Q:   What is the larger goal of the Collaborative?
A:  Our funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports creation of a vibrant academic program in Southern Appalachian Studies, in partnership with Yale University.

Q:  What areas of study is the Collaborative particularly interested in supporting?
A:  The terms of the Mellon grant establish the arts, humanities, and humanities-centered social sciences as conceptual drivers of funded efforts, with proposals welcomed from all disciplines.

Q:  Are any disciplines given priority at this stage of the program?
A:  We encourage inter- and multi-disciplinary efforts and the richer understanding that they allow. We are also particularly interested in fostering initiatives focused on economics and economic development, public health, literature, and the arts in southern Appalachia – all areas that are underserved by Sewanee’s current curriculum.

Q:  Is there a larger curricular goal for the courses and research projects that these funds support?
A:  Based in part on courses developed through these funds, an interdisciplinary minor in Southern Appalachian Studies, with John Willis as director, was approved by the Sewanee faculty in October 2016. The funds will continue to support development of rich academic program in Southern Appalachian Studies.

Q:  What general outcomes are sought for courses and research projects?
A:  Broadly, we seek to promote greater understanding of the region both within and beyond the academy.  We encourage projects that will have positive community impacts and promote public scholarship.

Q:  Are any particular research or teaching methods preferred?
A:  The Collaborative’s steering committee views these methods as particularly promising and supportive of the inclusive work we encourage.

Q:  How will you support collaborations interdisciplinary collaborations?
A: Members of the Collaborative’s steering committee can help facilitate partnerships and offer ideas that connect with other related courses and research projects. For example, two broad topic areas of inquiry that we have already directed some funding toward are (a) pain, opioid use, and addiction in the region and (b) the Highlander Folk School and its philosophy and impact. Understanding in both of these realms would be greatly enhanced by inquiry from a range of disciplines, and we can facilitate connections and conversations among those interested.

Q:  How will you support collaborations between Sewanee and Yale?
A:  The Collaborative has supported faculty exchanges to enhance courses at Sewanee, and could offer similar aid for courses at Yale.  We also encourage development of shared courses that, typically through technology, involve faculty and/or students from Sewanee and Yale, as well as joint research projects.

Q:  How do I find a colleague at the other institution who will partner in this work?
A:  Members of the Collaborative’s steering committee can help facilitate partnerships.

Q:  How do I identify community partners with whom I might collaborate?
A:  The Collaborative’s steering committee and the University’s Office of Civic Engagement can help make connections with community members who may be interested in your course or research project.

Q:  How will you support collaborations with community partners?
A:  The Collaborative and the University’s Office of Civic Engagement can assist you in enlisting community members’ aid with your work.  The Collaborative also has funds available to help compensate community partners involved in projects we support.

Q:  What elements should a successful project proposal demonstrate?
A:  The following aspects will prove helpful to receive and effectively use funding:

  • aspirational yet realistic goals,
  • meaningful approaches to project assessment and evaluation,
  • evidence of sustainability and/or a foundation for development of future efforts,
  • steps demonstrating how community partners will realize promised deliverables,
  • potential to involve a significant number of faculty, students, and/or community partners in worthwhile experiences.

Q:  How do I apply for support from the Collaborative?
A:  Please send a brief letter of inquiry describing the work you intend to do and how the Collaborative might best support you. We will work with you to identify points of particularly strong alignment between your interests and expertise and  our funding priorities. We are eager to hear your ideas and encourage you to be in touch with ideas at all stages of development—particularly for nascent ideas, informal conversation and/or e-mail exchange in advance of a letter of inquiry can be helpful.

Our current Mellon grant will close on September 1, 2018, and we have established the following timeline:

  • February 15, 2018: Submit brief e-mail letter of inquiry to collaborative@sewanee.edu by this date for full consideration
  • March 1, 2018: Feedback and invitations to submit full proposals will be shared by this date
  • March 15, 2018: Full proposals due via this form: proposal form
  • April 1, 2018: Funding decisions announced