowledge of MSU faculty and staff to serve communities throughout Montana.
  • A description of the course topic.
  • A description of the target audience. This may be broad (e.g., individuals seeking to re-enter the workforce after several years out of it) or narrow (e.g., small business owners).
  • Tentative preliminary course details, such as a starting date, anticipated course size, and the number of hours of instruction. Proposals may be for a short talk, a lecture series, a complete course, or a series of classes.

Proposed courses should be financially self-sustaining:

Aside from one-time development funding, proposed courses should be financially self-sustaining; the expectation is that registration fees from course participants will cover all ongoing course costs.

A course might have very few costs (e.g., an in-person workshop where instruction is part of the instructor’s normal duties) or substantial costs (e.g., if materials and significant paid instructor time are required for each offering). Typical costs may include required materials, instructor compensation, Brightspace user licensing fees, and digital badge fees. Please list estimated ongoing costs in the ‘Estimated Costs for Ongoing Instruction.’

The non-credit courses described by the grant proposals may include:

  • Development of ‘soft’ skills such as teamwork or critical thinking that apply to many occupations.
  • Development of skills that apply mainly to specific occupations.
  • Communicating innovative solutions and applications for specified measurable outcomes
  • Influencing professional practice.
  • Instruction aimed at the ability of our community members to be competitive in the workforce or their respective fields.
  • Application of proven strategies or unique solutions to a well-defined problem
  • Reciprocal relationships with external constituents.
  • Offerings for newly developed digital badges.

 Preference will be given to courses that:

  • Are likely to be successful in recurring over several years.
  • Have an identified instructor or facilitator.
  • Can be taught in an online environment (either as a webinar or in D2L) but are also suited to be adapted to face-to-face learning.
  • Have identified a specific target audience in coordination with a third-party organization. (e.g., a professional organization interested in providing the proposed training to its membership.)

Award information

Approximately $20,000 is available for this round of funding. The maximum award request for a single course is $2,500. If a series of courses are proposed, a higher award may be considered by request. Fiscal Shared Services will work with receiving departments to transfer additional funds necessary to cover required benefits costs and/or the 6% university fee, as determined by expected use of the award. University policies on additional compensation apply. 

Funding for any given proposal is one-time only, and awardees should not expect ongoing funding. Funding is for course development, and funds requested should be relative to the anticipated length of course instruction. Compensation for instruction will be funded through the collection of participant fees when the course is offered. 

Please note, funds must be spent in accordance with MSU policy and procedures.

Be creative

There are many ways to do virtual outreach in our current COVID environment and we encourage people to think about creative options. A proposed course may make use of ATO’s non-credit instance of D2L, but it is not required. This is a great opportunity for enhanced creativity in outreach.

Who can apply 

The primary audience for this call for proposals is MSU faculty and staff. Submissions by off-campus groups or individuals are encouraged and welcome but will only be considered for funding in exceptional cases.


Submission Deadline: January 18, 2022

Award Notifications: February 25, 2022

Initial course offering: 2022 or as negotiated

Proposal preparation and submission

Proposals should include a cover page, follow the proposal outline form, and be no longer than three pages in length (using 12-point font and one-inch margins). The proposal must consist of a single PDF no longer than four pages and must be sent as an email attachment to Mark Chakoian ( by 5:00 p.m. on January 18, 2022.

For questions or more information

For questions or more information, please contact Mark Chakoian at 994-7957 or