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Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs Fellowships for Scholars FAQ

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Eligibility

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

Q: Do I need to have experience connecting my work with public or journalistic audiences to be competitive?

Q: The program description mentions that the ultimate goal of the proposed research should include “concrete steps to engage journalistic and media audiences.” What types of activities would be considered concrete steps?

Q: May I apply to more than one ACLS fellowship or grant program in the same competition year?

Q: Do I have to be a US citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a Luce/ACLS RJIA fellowship?

Q: I have had a supported research leave in the last two years. Does this affect my eligibility for the fellowship?

Q: Am I eligible if I will be on sabbatical and earning sabbatical salary during the fellowship period?

Q: Do I need to be in a department of religious studies to be eligible?

Q: Do I have to hold a tenure-track position in order to be eligible?

Q: If I am currently in a PhD program or will have finished my PhD by the time I would start the fellowship period, am I eligible for this fellowship?

Q: May I apply if I have the equivalent of a PhD?

Residency

Q: Where can I take up the fellowship? Can I conduct research abroad during the fellowship? Can I be in residence at one of the participating institutions, but travel abroad to conduct research during part of the year?

Q: Must I propose to relocate for the fellowship?

Online Fellowship and Grant Application (OFA) process

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 deadline for the Luce/ACLS RJIA fellowship?

Q: I may receive sabbatical funding during the year I would be taking the fellowship, but I do not know for certain or exactly how much it will be. What should I fill in on the application form?

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 application (OFA) portal? I can I make sure that my letter writers receive ACLS’s email?

Reference letters

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

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

Q: What should I do if one of the 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: If I apply to be in residence at one of the partnering institutions, will my proposal be evaluated by that institution?

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

Q: What should I include in my statement of interest in connecting scholarly research to journalistic audiences?

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?

Stipend

Q: If I receive this fellowship from ACLS, can the fellowship monies be paid through my institution instead of my receiving the funds directly?

Q: If the $55,000 fellowship award exceeds my normal academic-year salary, will the stipend amount be reduced?

Q: On what types of expenses may the funds for research and related scholarly activities be used?

Q: Must I take up residency at one of the three partnering institutions in order to access the fellowship’s relocation funds?

Q: What types of expenses would the relocation funds cover?


Eligibility


Q: What kind of projects does this program fund? Are there some types of projects this fellowship program does not fund?
A: Luce/ACLS RJIA fellowships support academic research in all fields of the humanities and related social sciences that focuses on religion in international contexts. In order for social science applications to be eligible, they must employ predominantly humanistic approaches and qualitative/interpretive methodologies. The ultimate goal of the research should be a significant piece of scholarly work by the applicant and concrete steps to engage journalistic and media audiences. ACLS does not fund creative work or the performing arts (e.g., novels, films, performance, or musical composition), nor does it fund textbooks or pedagogical projects, or work that deals purely with translation.

Q: Do I need to have experience connecting my work with public or journalistic audiences to be competitive?
A: No. This program is open to scholars who demonstrate interest in connecting their work to media and journalistic audiences, including those who have never made such connections in the past. Applicants are expected to outline in their proposals both the research they will pursue during the fellowship year and the steps they hope to take to engage journalistic and media audiences.

Q: The program description mentions that the ultimate goal of the proposed research should include “concrete steps to engage journalistic and media audiences.” What types of activities would be considered concrete steps?
A: Such steps may take a variety of forms. Applicants also should keep in mind that those selected as fellows will participate in ACLS-sponsored events over the course of their fellowship that specifically encourage greater recourse between scholars and journalists. We expect that these events, and the period of fellowship tenure itself, will allow fellows to devise and refine ideas for engagement. For example, fellows may: participate in media training offered by their institutions or their scholarly societies; write and publish columns or op-eds on topics related to their research; contribute content or expertise to a media organization covering religion; participate in programming or working groups—such as those hosted by learned societies, policy organizations, etc.—that engages the public or the media; or forge relationships with journalists who cover international affairs. Applicants who elect to take up residency at one of the program’s three partnering universities will have additional access to colleagues and programming that straddle the humanities and journalism and media.

Q: May I apply to more than one ACLS fellowship or grant program in the same competition year?
A: Yes, an applicant for this fellowship may also apply to as many fellowship programs as are suitable, with the exception of the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program. 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 for a Luce/ACLS RJIA fellowship?
A: Yes, you must be either a US citizen or permanent resident.

Q: I have had a supported research leave in the last two years. Does this affect my eligibility for the fellowship?
A: No. Previous supported research leaves do not affect eligibility for fellowships offered by this program.

Q: Am I eligible if I will be on sabbatical and earning sabbatical salary during the fellowship period?
A: Yes, the fellowship may be taken in conjunction with your sabbatical. The fellowship stipend level may be reduced so that the combination of stipend and sabbatical salary does not exceed the amount of your full academic-year salary.

Q: Do I need to be in a department of religious studies to be eligible?
A: No. Applicants may come from any field of the humanities or social sciences.

Q: Do I have to hold a tenure-track position in order to be eligible?
A: No. This program is open to all scholars, including independent scholars and non-tenure track faculty, who hold a PhD and whose research is in a field relevant to the program.

Q: If I am currently in a PhD program or will have finished my PhD by the time I would start the fellowship period, am I eligible for this fellowship?
A: No, your PhD degree must have been officially conferred by the application deadline. If you are a doctoral student, you may be eligible for one of the ACLS dissertation fellowships.

Q: May I apply if I have the equivalent of a PhD?
A: If you have published scholarly work on a par with the academic work required by the PhD degree, you may apply. You need to have completed a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research, similar to a dissertation, in the humanities or humanities-related social sciences. Please note that we do not consider a JD in itself to satisfy the PhD equivalency unless it was accompanied by a) a record of scholarly publications that are humanistic in nature (as opposed to case studies or technical legal issues) and b) a substantial academic project that required a sustained period of research (such as a dissertation or book).

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Residency


Q: Where can I take up the fellowship? Can I conduct research abroad during the fellowship? Can I be in residence at one of the participating institutions, but travel abroad to conduct research during part of the year?
A: Applicants may take the fellowship at their home institution or at any location suitable to advance their projects, and they may conduct research abroad as necessary. As a condition of the fellowship, applicants must make themselves available to participate in two program-wide events (TBD) during the 2017-18 academic year.

Q: Must I propose to relocate for the fellowship?
A: No. Applicants may take the fellowship at their home institution or at any location suitable to advance their projects.

Online Fellowship and Grant Application (OFA) process


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 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 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.

Q. What is the deadline for the Luce/ACLS RJIA fellowship?
A. The deadline to submit completed applications for this fellowship is 9 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, October 26, 2016.

Q: I may receive sabbatical funding during the year I would be taking the fellowship, but I do not know for certain or exactly how much it will be. What should I fill in on the application form?
A: You may estimate the amount you expect to receive, or fill in nothing. You can enter this amount in the section asking you to list other major funding sources to which you are applying for your present research proposal. Should you be offered a fellowship, you will need to provide a specific amount for any other funding you will receive during the fellowship period.

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 application (OFA) portal? I 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, rjia@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.

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Reference letters


Q: Whom should I ask to write our letters of recommendation?
A: Your main priority should be to secure letters from referees who can write strong, specific letters on your behalf and about the proposed project. Not more than one referee should be affiliated with your home institution(s). Reviewers sometimes have concerns about letters from colleagues in the same department or from dissertation advisors, and often prefer "arm's length" letters from scholars who can attest to the significance of the work in the field and have less personal interest vested in your or your colleagues’ successes. It's good to be able to show that you have placed yourself in the field, not merely in the department or institution where you are employed or did your graduate work. Think carefully about who can write the best letters and weigh that against personal connections. Applicants at early career stages will rely more on dissertation advisors as advocates. In any case, you will want referees to be tenured scholars.

Q: Do all reference letters have to be in the system before I submit the application?
A: No, but note that the deadline for reference letters is the same as the application deadline. The system will continue to accept letters for a few days 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 the 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.

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.

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Review process


Q: Who is reading my proposal?
A: Fellowship proposals to the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs are read by senior scholars from a range of fields in the humanities and related social sciences whose expertise articulates with the areas of research and engagement targeted by this program. As such, reviewers will be evaluating the potential of the project both to advance the scholarly field of study in which it is proposed and the broader public understanding of the role of religion in international affairs.

Q: If I apply to be in residence at one of the partnering institutions, will my proposal be evaluated by that institution?
A: No, applications are reviewed solely by a selection committee of scholars from across the humanities and related social sciences.

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 should I include in my statement of interest in connecting scholarly research to journalistic audiences?
A: This statement of up to two pages provides applicants a space to address an interest in a key element of this fellowship program, which is the broadening of public understanding of the past and/or present role(s) of religion in international affairs. Whereas the narrative proposal of up to eight pages should focus on the scholarly research project the applicant is proposing, the statement of interest is an opportunity to demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to connecting that research with journalistic and media audiences. The statement may include illustrative examples of a failure of public understanding (in the media, policy, or elsewhere) about religious belief or practice in society; reference to scholarly, journalistic, or programmatic work that has engaged the public successfully on a topic of global religion; an evaluation of disciplinary or curricular approaches to engage broader audiences; ideas for a public engagement project that would complement the applicant's proposed research project; or a combination of such approaches. Applicants should not feel limited to the above suggestions.

Q: Can I receive reviewer comments on my application?
A: Yes. Comments are released at the discretion of the reviewers. Thus, comments may be available from some, though not necessarily all, of the reviewers who assessed an application. Requests for comments from the 2016-17 competition must be submitted in writing (to fellowships@acls.org) by August 31, 2017.

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Stipend


Q: If I receive this fellowship from ACLS, can the fellowship monies be paid through my institution instead of my receiving the funds directly?
A: The fellowship is awarded to an individual scholar. ACLS can arrange payment through the scholar’s institution upon request. However, institutions may not deduct funds for overhead or indirect costs from the individual's fellowship. For more information, review Information for Institutional Administrators.

Q: If the $55,000 fellowship award exceeds my normal academic-year salary, will the stipend amount be reduced?
A: No, the portion of the stipend in excess of your salary may be used for any expenses related to advancing your scholarly project or facilitating your relocation and residency. However, please note that if you are combining the fellowship award with funding from other sources, such as sabbatical pay, the cumulative total may not exceed your normal salary.

Q: On what types of expenses may the funds for research and related scholarly activities be used?
A: These funds may be used to cover additional expenses related to the fellow’s research project, including but not limited to: travel expenses (for research or for attending relevant scholarly conferences); research assistance; research materials (books, equipment, software/licensing fees, reproductions); archival access/permission; scholarly programming such as workshops or speaker series related to their projects, etc.

Q: Must I take up residency at one of the three partnering institutions in order to access the fellowship’s relocation funds?
A: Yes. Only fellows who will take up residency at one of this year’s three participating universities are eligible to access additional relocation funds (up to $10,000).

Q: What types of expenses would the relocation funds cover?
A: The funds may be used to cover any additional expenses related to the fellow’s relocation to one of the three participating host sites, including moving expenses and housing.

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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).