ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowship and Grants, with image of Fisk University Jubilee Hall

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is proud to introduce the ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowship and Grant Program. The new program will advance the scholarly contributions of humanities and interpretive social sciences faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in recognition of their rich history in nurturing generations of scholars and accelerating vital social change despite chronic discrimination and underfunding.

In keeping with the goals ACLS underscored in its Strategic Priorities, the ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowship and Grant Program offers financial support, research development assistance, and networking opportunities to HBCU faculty while attending to the unique teaching and service commitments at their schools. The program is the result of extensive listening sessions and consultations with dozens of HBCU faculty and administrators. ACLS is grateful for their participation in this collaborative process, which directly informed the goals, design, and implementation of this program.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities help ensure that our higher education system is accessible to and supportive of all learners represented in the United States,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “ACLS made its first award to an HBCU faculty member in 1932. The grant to Lorenzo Turner, a linguistics scholar and professor of English at Fisk University, enabled him to produce a descriptive grammar of the Gullah dialect, which led to his landmark publication Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect. Today, we celebrate HBCUs’ achievements in the face of discrimination and inequality. We are honored to recognize and support faculty serving at these hundred plus institutions and their distinctive contributions to humanistic research.”

In the first competition of a three-year pilot, ACLS will award 12 grants of up to $10,000 each for research project development, and eight fellowships of up to $50,000 each to support deeper engagement with a significant research project. Both award categories allow applicants to structure their budgets and workplans in ways that best fit their research goals and professional commitments. Award funds may be used to advance a variety of activities, including but not limited to course releases; editing and/or research assistance; cross-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations; and travel costs and registration fees for research or conferences.

Today, we celebrate HBCUs’ achievements in the face of discrimination and inequality. We are honored to recognize and support faculty serving at these hundred plus institutions and their distinctive contributions to humanistic research. Joy Connolly

ACLS President

In addition to the fellowship or grant stipend, each awardee will have access to networking and mentorship opportunities that align with their scholarly goals and institutional contexts. Each fellowship and grant award also comes with an additional grant of $2,500 to the awardee’s home institution to support humanities programming or infrastructure. All applicants who advance to the finalist round of review on the strength of their proposals will receive a $500 grant to support research activity connected to their scholarship, as well as access to project and proposal development workshops.

In keeping with ACLS’s commitment to advance inclusive excellence in all of its programs, the ACLS HBCU Faculty Fellowship and Grant program especially welcomes applications from scholars of color and from other historically underrepresented groups, and from faculty representing the full range of HBCUs, including both two- and four-year degree-granting institutions.  

Starting in spring 2023, ACLS will host informational webinars about the program, as well as office hours for questions. These sessions are open to all. In addition, interested faculty can request feedback on their proposal draft and participate in proposal writing workshops to be held in the summer of 2023. Sign up to learn more about the program and these opportunities.

Fellowship and grant proposals must be submitted through the ACLS online application system, which will begin accepting applications in early April 2023. Additional information about the program and eligibility criteria are available online. The application deadline for both fellowships and grants is November 2, 2023.

The fellowship and grant initiative is part of a broader set of outreach and engagement activities focused on Minority-Serving Institutions, including focused work within the ACLS Associate member network. It builds on the research, engagement, and experience of peer funders, as well as ACLS learned society members such as the American Historical Association and American Philosophical Association.   

This program is funded by the ACLS endowment, which has benefited from the generous support of esteemed institutions and individuals including the ACLS Associate member network, past fellows, and friends of ACLS.