Brown Teaching Grants

Proposal timeline for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Proposals are due by 5:00pm on Monday, March 8, 2021.

Fund information:

The University Committee on Teaching administers a grant from the Brown Foundation for the purpose of fostering excellence in undergraduate teaching at Rice. The Committee is charged with supporting any appropriate means to this end, including "seminars and other programs aimed to improve the quality of teaching, and...studies and experimental tests of new instructional methods or programs." Funding for grants in previous years has ranged from a few hundred dollars to awards of $5,000.


Full-time and research faculty members at Rice are eligible to apply. Proposals may be submitted individually or by a group of faculty.

Review process:

Proposals will be reviewed by the University Committee on Teaching.

Selection criteria:

A project will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. It must advance UNDERGRADUATE education, not faculty research or graduate education.
  2. It should be innovative and show a level of improvement over existing methods of instruction.
  3. It should impact a large number of students.
  4. Its benefits should be ongoing.
  5. It should not be for items for which the department/school/university should normally have responsibility.
  6. Matching funds or in-kind donations available from industry, museums, government are considered favorably.

How to apply:

Proposals should have the following elements listed below. Please email a pdf copy of your proposal documents to Frank Geurts at by 5:00pm on Monday, March 8, 2021. Proposals received after this will not be considered. For questions, or if receipt of your proposal has not been confirmed within 72 hours of submission, please contact Frank Geurts at

A cover page that includes:

  • Faculty Sponsor(s)
  • Department(s)
  • Main contact person
  • Mail Stop
  • Contact's preferred phone
  • Contact's email address
  • Title of Proposal
  • Proposal Summary (50 words max)
  • Amount Requested ($total)

A Project Description that provides detailed arguments supporting funding of the project and contain the following elements:

  • A description of why the project is important and how it will improve teaching. This description should focus on the innovative aspects of the proposal.
  • An estimate of the number of students to be affected by the plan.
  • A description of whether the proposal will have recurring impact.
  • A description of the feasibility of the plan, especially if the proposal involves design or implementation of new technology.

A Budget section that covers the items listed below. All awards must be fully used within two years, or the residual be returned to the Brown Fund. Implementation of funded projects may be monitored by the Committee.

  • Cost breakdown (details of how funds will be spent).
  • Justification of budget items. This section should explain why each budget item is important to achieving the overall objectives of the project. In particular, it should justify the number and kind of personnel (e.g., undergraduate or graduate student) and the amount of equipment, software, etc. No money may be allocated for faculty salary. If the purchase of large equipment items is proposed, specifics about the capabilities and usage of the item to be purchased should be included. Inclusion of quotations substantiating the price of the item is also recommended.
  • If matching funds or in-kind donations are available from your department, dean, or other agency on or off campus, please include a supporting letter.

The Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice will be conducting a Zoom meeting on Monday, February 8, 2021 at 2pm to help applicants better understand the goals and expectations of the Brown Grants, and provide guidance about the content of successful proposals. Contact Robin Paige for more information at