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What’s a Sponsored Program?

students in the libraryAnd what’s the difference between it and a grant? A grant is a gift of funds that has few or no strings attached. It is the mechanism that most organizations use to support sponsored programs – but grants are also used for other purposes, such as to provide unrestricted donations to the College and to give financial aid to students.

Sponsored programs and projects are activities that receive most of their funding from outside organizations – in most cases, a government agency or private foundation. They range in size and duration from an individual faculty member’s one-semester pilot research project to the establishment of a new, permanent academic program.

Many of the College’s curricular innovations began as sponsored programs, including the Adult Degree Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (1978-81); the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted, sponsored by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund (1985-89); and the Health Care Administration Program and the Preparation for Ministry/Quest Program, both sponsored and subsequently endowed by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation (1989-1999). Both of the College’s graduate programs, the Master of Arts in Teaching Program and the Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance Program were started with the support of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and the MLitt/MFA program continues to be supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The Teagle Foundation-sponsored Connections Initiative (1999-2002) provided initial support for student life initiatives that are still expanding today. The National Institutes of Health’s Extramural Associates Program was instrumental in establishing the Office of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research in 2002. At an institution with a small endowment, sponsored programs provide a testing ground for new ideas and an important source of support for academic excellence.

At Mary Baldwin College , applications for the support of research and most other faculty-initiated projects are coordinated through the Office of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research. Proposals for projects to support institutionally driven priorities, such as campus infrastructure, endowment, and scholarships, are coordinated through the Office of Institutional Advancement.