December 7, 2016

Versatile Humanists at Duke Ph.D. Innovation Grants

Ph.D. Innovation Grants provide support to departments in the humanities and interpretive social sciences to develop and test curricular changes designed to enhance the preparation of graduate students for careers inside and outside of academia.

These competitive grants can range from $1,000 to $7,500. Departments can request this funding over a one- or two-year period, beginning as early as April 2017.

Departments may propose a range of innovations, including, but not limited to:

  • Embedding collaborative, team-based research experiences into the curriculum
  • Integrating public engagement into graduate pedagogy
  • Developing new interdisciplinary seminars, intensive summer workshops, or online modules connecting the humanities to other domains of knowledge
  • Implementing the use of portfolios in place of comprehensive exams
  • Experimenting with the form of the dissertation
  • Developing new curriculum modules focused on new skills
  • Embedding advising and career planning into the curriculum

At the end of the award period, recipients will be expected to complete a brief assessment and share their experiences with other Duke faculty and graduate students via one or more of the following:

  • Reflection on the VH@Duke blog
  • Presentation at an on- or off-campus event
  • Participation in the development of a whitepaper, digital resource, or scholarly article

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Any regular-rank faculty member in the humanities and interpretive social sciences may apply. Proposals may cross departments and schools, but must be targeted toward doctoral students in the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Collaborative proposals are encouraged, especially if the department wishes to partner with a non-curricular unit. Departments might also consider proposing a matching-fund model.

Funds can be applied to support innovation in a variety of ways, including:

  • Departmental retreats
  • Travel to other campuses to learn about innovative pedagogy
  • Bringing in outside experts to consult with department faculty

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The application period is open until March 31, 2017.

Applicants must complete the online application, which includes submitting a PDF file of a short proposal (no more than five pages total) that includes:

  • A summary of the idea and its potential effect on doctoral education
  • The goals of the project
  • Name(s) for the project lead(s) and a description of how other faculty in the department (or outside of it) will be involved
  • Timeline of activities: Projects should begin as soon as possible and can last up to two years
  • Plans for evaluating the effect of the proposed idea and for sustaining successful elements
  • Budget: The funds requested should be between $1,000 and $7,500. Funds cannot be used to support faculty course replacement. Please also note if additional funds will be provided from other sources.
  • A letter of endorsement from the department chair or DGS; additional signatures of commitment from other faculty in the department are also encouraged.

Complete Online Application Now

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A selection committee of faculty and graduate students will rate each application on the following criteria:

  • Potential effect of the proposed idea
  • Clarity of goals
  • Appropriateness of the project scope
  • Appropriateness of the budget
  • Demonstrated commitment of the department/faculty
  • Ability to sustain the idea if proven successful

Awards will be announced by the end of April.

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For questions, please contact Maria LaMonaca Wisdom (