(CLOSED) Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Programs 2021-22

Sponsor Name: 
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation
Description of the Award: 

The Whiting Foundation invites selected schools, scholarly societies, and humanities institutions to nominate for the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship and Seed Grant. We believe that the humanities, at their best, have the potential to enrich our understanding, help us interpret the world around us, and make our lives more meaningful through deep context and careful inquiry. Public humanities – which take as their primary constituency a public beyond the academy – are one important means by which these benefits are shared widely and directly, and we believe that faculty can draw on lives of study and teaching to make unique contributions to such projects, in collaboration with others. The Public Engagement Programs are intended to celebrate and empower early-career faculty who embrace public engagement as part of their scholarly vocation. Over time, we hope the programs will help build a diverse and community of faculty passionate about engagement and underscore for the world just how essential advanced work in the humanities is to the health of our society.

These two programs are entirely separate: aspiring fellows need not have received a Seed Grant, and receiving a Seed Grant does not automatically qualify a grantee for a future Fellowship. Both programs support ambitious projects infusing into public life the richness, profundity, and nuance that give the humanities their lasting value. The stage of a project will determine the relevant program. We anticipate awarding up to seven Fellowships and up to ten Seed Grants in this cycle.

Partner schools are invited to nominate one humanities professor for each of these two programs - a school may choose to participate in both programs or in only one. To be eligible for either program, nominees must be full-time humanities faculty at an accredited US institution of higher learning as of September 2020; they must be early-career, which we define as pre-tenure, untenured, or having received tenure in the last five years (at or after academic year 2014-2015). Descriptions of the humanities fields and kinds of “public-facing” projects we support are included below in the eligibility section.

The Public Engagement Fellowship of $50,000 is for projects far enough into development or execution to present specific, compelling evidence that they will successfully engage the intended public. For the strongest Fellowship proposals, both the overall strategy and the practical plan to implement the project will be deeply developed, relationships with key collaborators will be in place, and connections with the intended public will have been cultivated. In some cases, the nominee and collaborators may have tested the idea in a pilot, or the project itself may already be underway.

The Public Engagement Seed Grant of up to $10,000 supports projects at a somewhat earlier stage of development than the Fellowship, before the nominee has been able to establish a specific track record of success for the proposed public-facing work. It is not, however, designed for projects starting entirely from scratch: nominees should have fleshed out a compelling vision, including a clear sense of whose collaboration will be required and the ultimate scope and outcomes. They should also have articulated specific short-term next steps required to advance the project and understand the resources required to complete them. We anticipate that a recipient might use the grant, for example, to test the project on a smaller scale or to engage deeply in planning with collaborators or the intended public.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jun 26, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should use the InfoReady link upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_Whiting_2021) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Collaborator names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) and identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements, principal investigator, collaborators, and partner organizations.

3. 2-page CV's of Investigator

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, May 4, 2020 - 4:00pm