Promoting collaborative research on ideas central to the pressing issues of our time.

Faculty Details and Application


Faculty in the humanities with tenure-track professorial rank (i.e., assistant, associate, full professor) and a continuing appointment at University Park or one of the 19 campuses outside University Park that report to the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses are eligible for this program. Faculty interested in combining this opportunity with another kind of leave in the same academic year should seek approval from their department head or program director. An HI Residency may immediately precede or follow a semester-long sabbatical during the same academic year. Faculty who have received HI Faculty Scholar Residencies in the past are eligible to apply again after two academic years have elapsed (for example, faculty who applied in Fall 2020 for a residency in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 may apply again in Fall 2023 for a residency in Fall 2024 or Spring 2025). Previous Residents must also demonstrate that they have sought external grant support during the last two years. In addition, applications from former Residents must be for a different project and must include evidence of the previous project’s successful completion.  An applicant’s prior history of HI support may be considered by the Advisory Board in the course of its deliberations. 

All applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss aspects regarding the semester release with their Department Head/Program Director. (The Humanities Institute covers one course-release in the amount of $5,000; the applicant’s primary department is expected to cover one more, which should be attested to in the departmental letter of support.)

Applicants with primary appointments from colleges other than Liberal Arts are required to secure a letter of support from their department head, attesting to that department’s willingness to co-sponsor an HI Residency by granting any course-release costs beyond the $5,000 granted by the HI.

Applicants from commonwealth campuses are required to seek financial commitment from their campus chancellor prior to the application process (see details in item 5, below). Accordingly, travel to University Park is encouraged when possible, particularly for Faculty Scholar in Residence presentations, and contact with the semester cohort and other UP scholars. 

Faculty in the College of the Liberal Arts may only accept one internal fellowship from a Penn State Center or Institute in any given year.  If applicants are selected for more than one fellowship or release, they must select one to accept.  Faculty are eligible to reapply for other opportunities in subsequent years.

A Note To Department Heads:

The recommendation letters are a critical piece of the application process. The Advisory Board finds helpful letters that indicate clearly how an HI residency would be beneficial to the faculty member in completing a project, and when multiple faculty from a single department apply, it is helpful if some general comparison is made among applicants, as appropriate. If the Department Head writes the letter covering all requirements discussed in item 4 below, the word count may be combined. All letters are confidential.

Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated and recommendations made to the Director by the Institute’s Advisory Board. Awards for the academic year 2024-25 will be announced by early December, 2023.

Presentation and Report Requirements

Resident Scholars will be asked to give a work-in-progress public presentation during their residency semester. Thirty days after the close of the grant period (consult award letter for exact date), a report must be filed with the Institute on the results of the residency.


The Institute should be notified when a publication, exhibition, or other professional accomplishment results from a project supported by HI funds. Appropriate acknowledgment of Institute support must be given in all publicity, publications, and other work related to the residency project.

Application Procedure and Requirements

Applications that do not follow these guidelines will not be considered.

Please use the submission form below to submit your materials. All materials must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2023. All files for items 1-3 should be combined into a single PDF document and submitted by the applicant. Recommendation and support letters should be emailed to, also by the deadline. All applicants will receive an email receipt; please email if you do not hear back within one week.

Individual Applications: 

    1. Cover page with applicant’s name, professorial rank and academic title, contact information (including campus address and e-mail), project title, and residency semester preference (Fall 2024 or Spring 2025). Please note: The Humanities Institute will honor semester preferences where possible, but may not be able to grant all requests. 
    2. Description of project, including scholarly significance, outcome (publication, exhibition, etc.) and timetable for project’s completion (not to exceed five pages, double-spaced, 12-point font). Applicants may state a preference for a fall or spring semester residency (in the case of a strong preference, please provide an explanation). Applicants who plan to be on a semester-long sabbatical during the same academic year as the proposed residency must also indicate this plan.
    3. Curriculum vitae (not to exceed four pages). Please include internal and external grants received in the past five years as well as any non-administrative release time from teaching in the two academic years before the HI residency (2022-23 and 2023-24).
    4. Supporting materials: A short letter of evaluation from the applicant’s department head or program director (approx. 200 words).  This should indicate the degree of support from the perspective of the department, that the project is appropriate for the applicant’s research trajectory, and that the leave is feasible for the department. An additional letter (from a Penn State colleague or an extended Department head’s letter) describing the scholarly value of the project and its contribution to the applicants’ field (300-400 words).  If the Department Head writes a letter covering all requirements, the word count may be combined. All letters are confidential. For applicants with joint appointments: A letter from the majority head/director as stated above is required. A brief email acknowledging support of the applicant from heads/directors of other budgeted units should be sent to by the application deadline. All letters should be sent to with a subject line that indicates the Faculty Scholar Program and the applicant’s name. 
    5. For commonwealth campus faculty only: a letter from the campus chancellor should be sent to with a subject line that indicates the Faculty Scholar Program and the applicant’s name. The letter must indicate a commitment to pay for a third course release so that the faculty member does not teach during the semester in residence. (The Humanities Institute provides funding to cover course buy-outs up to $5,000.)  Additionally, the letter must also indicate financial support for expenses incurred due to travel to and from University Park. Faculty members at commonwealth campuses are strongly encouraged to discuss the financial support expected from a campus with the campus academic officer and chancellor several months before the application deadline.

Collaborative Applications: All files for items 1-3 above should be combined into a single PDF document (cover page; proposal not to exceed seven pages, double-spaced, 12-point font; CV for each applicant not to exceed 4 pages) and submitted by one member of the collaboration. Item 4 should be submitted for each member of the collaborative application.


For more information on Humanities Institute Funding Opportunities, please contact us.

814-865-0495 (phone)
814-863-8349 (fax)

103 Ihlseng Cottage
University Park, PA 16802