The Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute
1044 Alta Vista Road Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 992-5432

First Book Grant for Minority Scholars

ANNUAL APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 15

The Louisville Institute’s First Book Grant Program for Minority Scholars assists junior, non-tenured religion scholars of color to complete a major research project on an issue in North American Christianity related to the priorities of the Louisville Institute. All too often such scholars are asked to assume a heavy set of institutional responsibilities that can make it more difficult to complete the scholarly work necessary to secure tenure. The First Book Grant program enables scholars to spend an entire academic year devoted to that research project while free of other professional responsibilities.

In keeping with its fundamental mission, the Louisville Institute is especially interested in identifying and supporting scholars of color who seek through their academic work to be in conversation with church leaders and to strengthen their faith communities.

Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • be members of a racial/ethnic minority group,
  • have an earned doctoral degree (normally the Ph.D. or Th.D.),
  • be a pre-tenured faculty member in a full-time, tenure-track position at an accredited institution of higher education (seminary, college, or university) in the United States or Canada,
  • be able to negotiate a full academic year free from teaching and committee responsibilities, and
  • be engaged in a scholarly research project leading to the publication of their first (or second) book, focusing on some aspect of Christianity in North America.

If the institution does not award tenure, the school must provide some form of continuing, full-time employment, such as renewable term contracts. For purposes of this grant program, the term “racial/ethnic minority group” includes African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Applicants may not submit applications to more than one Louisville Institute grant program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

Questions about eligibility may be sent to kliechty@louisville-institute.org

Application and Selection Procedure

We prefer that you send application materials by uploading documents through our website in either *.pdf or *.doc format. Assemble all required documents and email addresses prior to beginning the online application process – which will prompt you to upload and submit your materials in one session. All digital documents must be submitted by the annual January 15 deadline. If you encounter problems with online submission contact Keri Liechty at kliechty@louisville-institute.org.

If you choose to send your entire proposal in hard copy, please assemble it in the order listed above (using paper clips, not staples) and mail to the Louisville Institute office, postmarked by the January 15 deadline. Note: all applicants must complete the online Applicant Information and Project Summary Form.

Applications should include:

  • Applicant Information and Project Summary Form
  • Narrative statement of approximately 5-7 pages (12-point and double-spaced). Describe your proposal in detail using the following outline:
    • Concern/Question: What is the primary concern or question being addressed?
    • Rationale: Why is the proposed topic important to you and to the church? What are the consequences if this issue is not investigated and responded to?
    • Plan: How do you intend to study and investigate the concern? Include a description of the way in which you will conduct the inquiry: bibliography of the main sources to be read, field work if appropriate, travel and other resources necessary to complete the project.
    • Dissemination: Who is your audience for this research? How do you plan to share your research with them? What oral forms of dissemination fit the project (e.g. sermons, education venues, speeches, conference papers)? What written forms of dissemination fit the project (e.g., essay, article, book, other possible publication venues)?
    • Impact: What personal, academic, and spiritual impacts do you see for yourself in engaging in this project? What benefits will come to your institution and to the larger church?
    • Timeline: What is the schedule and timeline for the project?
  • Selective bibliography of the main sources to be read (2-3 pages double-spaced)
  • Detailed budget and budget narrative – see Guide for Budget Preparation
  • Copy of your current Curriculum Vitae or résumé (no more than 4 pages).
  • Letters of Recommendation and Letter of Release: When entering applicant information online, you will be asked to provide email addresses for your two recommenders and dean. After you submit your application, the Louisville Institute will immediately email those persons with instructions for submitting their documents online. You will be notified via email as each person successfully submits a document. We advise applicants to contact their two recommenders and dean well in advance to explain procedures and guidelines (below) so that completed letters can be promptly uploaded when requested by the Institute.
    • Letter of Recommendation from Colleague — The recommender will be instructed: After reviewing the applicant's plans, craft your letter (on letterhead, if applicable) as a colleague. Provide your candid assessment of the applicant's reliability and capacity and to carry out the proposed project. Describe how the applicant's previous work demonstrates skills needed to conduct this study. In what ways might this project strengthen the church in North America?
    • Letter Assessing Project Feasibility — The recommender will be instructed: After reviewing the applicant's plans, craft a letter (on letterhead, if applicable) providing your candid assessment of the need for this project, the feasibility of this project, and the distinctiveness of this project in light of what others are doing or have already done. Tell us how the applicant is well-suited to undertake this study and why the proposed project has relevance for the church in North America.
    • Letter of Release: The applicant’s academic dean or chairperson confirms release from teaching responsibilities in the event a grant is awarded.

Duration of Award and Stipend

The grant amount requested should not exceed $40,000. Awards for sabbatical leaves of less than a full academic year will not be made. Normally the Louisville Institute will pay the grant directly to the institutions of those selected, but no indirect costs to the institution will be allowed in this grant program.

Conditions

Grantees must be released from all teaching and committee responsibilities during the award year, and applications should include a letter from the appropriate dean or chairperson confirming that the applicant will be released from those responsibilities if receiving an award. (If the institution does not award tenure, this letter should also briefly describe the faculty review process that provides faculty members with continuing, full-time employment, such as renewable term contracts.) Grantees may not accept other awards that provide a major stipend during the tenure of this grant except insofar as necessary to bring the sabbatical year salary up to the grantee’s full salary level. Although the Louisville Institute First Book Grant Program for Minority Scholars has no residence requirement, in the year of their award, all grantees are expected to participate in the Louisville Institute's Winter Seminar. Travel and lodging expenses for the Seminar will be covered by the Louisville Institute.

Please note that Louisville Institute grantees may not simultaneously hold two grants from Lilly Endowment-funded organizations that total more than $45,000.