Fellowship program aims to support faculty public engagement


University of Michigan faculty on the Ann Arbor campus looking to explore and experiment with public engagement can develop new skills and may receive up to $10,000 and additional resource support in a new fellowship program.


Developed by the Center for Academic Innovation in partnership with units across campus, the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship will provide support for faculty who are new to public engagement or those who are interested in experimenting within their engagement practice.

The program aligns with President Mark Schlissel’s Strategic Area of Focus on Faculty Public Engagement and the center’s focus to extend academic excellence, expand public purpose and end educational privilege.

“This fellowship program addresses the needs faculty expressed during the Conceptualizing Public Engagement Series for more training and connections to on-campus opportunities and expertise,” said Rachel Niemer, director of access and outreach at the Center for Academic Innovation.

Applications for the inaugural cohort of public engagement faculty fellows are open now and will close Feb. 3, 2020.

Meghan Duffy, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in LSA and a 2018 Public Impact Award recipient, said she thinks many faculty are interested in getting more involved in public engagement or in developing their skills.

“This fellowship will provide a great opportunity for faculty to plan, develop and carry out a project, as well as to develop a network of peers from across campus,” she said.

The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship consists of a Studio Experience in May 2020 and a project support phase.

The Studio Experience includes workshops, consultations with experts, and short engagement opportunities. Upon completion of the Studio Experience, fellows will receive a stipend and be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in funding and in-kind support from a campus unit and Academic Innovation for a proposed project.

“There are many different ways to be publicly engaged, and the right way is different for each faculty member,” said Brian Zikmund-Fisher, associate professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health. “But, to me, taking intentional steps to engage the broader public is an integral part of what it means to be an academic, especially as a member of a public university.”


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