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Application Process

  1. Develop your project ideas.
  2. Identify your SMU faculty or staff mentor and give him or her the Mentor Letter of Recommendation instructions. 
  3. Review application materials together.
  4. Discuss whether your project will need oversight by SMU Research Compliance.
  5. Review Engaged Learning Final Product Guidelines.
  6. Develop your proposal and write it up using the Engaged Learning Fellowship Template.
  7. Will you be working with a host organization? Give the supervisor the Host Agency Letter of Recommendation.
  8. Do you need funding? Complete the Funding Request form
  9. Respect application deadlines. 
  10. Ready? Click Apply Now! and submit your proposal, funding request and letter(s) of recommendation online. 
  11. Check your email for approval, conditional approval or not ready yet confirmation.
  12. Upon project approval, attend a New ELF orientation to confirm your participation.

*NOTE: If a project involves human participants, it requires IRB oversight. IRB approval is required prior to receiving funding from Engaged Learning.


Approved projects are eligible to receive up to $2000 for project expenses, such as supplies, fees, travel, etc.

Funds may NOT be used for:
-   Tuition, textbooks or other academic course    
-   Meals, alcohol, entertainment
-   Personal computers, phones, other electronics
-   Personal housing unrelated to project
-   Salaries, per diem
-   Cash gifts, hand-outs, microloans, etc.
-   Car rental, personal car mileage


Application Materials

Engaged Learning Fellowship Template

A successful ELF proposal is a well-articulated project description that includes eight items of information: title, statement, purpose, description with goals, methodology, timeline, bibliography, and mentor approval. A successful ELF proposal is developed with mentor input.

Funding Request

A funding request lets Engaged Learning know what supplies are needed for the project. 

Engaged Learning disperses $2000 as follows:

  • Award received upon approval, $250
  • Reimbursement for money spent during project, up to $1,500
  • Award received after completion, $250

If a project requires IRB review, the official IRB approval letter must be submitted to the Office of Engaged Learning prior to dispersal of funds.

Mentor Letter of Recommendation 

The Mentor Letter of Recommendation is a letter from the Office of Engaged Learning that you give to your mentor. The letter describes the commitment of the mentor to the project and the information needed in the recommendation.

Host Agency Letter of Support

If the project is hosted by a community partner, the Host Agency Letter of Support is from the Office of Engaged Learning that you give to your project supervisor. The letter describes the information needed.

Reflection Exercises

Reflection exercises connect what you are doing, the impact you are having and what you are learning. Throughout your project, you will complete three Reflection Exercises.


Engaged Learning Fellowship Final Product Guidelines

Institutional Review Board FAQs

Library Research Resources

SMU Digital Repository Guidelines for Publication

Scoring Template

Student Learning Outcomes