Request for Proposals: NEHC Seed Grants

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) is offering competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that seek to capitalize on the collaborative network and potential of the consortium. Applications seeking to sustain, and build on, previously funded NEHC initiatives that demonstrated success are also welcome. Awards of up to $5,000 will be made. (For projects whose total budgets exceed $5,000 applicants must list additional committed funding sources and amounts.) Priority will be given to applications demonstrating concrete plans for consortium membership involvement. Such involvement can take different forms, but will typically involve, e.g. direct collaboration between two or more member institutions and/or active solicitation of faculty, staff, or students exclusively from member institutions. Applications are welcome from individuals or teams, but the PI must be on the faculty of a NEHC member institution. Potential areas of funding interest include the following (this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Collaborative research projects
  • Public Humanities programming
  • Programming with State Humanities Councils
  • Programming reflecting the Humanities and the Pandemic
  • Summer Seminars
  • Study, writing, or working groups
  • Shared speakers across institutions
  • Collaborative course design
  • Exhibitions and Public Performances


Applications are welcome from individuals or teams, but the PI must be on the faculty of a NEHC member institution (UConn is a member of NEHC).

Application Requirements and Procedure

Applications must include the following:

  • Cover page
  • Project narrative
  • CV
  • Budget and timeline

See here for complete submission guidelines.

Please submit materials electronically in pdf or Word docx to YOUR HUMANITIES CENTER or INSTITUTE DIRECTOR (for UConn Faculty that’s by September 15, 2021 by 5pm. Directors will then forward the proposal to the NEHC board.

See here for information about past award recipients.

Questions and requests for more information are encouraged and should be directed to

CFA: 2021 Faculty of Color Working Group Symposium

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC), and the University of Connecticut, the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) invites applications for a virtual symposium hosted by Tufts University scheduled for Wednesday May 26 – Friday May 28, 2021 themed “Politics, Pedagogy, and the Public Humanities.” This community and support-building event for FOC, continues the enthusiasm generated during the first regional FOCWG gathering, on May 10, 2019. The symposium includes a keynote by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Princeton), workshops by Dr. Noliwe Rooks (Cornell), Dr. Gabrielle Foreman (Penn State), Dr. Kyla Wazana Tompkins (Pomona), and Dr. Nicole Aljoe (Northeastern), social hours, and opportunities for one-on-one meetings with publishers.

Please note that space will be limited to ensure a high level of interaction among all participants, and the application deadline has been extended to April 23, 2021. Please see the full call for applications for details.

Announcing NEHC Faculty of Color Working Group Mellon Fellowships

With the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New England Humanities Consortium’s Faculty of Color Working Group is pleased to accept applications for two (2) Mellon Faculty Fellowships in the Humanities and Humanistic Social Sciences for the 2021–2022 academic year. The fellowship is intended for full-time faculty members from historically disadvantaged racial groups or those whose projects specifically confront institutional blocks for BIPOC faculty. The Mellon Faculty of Color Fellowship program seeks to relieve scholars of institutional hindrances by providing resources to reduce many of the barriers that make it difficult for faculty of color to research, think, and engage in their transformative work at their home institutions. These fellowships will provide resources that will allow them the time and space to focus on their scholarship away from the typical demands levied on their own campuses. Fellows will spend their fellowship year at a NEHC host institution with opportunities to interact with a broad and relevant intellectual community. Applicants are limited to faculty from NEHC member institutions, including the University of Connecticut, and are due February 1, 2021Applications must be submitted via Interfolio.
For more details, see the call for applications.

UCHI Stands in Solidarity with the UVM Humanities Center

Our NEHC partners at the University Vermont Humanities Center have released the following statement on the recently proposed cuts to Humanities programs at UVM. UCHI stands with the UVM Humanities Center in opposing these proposed cuts and in calling for a recognition of the crucial importance of the humanities.

The UVM Humanities Center decries, in the strongest possible terms, the proposal to eliminate humanities departments and programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. This proposal does not reflect a “comprehensive commitment to a liberal arts education” (UVM Vision statement), and it undermines the value of the Humanities for our students, faculty, state, and status as Vermont’s flagship land grant university.

As Vermont Congressman Justin Morrill—architect of the land-grant university system— once expressed, humanities are not marginal to the land grant university but lie at its very heart: “The fundamental idea was to offer an opportunity in every state for a liberal and larger education to larger numbers, not merely those destined to enter the sedentary professions, but to those needing higher instruction for the world’s business, for the industrial pursuits and professions of life.” For Morrill, the purpose of the university is not merely technical education; rather it is to create better citizens and strengthen the nation by enriching the human experience.

Through their teaching, research, and public engagement, the faculty of three humanities programs targeted for elimination—Religion, Classics, and Historic Preservation—as well as majors in various foreign languages targeted for elimination, have demonstrated that the Humanities help all students from across the University to:

    • Understand human experience across language, place, and time
    • Empathize with others
    • Think creatively and critically
    • Examine social problems related to race, gender, sex, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, class, and caste
    • Prioritize social justice and equality
    • Build skills in inquiry, writing and critical analysis, the so-called “soft-skills” that are in high demand in diverse careers

The proposal to eliminate these programs and majors based on an arbitrary measure like the number of majors is short-sighted and ignores the importance of these programs for the fulfilment of general education requirements for all students from across the university. Given that this proposal is patently about opening the door to cutting faculty positions, it egregiously ignores the contributions faculty in these programs make to Vermont through their public humanities work, consulting, and leadership in areas such as cultural heritage management, secondary education, teacher training, and humanities and arts programming throughout the state. UVM’s latest attempt to “engage” with Vermont would do well to recognize Humanities faculty are already deeply engaged in Vermont’s communities through a multitude of humanistic and artistic pursuits. Especially galling is the assault it represents on the accomplishments, productivity, and stature of the faculty who teach in these programs, whose contributions to UVM’s national and international reputation are substantial. We have been proud in the Humanities Center to provide direct support and awards to faculty in each of these programs.

Budgets are not apolitical, they are values statements. It is clear from the proposed budgetary cuts that the humanities are not valued at UVM. This is in spite of their inherent merit to our land grant institution, high enrollment courses that serve university mission, and excellent faculty. We question why we cannot invest university resources in academic programs and not bloated administrator salaries, or reform a budget model that systematically produces regular structural deficits to the academic unit that serves the greatest number and variety of students.


Luis Vivanco, Director
Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst, Associate Director

Download a PDF of the statement.

UConn Humanities Institute Awarded Mellon Grant to Expand the Faculty of Color Working Group

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year grant of $750,000 to the University of Connecticut for the Humanities Institute to expand the New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG). The thirteen member institutions of the Consortium support programming in humanities fields such as history, politics, language, art, literature, and philosophy.

Following a 2018 Mellon Foundation $100,000 grant that permitted a pilot phase, faculty of color at NEHC member institutions created and led the Faculty of Color Working Group (FOCWG) for the purpose of increasing mentorship, community building, and dedicated time for scholarly production among faculty of color. Coupled with the development of the NEHC’s social media and publicity, through cross-institutional networks, research and teaching mentorship, and fellowships, the Mellon Foundation grant enables FOCWG to bolster faculty success across schools in the region and the nation.

The Principal investigator for the program is Michael P. Lynch, director of the UConn Humanities Institute, director of NEHC and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Philosophy. Co-principal investigators are Melina Pappademos, director of the UConn Africana Studies Institute, associate professor of history, and director of the Faculty of Color Working Group; and Alexis L. Boylan, director of academic affairs of the UConn Humanities Institute and associate professor of art and art history and Africana Studies.

“With generous support from the Mellon Foundation, this initiative recognizes the environmental obstacles and, at times, outright hostilities to professional advancement that faculty of color face at predominantly white institutions. FOCWG seeks to address these institutional failures by enabling scholarly productivity and professional relationships, even self-care, as safe-guards for aggregated individual success,” says Pappademos. “The FOCWG challenges institutions to dismantle rather than uphold their inflexible structures designed and defended to advantage some faculty members over others.“

In addition to UConn, the consortium includes Amherst College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of New Hampshire, University of Rhode Island, University of Vermont, Wellesley College, and Wheaton College.

The FOCWG provides an urgently needed pathway for faculty of color to navigate the particular challenges they face in academic life. As part of a large network of institutions, the FOCWG grant will develop collaborative fellowship and mentoring opportunities to produce outcomes unachievable by any single institution.

The core activities made possible by the grant include:

  • Organizing an annual conference for faculty of color that will be the centerpiece of activities and outreach, which will include crucial professional dialogues on panel topics such as publishing, tenure and promotion and the challenge of transitioning into administrative roles. The conference will include pre-conference and post-conference interviews and surveys.
  • Development of a mentorship program to identify and train senior faculty mentors throughout the New England Humanities Consortium to offer a resource for faculty of color at all stages of their careers, including those holding administrative positions, in the region.
  • Establishment of The Mellon Faculty of Color Fellowship program, that will create opportunities for faculty to spend a year as a research fellow at another Consortium institution’s humanities institute or center contributing to crosspollination across the Consortium while furthering faculty’s individual research.

There will also be increased support for NEHC administrative functions including a separate FOCWG website, expanded social media presence and creation of an Instagram account to attract younger generation students and scholars, particularly those who attend liberal arts institutions.

President Herbst’s Legacy Heralds a Bright Future for UCHI

As the larger UConn community says farewell to President Susan Herbst, who served as its 15th president from 2011 to 2019, we at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) would like to add to the chorus of  well-wishers. President Herbst was an advocate for the humanities and arts on campus, which is exemplified by her initiative to establish the Susan Herbst and Douglas Hughes Family Scholarship in the Humanities, awarded annually to incoming undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who show academic achievement and financial need. UCHI was honored to be a part of Herbst’s commitment to building a stronger core of humanities scholarship and outreach at UConn. Evidence of this commitment can be seen in the remarkable grow and productivity of UCHI since 2011. Some of the key accomplishments of UCHI under the Herbst administration include:

The Humility and Conviction in Public Life initiative from 2015 to 2019, which was funded by UConn and a $6,000,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation. HCLP engaged in multiple research projects, educational opportunities, and regional outreach programs with the goal of promoting intellectual humility and investigating how humility promotes more constructive and meaningful public dialogues. HCPL also supported several residential fellowships and funded 22 cross-disciplinary projects at UConn and from around the world, all with the aim of exploring the meaning of public discourse and developing strategies to encourage better-informed public debates.

The New England Humanities Consortium, which was established in 2018 with the support of a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, promotes collaborative research, intellectual exchange, and educational programing for faculty and students at 11 schools in New England. UCHI serves as the executive hub of NEHC, which along with sponsoring numerous cross-campus events, funding research, supporting the public humanities in the region, has supported  the Faculty of Color Working Group, an innovative group seeking to encourage and nurture diversity in New England.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies initiative, which since 2016 has been bringing UConn faculty and students in the humanities and media studies together in a unique interdisciplinary environment. DHMS supports a plethora of projects, including research into the history of Hartford and Connecticut, and various online resources such as the African Film Database.

Increased funding for faculty and graduate research fellowships. Year-long residential fellowships provide scholars with the opportunity to pursue advanced work in the arts and humanities. Since 2011 generous funding from UConn has supported 40 dissertation fellowships for UConn graduate students, over 50 fellowships for UConn faculty from multiple departments and disciplines, and over 30 visiting fellowships for scholars from 26 different institutions from around the world.

During Herbst’s tenure, UCHI emerged as a leading hub of collaborative scholarship at the regional, national, and international stage. Dr. Herbst’s commitment to the humanities and UCHI’s success is echoed in incoming president Thomas Katsouleas’ belief in the importance of the humanities to addressing “societal grand challenges.” We join the greater UConn community to thank President Herbst and wish her the best as she returns to academia, and we look forward to the start of a new chapter at the Humanities Institute.


Photo Credit: Nasya Al-Saidy (Top) and Peter Morenus/UConn Photo (Bottom)