Announcing the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship and Call for Applications

Ellen Kuhn, Public Engagement Specialist

Elyse Aurbach, PhD, Public Engagement Lead


When the Public Engagement team first joined the Center for Academic Innovation, we spent several months doing what public engagement practitioners often do: listening. We held a campus-wide series of participatory workshops called Conceptualizing Public Engagement. This series helped us to collaboratively define public engagement at the University of Michigan, understand the barriers that prevent moreand more effectivepublic engagement from happening on campus, and design a framework to acknowledge the similarities and differences across all forms of public engagement. Along the way, we heard faculty repeatedly articulate a need for additional opportunities to develop skills related to public engagement, as well as a desire for additional support of ambitious, innovative public engagement projects. 

Yet public engagement isn’t just about listening; it’s also about taking action. We’re excited, then, to take action on what we heard in the Conceptualizing Public Engagement series by announcing a call for applications to a new Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship.

Through this Fellowship, we hope to meet President Schlissel’s charge to expand our public purpose, bring more faculty into public engagement, and support all forms of innovative public engagement work. 

We are partnering closely with public engagement units from across campus to collaboratively design the Faculty Fellowship. The program will also be advised by a group of publicly-engaged faculty. In this way, we hope to leverage the deep expertise of the public engagement community on campus as well as build bridges across different public engagement spaces.  

What will the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship look like? 

The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship involves two phases: a month-long Studio Experience in May 2020 followed by the opportunity for extended project support. 

Studio Experience: May 2020

The Studio Experience aims to help Fellows understand the breadth of public engagement opportunities, practice critical skills related to public engagement, and develop a project plan for a long-term public engagement project. The month-long experience will involve learning deeply together as a community, as well as receiving mentorship from experienced faculty and partners representing the diversity of public engagement at the University of Michigan. During the Studio Experience, Fellows will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on workshops and complete two smaller public engagement projects before beginning to develop a project plan and proposal for a more ambitious project.

Fellows who successfully complete the requirements of this first phase will receive a $1,500 stipend and be eligible for the second phase of the Fellowship.

Project Support

In the second phase of the Fellowship, Fellows may submit the proposal they developed during the Studio Experience for the opportunity to receive up to $10,000 in project funds and up to 18-months of in-kind support. In this phase, Fellows will work closely with a public engagement host unit on campus to implement their project. They will also receive additional in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation, including support in developing materials to share the impact of their public engagement projects. 

Who should apply?

We encourage University of Michigan-Ann Arbor faculty from all schools and colleges to apply, including Lecturers III and IV, curatorial faculty, tenured and tenure-track faculty, research faculty, and clinical faculty. 

The Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship is designed for faculty who are relatively new to public engagement or who are interested in trying a new form of public engagement. We will soon announce additional information about a Mentor Fellow program for faculty who are experienced in public engagement. 

The Center for Academic Innovation is interested in supporting the full breadth of public engagementfrom policy work to social media communication, informal learning opportunities to community-based participatory research. To showcase the rich landscape of public engagement at the University of Michigan, we will host a series of guest blog posts and videos developed by faculty who are undertaking exciting projects in a variety of public engagement contexts. Stay tuned! 


Email or come chat during the following coffee hours: 

All coffee hours will take place in the kitchen area of the Center for Academic Innovation, located on the eighth floor of Hatcher Library.

How do I apply?

To find out more and to access the online application, please visit:

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 3. Selected Fellows will be notified by mid-March 2020. 

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