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Wanted: Creative risk-takers

Innovation grants promote creativity, leadership, service excellence

Southern Import by Janet E. Turner, 1953
Southern Import by Janet E. Turner, 1953. Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library. The image is among those used in an innovation grant-funded marketing campaign.

The new Central University Libraries Innovation Grants program celebrates – and rewards – unbounded thinking.

An initiative of the CUL Leadership Team, the program's objective is to "encourage staff to take risks and try new ideas in their pursuit of service excellence."

Library staff members are urged to experiment. Even a project that is tested and deemed unsustainable can yield valuable information, says Bill Dworaczyk, CUL Assistant Dean, Human Resources/Facilities. As a member of the Leadership Team, he serves as coordinator of the program.

The team looked at models from other institutions, including the University of Houston, in developing plans for the award, Dworaczyk says.

"In keeping with the CUL's strategic goals, the program is designed to promote leadership and creativity in staff at any level of the organization, while working toward our ultimate goal of enhancing the library experience for everyone," he explains.

Four teams have been awarded grants since the program was launched in July:

CUL staff may submit proposals at any time, says Dworaczyk. "We review proposals that have been submitted at our monthly Leadership Team meeting, so we can award grants as they come in."

Staff members can find grant requirements, application details, deadlines and funding information on the CUL@Inside.SMU site.