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Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art FAQ

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Updated July 10, 2017 

Eligibility

Q: What kind of projects does this program fund? Are there some types of project this fellowship program does not fund?

Q: May I apply for more than one ACLS fellowship in the same competition year?

Q: Do I have to be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible?

Q: May I apply for a Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship if I have previously applied?

Online fellowship application process

Q: May I edit an application submitted in a previous competition and resubmit it for this year?

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?

Q. What is the application deadline for the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship program?

Q: After submitting my proposal, I had an article/book accepted for publication. May new information be added to my publications list?

Q: How can I make sure I receive notification about my application or that I receive responses to queries using the “OFA Help” link within the online fellowship and grant administration (OFA) portal? How can I make sure that my letter writers receive ACLS’s email?

Reference letters

Q: Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Q: If my advisor is also the chair of my department, whom should I ask to submit the institutional statement of support?

Q: Do all my reference letters have to be in the system before I submit my application?

Q: What should I do if one of my referees does not send in the letter s/he agreed to?

Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?

Review process

Q: Who is reading my proposal?

Q: Since my application will be read by both experts who may have specific knowledge of my topic and others who may not, how should I pitch my proposal?

Q: How much of the proposal should be devoted to explaining methodology, the project's significance, theoretical framework, work plan, etc.?

Q: What kinds of projects are usually successful in the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship competition? Do you have examples of successful proposals?

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?

Award and stipend

Q: Are fellowship stipends paid directly to the fellow or are they paid through the payroll system of his or her home or host institution?

Q: I have been offered another fellowship in addition to a Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship. May I accept both?


Eligibility


Q: What kind of projects does this program fund? Are there some types of project this fellowship program does not fund?
A: Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships support doctoral research and writing for PhD candidates in a US department of art history. Students with appropriate projects whose degree will be granted by another department are eligible only if the principal dissertation advisor is in a department of art history. The dissertation project must focus on a topic in the history of visual arts of the United States, be object- or image-oriented, and employ an art-historical or visual studies approach.

While topics may be historically or theoretically grounded, topics that are predominantly socio-historical are not eligible.

Q: May I apply for more than one ACLS fellowship in the same competition year?
A: Yes, an applicant to this fellowship may also apply to as many fellowship programs as are suitable. However, not more than one ACLS or ACLS-joint award may normally be accepted in any one competition year.

Q: Do I have to be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible?
A: Yes. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for this fellowship. Further, you must be a PhD candidate at a degree-granting institution within the United States.

Q: May I apply for a Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship if I have previously applied?
A: Yes, but unsuccessful applicants may reapply to this program only once.


Online fellowship application process


Q: May I edit an application submitted in a previous competition and resubmit it for this year?
A: No, you will need to start over with a new online application.

Q: How long does it take to fill out the application?
A: This will vary, depending on how much work you have prepared before you begin the application process. Simply filling in the form will probably take at least an hour if not two, plus you will need to submit your proposal and supporting documents. You will also need to secure referees to write letters in support of your application. We highly recommend that you should start the process several weeks before the deadline to get a sense of what is required and start preparing your materials.

Q: Do I have to complete the application all at once?
A: No, you may work on it in multiple sessions, though you will need to save your work after you finish each section of the application. Once you have submitted the application, you cannot work on it again.

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Q. What is the application deadline for the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship program?
A. The deadline to submit completed applications for this fellowship is 9 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, October 25, 2017.

Q: After submitting my proposal, I had an article/book accepted for publication. May new information be added to my publications list?
A: No, your application will be judged as it is at the time of submission.

Q: How can I make sure I receive notification about my application or that I receive responses to queries using the “OFA Help” link within the online fellowship and grant administration (OFA) portal? How can I make sure that my letter writers receive ACLS’s email?
A: Notifications and other correspondence are sent via email from “acls.org” addresses. In order to prevent ACLS emails from being blocked, we suggest that applicants and letter writers:

  1. Add the relevant ACLS email addresses (e.g., ofahelp@acls.org, fellowships@acls.org, mgoldfeder@acls.org, and references@acls.org for letter writers) to their address book or safe senders list.
  2. Check spam or junk mail folder for notifications and correspondence, if you are expecting them.
  3. In the event that you continue not to receive ACLS emails in either your inbox or spam/junk folder, it may be that your institution (“.edu”) or internet service provider (“.com” or “.net” email) is blocking these emails before they reach you. Please contact the appropriate personnel, e.g., your IT department, so that they may resolve the issue.

Reference letters


Q: Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
A: Your main priority should be to secure letters from referees who can write strong, specific letters on your behalf, preferably those who can comment on the proposed project. One of these letters must come from your dissertation advisor.


Q: If my advisor is also the chair of my department, whom should I ask to submit the institutional statement of support?
A: The person submitting the institutional statement should not be one of the two reference letter writers and we require that one reference letter come from an applicant’s dissertation advisor. Thus applicants should ask another appropriate person to submit the statement; those appropriate to complete a statement include the director of graduate studies or a dean, associate, or assistant dean responsible for the graduate program.

Q: Do all my reference letters have to be in the system before I submit my application?
A: No, but note that the deadline for reference letters for most programs is the same as the application deadline. The system will continue to accept letters after the deadline and will add them to your application at the earliest possible time, though we cannot guarantee that they will accompany your application in the first stage of review.

Q: What should I do if one of my referees does not send in the letter s/he agreed to?
A: You should check online to see if your references have been submitted. If one or more of your letters has not been submitted by the deadline, you may wish to contact the letter writers. If one of your designated referees cannot write the letter, you can ask someone else to write for you and submit the appropriate information on your reference form. However, please note that once the required number of letters has been submitted for your application (regardless of which of your referees submits them), no more will be accepted. Think carefully, then, before requesting replacement letters. You would not want to put a referee in the position of writing a letter for you and then not being able to submit it.

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Q: Does ACLS accept reference letters from Interfolio or university-based dossier services?
A: No. ACLS requests that reference letters contain specific elements targeted to this fellowship program. Peer reviewers have expressed strong reservations about letters from dossier services since they are necessarily general and thus less helpful in assessing the merits of the proposed project. This information is particularly crucial for proposals that reach the final round of selection where they are evaluated by multi-disciplinary committees. ACLS understands the demands placed on senior scholars and has sought to moderate that burden by reducing both the required number and the length of reference letters to minimum essential levels.


Review process


Q: Who is reading my proposal?
A: Proposals to the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship program are read by experts in American art history with a wide variety of specializations.

Q: Since my application will be read by both experts who may have specific knowledge of my topic and others who may not, how should I pitch my proposal?
A: You should explain why this project offers insight into the issues of your discipline and subfield, and make clear what question or problem is being addressed. In addition, though, be sure to explain any terms that might not be familiar to those unfamiliar with your particular object of study or time period.

Q: How much of the proposal should be devoted to explaining methodology, the project's significance, theoretical framework, work plan, etc.?
A: The portion of the proposal that should be devoted to its constituent parts varies according to the proposed project. An important part of the application process is gauging the most central elements of your project and presenting those elements to your best advantage within the specified word/page limit.

Q: What kinds of projects are usually successful in the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship competition? Do you have examples of successful proposals?
A: The projects that are ultimately selected vary widely. While there is no one model to follow for a successful application and we do not provide examples of proposals that receive funding, you are encouraged to view previous awardees and brief project descriptions here. You may also benefit from reviewing Writing Proposals for ACLS Fellowship Competitions by Christina M. Gillis.

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?
A: Yes. Comments are released at the discretion of the reviewers. Hence, comments may be available from some, though not necessarily all, of the reviewers who assessed an application. Requests for comments from the 2017-18 competition must be submitted in writing (to fellowships@acls.org) by August 31, 2018.

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Award and stipend


Q: Are fellowship stipends paid directly to the fellow or are they paid through his or her home institution?
A: The fellowship is awarded to an individual graduate student. ACLS can arrange payment through the individual’s institution upon request. However, institutions may not deduct funds for overhead or indirect costs from the fellowship. For more information, review Information for Institutional Administrators.

Q: I have been offered another fellowship in addition to the Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship. May I accept both?
A: ACLS policy prohibits Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellows from holding concurrent fellowships that provide a stipend of any amount. ACLS allows a university to provide awards subsidizing tuition and university fees, including health insurance. Fellows may not accept an award that requires work of any kind, for example a teaching or research assistantship.

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Related Links

For answers to questions not addressed here, please contact us at fellowships@acls.org.

For questions pertaining to technical support, please consult the FAQ in the online fellowship application (OFA).