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The Alex and Brit d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education is soliciting preliminary proposals from MIT faculty members for ambitious projects to enhance the educational experience of our undergraduates. Projects that strengthen faculty-student direct interactions, that cross disciplinary boundaries, that explore new pedagogies including online components in residential education, and that aspire to provide dynamic, effective teaching are all appropriate.

Objectives

Projects can be focused at any level of our undergraduate education. Special attention will be accorded to enhancements of subjects offered in the first year and as General Institute Requirements (GIRs). The d’Arbeloff Fund Review Committee is interested in proposals aimed at fostering faculty participation in the educational experiences of undergraduates, especially freshmen, in and beyond the classroom. Collaborative projects with the potential to affect large numbers of students over time, transcend specific departmental curricula, or span multiple subjects are particularly valuable.

This year the Dean for Undergraduate Education, Dennis Freeman, and the Director of Digital Learning, Sanjay Sarma, are encouraging and offering additional support for projects aimed at introducing online components to MIT classes, including modules to be used within a subject or across subjects. As distinct from efforts to develop classes for EdX, these projects must be focused on regular undergraduate MIT subjects and be designed to enhance faculty-student interactions.

Examples of other possible proposal areas include: establishing and enriching HASS Exploration (HEX) subjects; providing opportunities aligned with the Faculty resolution that envisions every MIT freshman having a faculty mentor; and increasing freshman participation in appropriately focused group UROPs, project teams, or other forms of supervised research with faculty.

The Committee is looking for projects that will lead to long-term commitments by schools and departments and are likely to become regular parts of the MIT curriculum, thereby contributing visibly to MIT’s leadership role as a top-tier educational institution. Initiatives may be more practicable as small-scale projects, such as intense hands-on experiences or pilots in pedagogical innovation, but they should be designed with scalability in mind. A project’s survival should not be entirely dependent upon the continuing involvement of only one key faculty member or key students.

For all projects, the d’Arbeloff Fund Review Committee encourages assessment of the value of our educational innovations and the dissemination of good practices and results. For the projects involving online elements, the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Office of Digital Learning will also be sponsoring workshops and other opportunities for faculty to share experiences, discuss challenges, and consult with each other about pedagogical approaches.

Preliminary Proposal

The preliminary proposal (2-3 pages) should include:

The d’Arbeloff Fund Review Committee will review the preliminary proposals; applicants who pass the initial screening process will be invited to submit final proposals.

Final Proposal

For the final proposal, applicants will be asked to address comments and questions from Committee members and provide final budgets. They will be expected to attend a workshop on assessment and include plans for assessing the outcomes of their projects. In addition, they must submit letters of support from their department heads addressing the sustainability of the projects after the d’Arbeloff funding terminates.

Deadlines

Preliminary proposals are due by Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Final proposals are due by Friday, November 21, 2014.

Send proposals to darbeloff-fund@mit.edu. For more information, please contact Dean Mary Enterline (3-9763) or Dean Diana Henderson (3-0507).

Requirements and Restrictions