Mellon Public Scholars Program

Call for Proposals: 2018 Mellon Public Scholars Program

DEADLINE: Thursday, January 4th, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

Only Graduate Students are eligible for this grant, fellowship, or residency.

The UC Davis Humanities Institute invites applications from doctoral and MFA students in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences to join the 2018 cohort of Mellon Public Scholars. This program introduces graduate students to the intellectual and practical aspects of identifying, addressing, and collaborating with members of a public through their scholarship. This experience enhances traditional scholarly training and puts academic research in a broader context. Ten successful graduate student applicants will participate in a quarter-long, two-credit seminar in spring 2018. Each student will work with a faculty partner to develop a community-based research project and receive a $7,500 stipend to support the project over summer 2018.

Because this program is intended to acknowledge and draw on the community-engaged scholarship of our faculty, faculty mentorship is an integral part of the summer projects. Applicants do not need to have a faculty partner at the time of application. The Public Scholars Program encourages students to consider partnering with faculty members outside of their department as a way to broaden their interdisciplinary network. The role of the faculty partner includes: drawing on their own research experience to offer guidance as the student develops the community project, helping the student to identify individual goals for their project so that the experience can be integrated into their graduate training, and debriefing on outcomes of the project upon completion. Each faculty partner will receive a $2,000 stipend.

The Public Scholars Program invites applications that address the university’s commitment to diversity. This may include but is not limited to: public service towards increasing equitable access in fields where women and minorities are underrepresented; research focusing on underserved populations or understanding inequalities related to race, gender, disability or LGBTQI issues; and applicants who offer perspectives of groups historically underrepresented in higher education.

Pre-established and/or Original Projects

Applicants may choose to propose an original project (of their own) or apply for one of five pre-established projects with community partners (listed below), or apply for both. If applying to both, please submit a separate application for each.

Information Sessions

To answer questions and provide more details about the program, the UC Davis Humanities Institute will host two information sessions: Wednesday, November 15 at 5:10 p.m. and Tuesday, November 21 at 12:10 p.m. in Voorhies 228 (DHI’s conference room). We encourage both faculty and students interested in the program to attend. Lunch and/or snacks provided. Please RSVP to Mellon Public Scholars Program Manager, Rachel Reeves rlreeves@ucdavis.edu.

Eligibility

We welcome doctoral and MFA students in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences at any stage in their graduate training. Among the criteria for selection is the proposed project’s relevance to the humanities and arts, areas of particular interest to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Anyone with an interest in public scholarship and community-engaged research is encouraged to apply, whether or not that interest is explicit in their dissertation research.

Application Materials

CV (2 pages max.): Please include contact information, academic department, relevant employment and service history, and academic accomplishments.

Proposal Narrative (3 single-spaced pages max., at least 11-point font): The narrative should address your interest in this program and your ability to plan and carry out an intellectually grounded, mutually beneficial arts- or humanities-based project with a community partner. Please discuss what role a faculty partner might play in this effort. If you have discussed this project with a potential faculty partner and/or community partner, please list them. If you are interested in working on one of the pre-established projects described below, outline your qualifications for that project. Each application should address your general suitability for the program and ability to carry out the project in question (please see criteria below for further guidelines).

Submission

To submit your proposal online, please go to http://dhi.ucdavis.edu/funding/ and complete the online application form. Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. on January 4, 2018. Late submissions will not be considered. Scholars will be announced by early February. Please contact Program Manager Rachel Reeves rlreeves@ucdavis.edu with any questions.

Application Review

Please keep in mind the following criteria when developing your proposals.

Criteria for Pre-established Projects with Community Partners:

  1. The impact and value of the applicant’s experience for the selected community partner, including personal, professional or academic backgrounds.
  2. The applicant’s potential to execute the work described, expressed as desire and/or track record. Examples: Volunteer work, internships, community organizing, and/or political activism.
  3. The intellectual foundation applied to the project. Examples: Placing an established project within a broader scholarly context such as environmental justice, gender studies, bioethics, or access to the arts.
  4. The significance for humanistic scholarship of the proposed approach to the established project. The humanities incorporate qualitative and artistic means to understand and communicate changing human experience.
  5. The applicant’s potential to contribute to the university’s commitment to diversity (including service, research, and perspective). Please refer to the third paragraph in this call.

Criteria for Original Projects:

  1. The impact and value of the applicant’s experience for a community partner, including personal, professional, or academic backgrounds.
  2. The applicant’s potential to execute community-engaged work, expressed as desire and/or track record. Examples: Volunteer work, internships, community organizing, and/or political activism.
  3. The intellectual foundation of the application. Examples: Placing a project within a broader scholarly context such as environmental justice, gender studies, bioethics, or access to the arts.
  4. The project’s significance for humanities scholarship. The humanities incorporate qualitative and artistic means to understand and communicate changing human experience.
  5. The feasibility and appropriateness of the proposed plan of work, including, when relevant, the soundness of the dissemination and access plans. Examples: A rough timeline for completion of the project. Plan for identifying and reaching intended audience.
  6. The applicant’s potential to contribute to the university’s commitment to diversity (including service, research, and perspective). Please refer to the third paragraph in this call.

Review and Selection Process:

An advisory board of faculty will use rubrics of the above criteria when evaluating applications. See the rubrics here. The advisory board will also consider factors in addition to the criteria above, such as the distribution of disciplines, project areas, and communities served. For pre-established projects, the community partner will choose from among finalists recommended by the advisory board.

Established Projects

The projects below have been offered by DHI’s established partners. These are centered on a specific problem or objective (rather than a necessary skillset) in order to leave room for negotiation with the selected scholar. For questions about an established project, please contact Rachel Reeves at rlreeves@ucdavis.edu

 

California Arts Council —  Access and Inclusivity Study of State Arts Funding

PUBLIC ARTS – ASSESSMENT – ACCESSIBILITY

The California Arts Council (CAC) is a state agency dedicated to advancing California through the arts and creativity. The CAC has 14 different competitive grant programs in which arts and culture organizations can apply. Many of these    grant programs in the portfolio identify specific populations to be served (e.g. veterans, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated adults, school-age children, etc.).

In the summer of 2018, the Mellon Public Scholar will work with the council to investigate the level of representation of various communities across its whole portfolio of public arts grants. CAC staff will support the scholar as they synthesize and analyze application and final report content to understand depth of community representation across grant programs, considering grantee organizational makeup, program recipients and participants, and responsiveness of program content. The scholar will then use this analysis to inform recommendations for outreach mechanisms and/or guideline revision to assist the CAC in continuing to make its grant portfolio increasingly equitable and inclusive.

 

California Department of Education — Visual and Performing Arts Framework Revision

STATE GOVERNMENT – CURRICULUM DESIGN – ARTS-MEDIA EDUCATION

To ensure the relevance, access, equity, and fair assessment of art education, the California Department of Education isrevising its Visual and Performing Arts curriculum. The Mellon Public Scholar will work with the CDE’s Curriculum and Instructional Resources Division to research current Arts education best practices. This will include a literature review centered on the recommended revisions to the Visual and Performing Arts standards in the subjects of dance, theatre, music, and visual arts and the new standards that will be recommended for the subject of media arts.

The scholar will also help engage with arts education stakeholders throughout the state by assisting with facilitation of focus groups and receiving public comment at 3–4 focus group meetings. The scholar will also help develop the 2019 Visual and Performing Arts Framework Focus Group Report that will inform the work of the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee. CDE will provide training on state statutes that govern the process for the revision of Frameworks and support travel to facilitate the focus groups (overnight travel will not be required).

 

California Food Policy Advocates — Faces of American Hunger

STORYTELLING – ADVOCACY – POLICY

In a “post-fact” political climate, safety net advocacy must combine evidence-based policy making with compelling storytelling. The Mellon Public Scholar will work alongside seasoned state and national policy advocates to capture thehuman faces of overlooked hunger in the US. The scholar will work independently with CFPA’s contacts in community-based organizations to develop an engagement campaign that will gather the perspectives of vulnerable stakeholders. The goal of this project is to tell thematic, policy-relevant stories that profile the struggles of the working poor through a variety of media.

The scholar would spend one day per week at CFPA’s Oakland office. Other details may be worked out between the scholar and the CFPA, taking into account the research interests of the scholar and pressing policy issues at the time of the project.

 

California Humanities —  Infographic of Humanities Impact in California

NON-PROFIT OPERATIONS – VISUAL COMMUNICATION – FUNDRAISING

How can we make a better case for the impact of the humanities (public and academic) in California, to support the with funding, advocacy, and raising the profile of their importance in education and a civil society?  4Humanities and UCL Centre for Digital Humanities (The University College of London) teamed up a few years ago to develop an infographic that is a clear and concise way to share some critical facts.  http://4humanities.org/category/for-the-public/humanities-infographics/

The Mellon Public Scholar would work with senior officers at California Humanities, an independent non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to create a similar infographic for the state and the US (making a wider case). This scholar would identify  key indicators, conduct research, and make recommendations on how to share the data effectively with policy makers, allies, and potential donors. The scholar will work closely with California Humanities design staff and consultants to inform the graphic design.

 

Center for Sacramento History —  Sacramento Ethnic Community Survey Update

MATERIAL HISTORY – COMMUNITY OUTREACH – EXHIBITION DESIGN

In 1983, the Center for Sacramento History’s staff (CSH) worked with area scholars and representatives of community ethnic groups to create the Sacramento Ethnic Survey (SES).  The project investigated and outlined the historical development of twenty-two ethnic groups who played significant roles in the region’s history. The resulting collectionincludes written and oral histories, research files, slide shows, and approximately 3000 photographs. The collection received wide use in the creation of exhibits about the groups in the Sacramento History Museum.  

At this 35 year anniversary, CSH is working with previous group representatives and connecting with ethnic groups that have come since 1983 to update the SES. The Mellon Public Scholar will help CSH build the updated SES as a resource for the development of new ethnic community exhibits. The scholar will produce an analysis and summary of the 1983 SES material with support from the Center’s curatorial and program staff. They will present recommendations to senior staff and initiate work to identify and connect with community group representatives and area scholars to produce a plan for the SES’s revision and use.