President funds new fellowships in the arts and humanities

UO President Michael H. Schill has funded a new set of fellowships to support University of Oregon faculty members in the arts and humanities in their research or creative projects.

Schill worked with Karen Ford, senior divisional dean for the humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, to craft the new Presidential Fellows in Humanistic Studies awards. Faculty members in the humanities will be eligible to apply for them this spring for the 2019-20 academic year.

The $13,000 awards, up to 12 each year, will be granted to tenure-track faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Design, the School of Journalism and Communication, and the School of Music and Dance. The awards can be used for research expenses including travel, fees and other scholarly materials. The funding comes from discretionary donor funds available to the president.

“It is a priority of mine to make sure the University of Oregon continues to support excellence in faculty development and scholarship,” Schill said. “Our faculty in the humanities play a key role in making UO a top academic and research university. I am excited by the opportunity to support their scholarly and creative endeavors.”

The presidential fellowship funding is designed to allow artists and scholars to put the award to its best use for their proposed project. For example, it can be used by recipients to travel to archives and other research sites, purchase texts and other media and top off fellowship and sabbatical salaries.

The awards will also fund research time over the summer or during the academic year, cover rising publication costs at humanities presses and hire research assistants for various kinds of scholarly support.

Ford said she recently pitched the idea to Schill because she wanted the university to bolster the level of research support for top arts and humanities faculty members.

“Arts and humanities scholars typically carry a five-course base load at UO, a valuable contribution to campus but also a time-consuming schedule during the academic year. A good many also teach during summer session to increase their annual income,” Ford explained. “Our typical startup package in the humanities is $2,500 for a computer and printer. This new fellowship from the president will benefit the work of faculty in arts and humanities, and that will benefit our students, our disciplines and the UO.”

The new awards will be competitive and will target productive scholars at the associate professor level, though all tenured and tenure-track faculty members are eligible to apply.

Under the guidelines for the awards, the application will include evidence of timely scholarly success, such as a sabbatical application that shows research or creative work published or created during the proposed time period. Or they may include a sample of work that was completed and published in connection with a separate grant or fellowship.

Scholarly or creative records of accomplishment exceeding expectations in the faculty member’s promotion and tenure policies could also give evidence of timely scholarly success.

The awards will be administered by Ford, who will work with Philip Scher, divisional dean for social sciences; Paul Peppis, director of the Oregon Humanities Center; and other arts and humanities leaders. A panel of tenure-track faculty reviewers from across the arts, humanities, humanistic social sciences and the university’s professional schools will help them evaluate proposals and select recipients.

All recommendations will be forwarded to the provost for final approval. Upon completion of their projects, fellowship recipients will submit a brief final report.

The implementation team will establish process and application guidelines this term, and a call for applications will be published in early spring term when the fellowships are set up. For more information about the fellowships, send an email to

By David Austin, University Communications