Public Engagement Programs

Public Engagement Programs


The Whiting Public Engagement Programs, including the Public Engagement Fellowship and the Public Engagement Seed Grant, are designed to celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement as part of the scholarly vocation. The programs fund ambitious, often collaborative projects to infuse into public life the richness, profundity, and nuance that give the humanities their lasting value. Over time, we hope the program will also build a community of faculty dedicated to this form of service; underscore just how essential the realm of ideas is in helping us absorb the news of the day, participate as citizens, and live a full life; and ultimately help to restore broader faith in the value of advanced work in the humanities.

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.  

Read more about our current and previous fellows and seed grantees.


About the Public Engagement Fellowship

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. 


About the Public Engagement Seed Grant

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.

The application window for the 2021-22 cycle is closed.

The guidelines below are for reference only. Guidelines for the 2022-23 cycle will be available in late 2020.

Guidelines for the 2021-22 cycle are available online here. Nominators for this cycle should submit the names of nominees by June 26, 2020; nominees should submit their first-round applications through the online portal by June 29, 2020.

Please note that these programs are open only to candidates who have been nominated by one of our partner organizations. Nominating partners include universities, scholarly societies, and humanities councils that are able to draw on a wide network of full-time humanities scholars working on publicly-engaged projects. Organizations interested in being considered as nominators in future cycles should contact  

We are continually looking to expand our set of peer reviewers. If you have expertise in both the content of a humanities field and a mode of public engagement and would like to learn more, e-mail

To learn more about publicly-engaged humanities initiatives across the United States, we encourage you to explore the National Humanities Alliance's Humanities for All Initiative.