The d'Arbeloff Fund is not currently accepting proposals.

What you need to know

The Alex and Brit d’Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education supports MIT faculty members in ambitious projects that enhance the undergraduate educational experience. We encourage proposals that focus on the use of innovative, active, or inclusive pedagogies to improve student learning and the student experience by transcending specific departmental curricula and/or making use of online technologies.

Projects can be focused on any facet of undergraduate education, but priority will be given to those that:

  • Expand inspiring opportunities to help undergraduate students explore different fields of knowledge, academic departments, and possible future careers, particularly in the first year.
  • Improve the first-year academic experience, including the General Institute Requirements (GIRs).
  • Develop student motivation, self-awareness, confidence, and self-efficacy by providing opportunities to demonstrate educational accomplishments in authentic contexts.
  • Enhance undergraduate advising — including professional and career development discussions — between faculty and students.
  • Create subjects in the humanities, arts, and social sciences that explore a set of enduring questions, concepts, ideas, or values. These subjects should engage with fundamental issues of knowledge in the discipline, historical examination of the topic, and relevance of the topic in today's world. In addition to topics taught by an individual faculty member, we are also interested in collaborations across departments. These might be through having faculty members from multiple departments collaborate on a single subject, or through having more than one department offer subjects with the same, closely-related, or overlapping topics or concepts that can be taught with the materials from the distinct disciplines yet address common problems, for example, justice, equality, personhood (to encourage students in different subjects to find opportunities for connected conversations).

Resources are intended primarily for faculty-led initiatives, with the understanding that they may also involve non-faculty participants. Funding requests may include faculty and/or TA summer salary, UROPs, and materials/books, as well as limited equipment. We do not fund teaching release, conference expenses or travel, graduate student tuition, honoraria, guest travel or lodging, or RA positions.

Proposals for multi-year projects are accepted, but grants are made on a year-by-year basis. The review committee looks favorably on projects that share costs with departments or other entities.


What you need to do

  • Download the full guidelines in PDF format; an overview is below.
  • Send your complete, detailed proposal, including a cover sheet, 3-6 page narrative, budget, and letters of support to darbeloff-fund@mit.edu by the deadline (generally in September).
  • Our staff will confirm receipt of your proposal by email.
  • The selection committee typically meets in mid-fall; you will receive a decision letter by email before the end of the fall term.
  • For questions about your proposal or the process, contact us at darbeloff-fund@mit.edu or (617) 253-5629.

Proposal guidelines

A complete application includes the following:

  • Cover sheet — download in PDF format.
  • Proposal narrative (3-6 pages) including a detailed description of your project, activities and timeline, a description of how you will reflect upon the efficacy of your innovation, and educational objectives with answers to the following questions:
    • How will the project enhance your teaching?
    • How will it improve the students' classroom experience?
    • What is the potential impact of the project at MIT? Estimate the number of students served now and in the future.
  • A description of staffing and resources (i.e. financial, space, or equipment) required.
  • Note interactions across departments or schools and/or among faculty and other members of the extended MIT community, such as alumni, close industrial partners, research scientists, and partners at other institutions.
  • Previous d’Arbeloff Fund recipients should also include a summary of past projects, noting any unspent funds.
  • A completed budget sheet that details how requested funding will be used and lists other sources of support, committed and requested.
  • Letters of support from the appropriate department head(s) addressing cost sharing and sustainability after d’Arbeloff funding ends.

Requirements and restrictions

The selection committee places a high value on sharing best practices and on reflection on the efficacy of educational innovations. The selection committee may request that PIs with proposals that are particularly well-suited for rigorous, educational research studies work with Teaching and Learning Laboratory (T+LL) to develop and implement a robust educational research study.

Award recipients are expected to submit a final report at the end of their funding period. This report will be available to the MIT community.

Participation in projects supported by the d’Arbeloff Fund, whether for compensation or as a volunteer, qualifies as “significant use” of administered resources under MIT Policies and Procedures. As such, ownership of intellectual property, including copyrights in instructional materials and curriculum, will vest with MIT.