Deadline: December 16, 2019


Undergraduate Program Enhancement Funds (UPEF) will be available for new, one-time or seed requests for experimentation, pedagogical innovation, and instructional space renovation related to the university’s strategic plan in the broadest sense.

Project budgets are expected to range from $10k – $25k for course development grants, MOOC modules, experimentation with group projects such as collaborative research seminars that require student travel, and proposals of similar scope. Requests for up to $100k may be considered for novel classroom design or other scaled projects that spur new types of learning experiences or enhanced teaching approaches. Requests could include repurposing classroom space to facilitate pedagogical innovation and collaborative work, or other funding needed to launch innovative pedagogical efforts. Multiyear requests may be considered in rare circumstances.

Faculty interested in submitting a UPEF proposal should first discuss their proposal with the leadership in their school, university-wide institute (UIC), or other authorized unit. The school, UIC, or authorized unit will assess proposals internally and make the actual submission of the proposal(s) that they choose to endorse.


  • Any Duke faculty member, from any discipline, is eligible to propose a Pedagogical Experimentation Grant through their affiliate school, UIC, or authorized unit.
  • Each school, UIC, or authorized unit should develop a process
    • to inform faculty about this funding opportunity, and
    • vet ideas/proposals that come forward.
  • All schools are eligible to submit multiple proposals with a rank-ordering of priorities.
  • All UICs and other authorized units are eligible to submit one proposal per year, either independently or in conjunction with another UIC or school.
  • Collaborations between schools and UICs are encouraged.
  • Proposals including core costs are not eligible for consideration.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the university strategic plan, Together Duke
  • Relevance of proposal to strategic programs/plans of the school(s), UIC(s), or authorized units
  • Potential for improving instruction beyond the unit engaging in a specific pedagogical experiment/idea
  • Integration of teaching across departments and/or schools
  • Long-term sustainability plan, if needed.

The review process of submitted proposals will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. All proposals, and discussions thereof, will be kept strictly confidential. The intent is that the collective set of award recipients will reflect the richness of intellectual innovation that make Duke a vibrant university.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals will be accepted using Formstack.

Proposals (maximum five pages) should include:

  • A brief summary of the project that articulates (1) pedagogical goals and (2) implications for wider university goals for teaching and learning
  • A listing of the organizing core faculty
  • An assessment/evaluation plan
  • A proposed budget
  • Information on other funding already obtained or requested
  • A long-term sustainability plan for successful pedagogical experimentation.

To apply, visit https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/upef_fall2019. (This link is only for use by the school, UIC, or authorized unit after any proposals received internally have been vetted).


RFP released 09/30/2019
RFP deadline for submission 12/16/2019
Project winner(s) notified 3/23/2020
Funds made available August 2020


School deans and UIC or other authorized unit directors should contact Elaine Fulton with any questions of an administrative or financial nature. For any program-related queries, they should reach out to Ed Balleisen or Gary Bennett. Formstack (submission portal) questions should be directed to Amy Feistel.

Reporting Expectations

At the end of each annual funding period, recipient schools, UICs, and authorized units will report on short-term outcomes of funded projects. Three years after spending on a grant closes, awardees will report on long-term impacts, including assessment/evaluation and specifying the potential lessons for other Duke units involved in undergraduate education.