Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Programs Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary 

The Whiting Foundation invites selected schools and scholarly societies to nominate for the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship and the Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant programs. These programs are intended to celebrate and empower faculty who embrace public engagement as part of the scholarly vocation.

The Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship of $50,000 is for public-facing projects far enough along in development or execution that the nominee can present compelling, specific evidence that they will successfully engage the intended public. For the strongest Fellowship proposals, both the overall strategy and the practical plan to implement the project will be deeply developed, relationships with key collaborators will be in place, and initial connections with the intended public will have been cultivated. In some cases, the nominee and collaborators may already have tested the idea in a pilot, or the project itself may already be underway.

The Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant of up to $10,000 supports projects at a somewhat earlier stage of development than the Fellowship, before the nominee has been able to establish a specific track record of success for the proposed public-facing work. It is not, however, designed for projects starting entirely from scratch: nominees should have fleshed out a compelling vision, including a clear sense of whose collaboration will be required and the ultimate scope and outcomes. They should also have articulated specific short-term next steps required to advance the project and understand the resources required to complete them.

These two programs are entirely separate: aspiring fellows need not have received a Seed Grant, and receiving a Seed Grant does not automatically qualify a grantee for a future Fellowship. Both programs support ambitious public-facing humanities projects. The stage of a project will determine the relevant program. 


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST May 18, 2020

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: June 26, 2020

Sponsor First-Round Application Deadline: June 29, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2 pages maximum)
  • PI Curriculum Vitae
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://cuboulderovcr.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/6442/home


Nominees must be full-time humanities faculty as of September 2020; they must be pre-tenure, untenured, or have received tenure in the last five years (at or after the end of academic year 2014-15. This timing refers to the professor’s first receipt of tenure, even if it occurred at a different institution.). Note that full-time adjunct faculty at an equivalent career stage are eligible.

Descriptions of the humanities fields and kinds of “public-facing” projects the Foundation supports are included in the solicitation.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Partner schools are invited to nominate one humanities professor for each program: one for the Fellowship program and one for the Seed Grant program.

Award Information

Fellowship Award Amount: $50,000

Seed Grant Award Amount: Up to $10,000

Review Criteria

  • Potential to engage the intended public. Is the project conceived with a public outside the academy in mind and designed carefully to engage them? Is the plan to reach that public explicit and robust? How significant will the engagement be, in terms of breadth and depth?
  • Ability to complete the project successfully. Is the project management plan sound, detailed, and tailored to achieve the intended outcomes? Does the candidate have the skills, resources, and collaborators with the expertise needed to execute the project effectively in the timeframe?
  • Intellectual value. Is the project rooted firmly in the humanities? Will it make a meaningful intellectual contribution with its audience, engaging them in the complexity and nuance of humanistic learning? Does it bring to bear the clarity, thoughtfulness, and profundity that characterize the best scholarship? What value does the participation of a scholar in a leadership role bring to the project intellectually?