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The Humanities Professional Pathway award offers graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences the opportunity to pursue project-based applied research within the setting of cultural institutions, during the summer of 2021. The Humanities for the Public Good Initiative will fund approximately 10 $5,000 awards to graduate students (M.A. or Ph.D at any stage of completion) in eligible humanities or qualitative social science programs in the College of Arts & Sciences.*

[Frequently Asked Questions]   [Application Checklist]   [Hear from past HPP Graduate Fellows in the Guide to the Humanities Professional Pathway Summer]

Summer Project: Values and Intentions

The goal of the Humanities Professional Pathway award is to support graduate student in building skills, relationships, and model projects which help them to define and integrate modes of social engagement into their overall agendas for doctoral study. These awards support engaged scholars seeking careers as community-engaged scholars in traditional faculty jobs or in diverse careers in the cultural industries and beyond. The best candidates for this award will be able to explain a relationship among their core course of graduate study (research, teaching, service), the project that they propose for the summer, and their overall professional goals.

Credible opportunities will offer the candidate: significant leadership on a project that can be completed within 300 hours of work during the summer; opportunities for the candidate to learn new skills; supervisory mentorship from a cultural professional; and generally furnish meaningful experience in an institutional setting that expands the candidate’s professional horizons. The best projects will have the highest potential for positive public impact.

Although this list in not comprehensive, for the sake of examples, applicants may pursue opportunities with museums, libraries, performance venues, zoos and botanical gardens, university centers or programs, community or cultural non-profits, foundations, professional associations, or start-ups or corporations doing socially responsible and publicly impactful work relevant to the applicant’s professional goals. Candidates are responsible for developing project possibilities in consultation with representatives of the institution, prior to applying for the award.

An ethical public practice of the humanities is a core commitment of the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative. Successful candidates will convey an informed personal ethical sensibility, grounded in reading or in past practice, about the idea of justice and the components of ethical practice that their project is intended to take up. The National Association for Democratic Dialogue and the International Association of Public Participation’s principles for public engagement and Public Participation Spectrum might serve as helpful jumping-off points.

*Eligible students, per the constraints attached to our funding, will be enrolled in humanities or qualitative social science graduate programs in the departments listed at the bottom of the this page, within the College of Arts & Sciences.

Application Components

Applicants are responsible for the communication and outreach necessary to develop a practicum opportunity. A completed application consists of:

  • Humanities Professional Pathway statement of purpose, which, in no more than 1,500 words:
    • defines the scope and significance of the proposed project
    • outlines a plan of work for the project and a timeline for that work’s completion
    • explains how the project builds on candidate’s past experience and future professional goals, including the fit of the project to the candidate’s program of graduate research
  • Theory and Practice of Justice statement, which, in no more than 600 words:
    • explains the candidate’s core social justice commitment with respect to this project and
    • professes particular institutional values (e.g., transparency, sustainability, equity, participatory culture/sharing authority, etc.) from or about which the candidate hopes to learn
  • an up-to-date C.V.
  • a recommendation form, to be filled out by the applicant’s primary advisor or DGS, that affirms the fit of the project into the applicant’s overall course of study (please note that this form does not automatically send to recommenders; applicants must email the link to their chosen recommender)
  • the name and institutional contact information of the prospective project supervisor

Submit your completed application by midnight on Friday, March 12th, 2021.

Note to Potential Hosts Looking for a Summer Fellow

HPG has an open call out for organizations interested in potentially hosting a summer fellow to list their contact information for potential candidates to reach out. Are you such an organization? Fill out this form.

Check back for a list of potential hosts and opportunities, posted here as they are made available. 

Orgs/Institutions/Etc Open to Student Placement:
– Southern Oral History Program’s Barbee Chapel Cemetery Project (Contact Seth Kotch)
– Ackland Museum (Contact Carolyn Allmendinger)

Expectations & Eligibility

Upon selection as a fellow, applicants will be required to submit a memorandum outlining the project’s paramaters and timeline, signed by their advisor and project supervisor, before the award is disbursed (by mid-May). Awardees are accountable for finishing projects outlined in these memoranda.

Awardees must also enroll in a one-credit course in the fall of 2021, to reflect on and extend the impact of their summer project. Hence successful candidates must plan to be enrolled full-time as students in that semester. Awards will be administered through payroll; successful candidates must be academically eligible. The project is expected to be the awardee’s primary work obligation over the funded period (summer).

Further information

Information Session! Attend the Humanities Professional Pathway info session

Feedback on individual potential projects and advice on developing summer project opportunities are available via email, by contacting Ashley Melzer (amelzer [@] unc.edu). Prospective applicants may also use the Humanities Professional Pathway Award Application Checklist to identify, pursue, and propose high-quality eligible opportunities; and should consult the Frequently Asked Questions page before sending general inquiries.

*Eligible graduate programs will be affiliated with American Studies; Anthropology; Art & Art History; Classics; Communication; Dramatic Art; English & Comparative Literature; Geography; Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures; History; Linguistics; Music; Philosophy; Religious Studies; Romance Studies; and Women & Gender Studies. Due to the grantor’s restrictions, students in humanities-oriented programs in the professional schools are unfortunately ineligible for funding through the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative. Students enrolled in qualitative social science programs within the College of Arts & Sciences, not already listed above, may write to the HPG Initiative director (Robyn Schroeder) to be considered for eligibility.