Reimagining Undergraduate Education at MIT

Purpose

To advance recommendations of the Task Force Report on the Future of Education, the review committee seeks ambitious proposals that reimagine elements of undergraduate education and the student experience at MIT. The proposals should define broad initiatives—involving, as examples, the freshman educational experience or departmental curricula including existing or entirely new majors—aimed at providing students with the skills and opportunities that prepare them for successful lives and careers as citizens of the 21st-century world.

The committee is especially interested in proposals that link educational innovation with the MIT student experience. These linkages, for example, could show how new curricular designs and educational pedagogies can improve learning outcomes while leveraging opportunities to strengthen the MIT student experience. Some of these opportunities include identifying ways to:

  • Enhance self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-efficacy
  • Increase student-faculty interactions
  • Provide flexibility to pursue intellectual interests that cut across multiple disciplines
  • Reduce stress levels that negatively impact learning and well-being
  • Provide access to the broad set of global, entrepreneurial, leadership, and service-oriented or practice-based experiences that our students find to be both rewarding and of great value
     

Funding Priorities and Guidelines

With this annual call, supported in its first year by the d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education, the committee is seeking to fund proposals (for a total of $1M) as a step in reimagining undergraduate education at MIT. Proposals should address one or more of the following:

  • Incorporate best practices from the learning sciences into new or existing subjects (e.g., mastery learning, task-centered instruction, etc.)
  • Integrate “making” and other hands-on activities with curriculum
  • Improve student motivation, confidence, and self-efficacy by providing opportunities to demonstrate technical accomplishments in authentic contexts
  • Reduce stress and enhance well-being while improving academic performance
  • Enrich faculty-student interactions
  • Increase flexibility to allow specializations in areas that are not well served by conventional degree programs
  • Encourage teamwork and communications activities, focusing on development of leadership skills
  • Enable internships at companies or semesters abroad that leverage online courses
     

Application Process and Deadlines

Preliminary proposals (2-3 pages) are due by March 1, 2016, and should include the following:


  1. Description of the project, including relations to themes listed above
  2. Timeline for developing, prototyping, and scaling, including plans for seeking approval from faculty committees (e.g., CUP, COC) as appropriate
  3. Description of resources and staffing required, noting interactions among faculty across departments or schools and/or among faculty and other members of the extended MIT community, such as alumni/ae, close industrial partners, research scientists, and partners at other institutions
  4. Estimated total budget for the project with a list of other secured or requested sources of funding; for departmental proposals, please describe the departmental investment for which you seek a match
  5. Estimated amount to be requested from this call (up to $500,000)
  6. Summary of previous innovations

Preliminary proposals should be sent to Dean Dennis Freeman at freeman@mit.edu. If you would like additional information, you can reach the dean via email, or call him at 617-253-6056.

The proposals will be reviewed by March 15, 2016. Applicants of preliminary proposals that pass the initial screening process will be invited to submit final proposals, due April 19, 2016. Final decisions will be made by the end of the spring 2016 semester.