Chairs of Excellence

Apply now for generous grants awarded to exceptional faculty members striving for innovative avenues to advance the opportunities of our students.


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Chairs of Excellence Grant Application & Eligibility


The Chairs of Excellence (COE) are grants awarded to exceptional faculty members striving for innovative avenues to advance the opportunities of our students in this global environment with an equity-centric lens at the forefront of their proposal. The Chairs of Excellence have been established for specific academic disciplines by the generous donations of individuals and corporations. Most Chairs of Excellence grants were established with an endowment of $100,000 or more and maintained as a separate fund within the permanently restricted portfolio of The Santa Monica College Foundation. Each applicant is required to submit a proposal for the three-year project. The $15,000 is awarded over the three-year period at $5,000 per academic year.  For example, if the COE award for a fall 2024 start, the COE grantee can spend $5,000 in that academic year 1; $5,000 in academic, concurrent year 2, and the final $5,000 disbursement in concurrent year 3. Funds cannot be combined or rolled over from year-to-year. Any funds not spent within the designated award window will be forfeited – no exceptions.  

Chairs of Excellence List

*Accepting applications for the 2024-25 cycle

  • Avaya Inc. Chair of Excellence for Life Sciences 
  • John F. Drescher Chair of Excellence for Earth Science or Environmental Science/Studies 
  • Sam Francis/Marty Sosin Chair of Excellence in Art or Photography 
  • Jose Luiz Nazar Chair of Excellence - Performing Arts*
  • Ilona Jo Katz Chair of Excellence in Music*
  • Northrop Grunman/Elkin Chair of Excellence for Physical Science 
  • Carol & Bill Ouchi Chair of Excellence in Business or CSIS*
  • Providence St. John's Health Center Chair of Excellence for Nursing or Respiratory Therapy*
  • SMC Foundation Chair of Excellence in History, Philosophy or Social Science
  • SMC Foundation Chair of Excellence for Communications, English or Media Studies*
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Faculty with student
Anne-Marie Karlsen
"Through my Chair of Excellence grant, I photographed four major international survey exhibitions, and museum exhibitions in the US and Europe. My greatest success is the catalog of over 4,000 photographs I have taken. The photographs greatly exceed what is available in any commercial publication. This will allow the art and art history instructors to show the work in a more in depth manner."
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Eligibility & Criteria - Who may apply  

  • Only full-time faculty in the Chair’s designated discipline may apply. 
  • Proposals must be approved by their department chair. 

The Selection Committee reviews the proposals with the following priorities in mind: 

  • Professional development of the faculty member can be included as part of the stated goal as long as it pertains directly to a positive impact on student outcomes. 
  • Proposals must clearly state how the funds will be used to meet the stated goals. 
  • Selection Committee will meet in April. Decisions will be rendered and formally announced immediately following.   

Proposal Requirements 

Please submit application by clicking the following link and filling out the application form:

Click here to apply for Chair of Excellence

  1. A two-page proposal for the three-year project 
  2. Clear, itemized budget page which identifies how funds will be spent each of the three (3) academic years. (Template can be downloaded here)
  3. Provide two specific metrics for each of the three (3) years as part of the application process due by March 1st, 2024. Impact on student equity, student experience, innovation and SMC vision are encouraged.
  4. A sustainability plan with a brief, explanation of how your efforts will carry through years beyond the grant funding. The sustainability plan’s intent is designed to consider how changes, new ideas and innovations can endure beyond year three of the award. 
  5. Additional requirements if awarded: All COE grantees will be required to present one (1) workshop on the topic awarded at the spring Faculty Flex Day during the second year of their award. 
  6. CV 

The Selection Committee 

  • The selection committee may include college administrators, SMCF Board member(s) and administrator(s) 
  • Finalists may be asked to explain their proposals in a 10-minute presentation to the selection committee. 
  • Member(s) from the SMCF Chairs of Excellence Review Committee may opt to review my grant on an annual basis. 

Progress Reports

At the end of each academic year, awarded chairs are required to submit to the Foundation a progress report stating what goals were and were not achieved, and why. 


Application for 24-25 is now open with a deadline of March 1st, 2024