Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars Fellowships designated specifically for liberal arts college faculty

2019-20 was the final competition year for the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship program. The description below is for informational purposes only.

Fellowship Details

  • Amount: $95,000, plus funds for research costs and related scholarly activities of up to $7,500 and for relocation up to $3,000
  • Tenure: one academic year
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship and grant administration system ( no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, September 25, 2019.
  • Notifications will be sent via email by late February 2020.
  • For information on how to request reviewer feedback, see FAQ.

The information below is a summary of the program, and details the eligibility, guidelines for proposing a location for residency, objectives, schedule, application requirements, and evaluation criteria for the program. Please read carefully through the material and accompanying FAQ.


One of the strengths of American higher education is the diversity of institutions that interact but remain distinct. In this educational ecosystem, liberal arts colleges serve as strongholds of the humanities by placing those fields at the core of their curricula. To support recently tenured faculty at these institutions, ACLS has designated a set of Burkhardt Fellowships specifically for them, with awards designed to support ambitious research in the humanities and encourage intellectual networks across types of institutions.

These Burkhardt Fellowships support an academic year (nine months) of residence at a university academic department or university-based humanities center of the applicant’s choice. This year's successful applicants may take up the fellowship in 2020-21 or in either of the succeeding two academic years, but candidates must commit themselves firmly to their preferred year and residential location on their completed applications. Candidates must also commit themselves to relocating as needed in order to be in residence for the entire nine-month tenure of the fellowship.

In the 2019-20 competition year, ACLS will award up to 10 Burkhardt Fellowships for residency at the applicant’s proposed location. Each fellowship carries a stipend of $95,000, plus funds for research costs and related scholarly activities of up to $7,500 and for relocation up to $3,000.

Scholars are welcome to apply for a Burkhardt Fellowship and for other ACLS fellowships for which they are eligible during the same competition year. However, applicants may apply only to one set of Burkhardt Fellowships. Successful applicants who accept a Burkhardt Fellowship will be withdrawn from other ACLS competitions.


These opportunities within the Burkhardt Fellowship program are open to recently tenured humanists—scholars who will have begun their first tenured contracts by the application deadline but no earlier than the fall 2015 semester or quarter. An applicant must be employed in a tenured position at a liberal arts college in the United States (defined as a baccalaureate institution of arts and sciences as per the basic classification developed by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education), remaining so for the duration of the fellowship. (See our FAQ for additional information.) US citizenship or permanent residency is not required, and previous supported research leaves do not affect eligibility for the Burkhardt Fellowship. This is a residential fellowship; scholars who are unable to commit to a nine-month residence at their proposed location should not apply.

Guidelines for Proposing a Location for Residency

These fellowships are best understood as involving a partnership between fellows and host locations, and ACLS expects that both fellows and hosts will have much to gain from the exchange. Eligible residential sites include humanities centers and academic departments located at universities in the United States, and applicants may propose residencies at any such site that they deem will best advance their projects. Applicants are responsible for communicating (ahead of the application deadline) with the relevant department head or center director in order to secure their interest in hosting them.

Burkhardt Fellows’ stipends will be paid to the fellow directly or through the institution at which they hold tenure. ACLS will provide host institutions with financial support in the amount of $10,000 with the understanding that departments and centers will incur costs related to programming, administrative support, facilities, and other resources. Fellows may not teach while in residence, but ACLS expects them to be active members of the scholarly community at the institution and participate in colloquia, workshops, or related scholarly events. ACLS also encourages fellows and host centers/departments to develop new programming to help build and deepen this partnership during the fellows’ year of residence, and ACLS funds may be used for those purposes. Institutions must agree to provide fellows in residence with the appropriate resources for them to advance their projects and be active members of the community, including but not limited to: office space, internet and library access, a collegial environment, and opportunities to join speaker series and other departmental/center activities as are available.

As part of their application, applicants must specify their desired residency, and provide reasons why this department or center is best suited to advance the proposed project. A letter of support from the relevant department head or center director is required to confirm the provision of office space and other resources required for a successful residency.


  1. To encourage more adventurous, more wide-ranging, and longer-term patterns of research than are current in the humanities and related social sciences;
  2. To provide a small number of outstanding scholars at liberal arts colleges time away from other responsibilities to pursue their research and a choice as to what communities of scholars and resources will best advance their scholarship;
  3. To help create sustained scholarly conversations and durable networks among faculty at diverse types of institutions;
  4. To sustain the scholarly momentum of emerging intellectual leaders in fields of the humanities and related social sciences.

ACLS invites applications that extend the frame within which research is planned in ways that will encourage conceptualizing, advancing, and bringing to completion projects of wide scope and high significance. There are many ways in which scholarship may take on such scope and significance, from work that compares historical or literary trends across two or more cultures; that explores new modalities of scholarship including digital and collaborative work; that requires the command of two or more scholarly disciplines to advance its analysis; or that explores topics requiring intense immersion in centers of scholarly activity dedicated to a particular discipline or subfield. Please look through the projects of past Burkhardt Fellows as examples of the significant variety of such scholarship.


Proposals should show evidence of significant preliminary work already completed, and a plan of work, typically in the five-year range, to be carried out. Assurance will be required from the administrative leadership of the scholar's home institution (dean, provost, president, or other appropriate person) that the applicant is an especially promising member of its humanities faculty, and that the institution is prepared to make its own contributions—beyond providing normal fringe benefits during the fellowship year—to assist the scholar in bringing the project to completion. (See below.)

The overall structure of support would thus include:

  1. An academic year's leave funded by ACLS under the Burkhardt Fellowship program, with a stipend of $95,000 plus other funds for scholarship and relocation, and residence (not including lodging costs) at the site selected by the fellow. To accommodate fellows' schedules, award tenure and residency may be taken up in any one of the succeeding three years after selection as a fellow; applicants will be required to adhere to that schedule.
  2. A summer's support (usually estimated at 2/9 salary) and/or equivalent reduction of teaching and administrative duties at some point in the post-fellowship stage, funded by the home institution.
  3. Since projects are expected to be long term, and since these fellowships offer a high level of salary support, work plans should be designed to take maximum advantage of existing leave and/or sabbatical policies at home institutions; that is, these fellowships should be viewed as incremental to institutionally approved leave policies rather than substituting for them. Such institutionally granted research support could be used for the final effort necessary to bring the project to completion.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Proposal (no more than 10 pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Bibliography (no more than three pages)
  • Publications list (no more than two pages)
  • Three reference letters
  • Institutional statement (from applicant's home institution) 
  • Statement of support from proposed site of residency

Evaluation Criteria

Peer reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals according to the following criteria:

  1. The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge.
  2. The ambition and scope of the proposed project.
  3. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  4. The rationale for residency at the proposed site and likelihood that the collaboration with other scholars and resources available at the residential location will increase significantly the applicant's ability to carry the project forward.
  5. The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed time frame.
  6. The scholarly record and career trajectory of the applicant, taking into account relative advantages and constraints on resources for the proposed project and over the course of the applicant's career.
  7. Commitment by the scholar's institution to assist in advancing the project.

It is hoped that projects of successful applicants will help demonstrate the range and value of both research and inquiry in the humanities at liberal arts colleges, and model how sustained and durable networks among scholars from colleges and universities may be built successfully.