Humanities for the Public Good + Liberating Structures: Course Design Microgrant Application

If you are teaching a graduate course during the next two years in the humanities or humanities adjacent areas (i.e., arts and social sciences) and you are inspired by the Liberating Structures immersion series, you can apply for an HPG Course Design Microgrant. Thanks to the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, this is an opportunity to test drive more equitable, inclusive, student-centered pedagogy.

The goals of the re-design is either (or both):

1) To create a class and/or assignments in which you invite students to connect your disciplinary methods and content with challenges students are facing--from dealing with COVID to addressing racism to addressing environmental or social or cultural issues.

 2) To design a course or assignments to prepare students for careers outside the academy (given the scarcity of academic positions).

Note: We would also be delighted to see applications that proposed creative ways to co-teach by bringing together two graduate courses across departmental lines (which some of us do at the graduate level by meeting at the same time in the same classroom) or applications that proposed publicly engaged scholarship opportunities for students. Note that if two or more people would like to experiment with ideas about ways you could co-teach by holding linked versions of your individual classes or sequential versions of your individual classes, we can award both (or all) of the instructors grants, so don't hesitate to let us know if you plan to work with a partner.

Individual recipients will be awarded a $1,000 stipend and the cohort of recipients will receive support from Fisher, Anna, and the HPG team to help (re)design a graduate course.

Once awards are made, we will invite awardees to meet as a group (virtually) to share plans, set goals, and establish a timeline early in fall 2020. During the semester, we will be available for feedback sessions at your convenience as you plan. Finally, we will bring the group back together before Thanksgiving break so that the cohort can discuss each other’s courses, what you’ve learned from the redesign efforts, and so that the HPG team can learn enough about your new course to recommend it to student who are interested in our degree and seeking courses in your discipline that meet their interests and needs.

(All meetings will be virtual as we continue to use our LS training to work with you and give you space to work with your peers.)

We have deliberately kept the application simple. By answering the series of questions below, you will have done all you need to do to apply. As you'll see we ask for the following:

-  Name, department, email address
-  Class you will design or redesign
-  One paragraph description of the class (thanks for noting when you will teach it next and how often it is taught)
-  A "tag line" for the new course you're picturing (watch the 2 minute video for inspiration) and a short description of what you want to change and how those changes align with the objectives for the grant that we note above. (Again, one or two paragraphs is plenty.)

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Your name and home department: *
University of Iowa email: *
Class you are (re)designing (please include title, department, course number, and semester it will be offered) : *
Short description of your current course (one paragraph is fine): *
Professor Cruz's Asian American Literature Trailer--For inspiration, we invite you to watch this brief course "trailer" to see how one professor redesigned a class to address current crises.
In the Liberating Structures workshop, we encouraged participants to imagine how you might redesign a graduate class in which you encourage students to use the methods and texts of your discipline to address wicked problems. As one example, take a look at this 1-minute trailer video by Professor Denise Cruz at Columbia University whose class will use Asian American literature to approach the experience of COVID-19 (and maybe vice versa). For the graduate class you are (re)designing, what would be the tagline to explain your class to prospective students? Write a brief explanation of how that tagline will motivate your course design or redesign (1-2 paragraphs). *
These course design microgrants are made possible by the Humanities for the Public Good initiative, which is funded by a grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Considering the scope and purpose of Humanities for the Public Good (check out, do you see any affinities between the HPG description and the class you are (re)designing? (One paragraph is fine.) *
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