Call for Proposals: Degrees of the Future Initiative Within Iowa State University's Strategic Plan


Date:          January 4, 2023

To:              Provost’s Council
                   Associate Deans for Academic Programs

From:         Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Associate Provost for Academic Programs
                   William Graves, Dean, Graduate College

Subject:     Call for Proposals:  Degrees of the Future Initiative Within Iowa State University’s Strategic Plan


Iowa State University is investing in several Jumpstart Initiatives that align with the new ISU Strategic Plan. The“Degrees of the Future” initiative will support colleges and faculty by providing seed funding to create and implement new academic degree programs (Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate) to meet student and employer demand. 

The overarching goal is to increase net enrollment and tuition revenue at the university. Examples of degrees that may be proposed include:

  • Undergraduate in-person, hybrid, or fully-online degrees
  • Graduate in-person or fully-online degrees
  • Cross-department or cross-college degrees
  • Accelerated-format or completion degrees to reduce student costs and support learners who need to take time off work

Projects that propose to refresh or update an existing degree, or projects that propose new non-degree programs such as certificates, minors, or other credentials, will not be supported through this program.


March 1, 2023:        Phase 1 Planning Grant Proposals due using the format described below
April 1, 2023:           Reviews completed and decisions announced
May 1, 2023:            Funds available to support projects in remainder of FY23, and through December 31, 2023

February 1, 2024:    Phase 2 Implementation Grant Proposals due
March 1, 2024:        Reviews completed and decisions announced
March 15, 2024:      Funds available to support implementation in remainder of FY24 and FY25

The multi-step ISU and Board of Regents curriculum approval process typically takes 12-18 months to complete. Although most additions to the ISU Catalog will be temporarily paused from February 2023-August 2024, the degree development and approval process can, and should, continue. When catalog editing begins again in August 2024, newly approved degrees will be added and programs of study will be generated, and the new degrees will be available for enrollment in Fall 2025. However, once the Board of Regents approves a degree, departments and colleges may begin promoting it and recruiting students. Depending on the timing, students may enroll in a related degree program temporarily to begin taking courses, and then move to the new degree once it is available in the catalog.

Proposal Review Criteria

These criteria will be considered in the proposal review.

  1. Reaching new markets of students by accommodating adults with competing professional and personal commitments, expanding into new geographic and demographic markets, or attracting students to the university in disciplines having significant opportunity to increase recruiting yield.
  2. Supporting workforce needs by meeting demand by employers for graduates with a degree in the proposed field.
  3. College-level prioritization
  4. Financial model for net enrollment and tuition revenue growth (this information will be required in Phase 2)


The project lead must be a tenured faculty member at Iowa State University.

Submit completed proposals as an MS Word document to Lori Sutton (, Administrative Assistant to the Associate Provost for Academic Programs by 5:00 p.m. on March 1, 2023.

Direct questions regarding the Degrees of the Future Initiative to:

Proposal Cover Sheet