Arts, Design, and Humanities Chair

The provost has established two University Imagine Fund chairs, each a two-year award during which the recipient becomes a Chair of Arts, Design, and Humanities. During each two-year term, the faculty awardee receives up to $70,000 to work with a team of faculty, staff, and students to create a program of activities for the University community and the community at large. The goal of these projects is to incite cross-departmental, multi-campus, and collaborative work.

Prior to 2014, only one chair was offered. An award was announced for the 2014-2016 period, with the selection of Prof. Ozayr Saloojee (School of Architecture, College of Design, Twin Cities campus). A second chair has been launched that will be awarded in early 2015 for 2015-17.

The two-year chairs typically have a first year that is more generative, with the second year a "culminating" year of activities that are more public and that engage the campus and external communities. The dual chairs and their staggered terms will establish a rhythm of one chair beginning its generative phase while the other emerges into full bloom.

Applicants for the chair role must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the University of Minnesota system. Applications also will be accepted from arts, humanities, and design faculty holding full-time (100%) salaried continuous or fixed-term appointments who are annually evaluated like tenured and tenure-track faculty (with substantially similar expectations for research accomplishments, independence, and ability to secure external funding). Note that eligibility does not include: visiting faculty, students pursuing a Ph.D., non-salaried faculty appointment type W, or employees with T appointments or A appointments.

The chair can either assemble the team, or groups can come together and name a chair from among the collaborators. The outcome of these activities should galvanize sustained intellectual dialogue around a particular academic theme. The program of activities can include: workshops, symposia, reading groups, speaker events, public engagement actions, partnerships across and outside the university, graduate and undergraduate classes, exhibitions, lectures, and performances.

The two-year chair will be selected through a two-phase proposal process—allowing for time to create connections with potential collaborators and co-planners as well as invited speakers, visiting artists, and other participants. Following is the timeline for the application process (with full details spelled out later in the document):

  1. Applicants for the 2015-17 chair are encouraged to submit a Call for Collaborators (CfC) letter starting on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 (1–2 pages; approximately 500 words). This letter should be submitted (starting on December 9) at Arts, Design and Humanities Chair Application.
  2. From the second half of December through the end of January, all Calls for Collaborators will be posted online for review—and as a specific call for co-planners. During this time period, applicants actively engage collaborators/co-planners in order to draft a full proposal. While a CfC is not required, the review committee strongly encourages submission of this letter.
  3. Full application proposals are due on Tuesday, February 2, 2015, by 11:59 p.m.
  4. Application review will begin in February, and the new chair—whose term will run from September 2015 to August 2017—will be announced by the end of March 2015.

Application Phase 1

Overview of the Call for Collaborators (CfC) letter (to be submitted on or after December 9, as specified above):

  1. Include an abstract or executive summary of the program of activities throughout the two-year time period. This should be 1–2 pages and no more than 500 words. Ideally, this will be a large-scale project where each system campus provides a critical element of the project or conference. For example:
    • In the case of music or interdisciplinary arts, faculty could propose a new work to be developed and presented with participation from across the campuses. Music, dance, theater, and visual arts students from each of the campuses could work locally with campus-based faculty in collaborative workshops, rehearsals, and advanced classes with guest artists. Periodic all-campus gatherings could bring students and faculty together to process ideas, hold key rehearsals, and to present the new work.
    • Example project A: Bridging Cultures: Islam and the West
      This project at the University of Minnesota explored the cultural and scientific exchanges that have occurred over the centuries between Western and Islamic nations, and how these exchanges led to advances in literature, philosophy, architecture, mathematics, physics and the visual arts. The Bridging Cultures project drew together faculty from Religious Studies, Journalism, Architecture, History, Sociology and Fine Art along with a diverse array of Twin City communities in programming that included public symposia, workshops, an international conference and outreach programming across the state.
    • Example project B: Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War (
      Still Present Pasts brings to the fore the life stories of ordinary Korean Americans' experiences with the Korean War through performance art, documentary film, archival photographs, and installation. Conceived as a multi-media exhibit, it makes the space of remembrance to become generative, whereby participants become ever more cognizant of the shaping power of war memories and still unresolved Cold War geopolitical tensions on the peninsula. This multi-media exhibit was made possible by bringing together Asian American studies scholars and a diverse group of Korean American artists working in the areas of social documentation, visual art, and performance and installation art.
    • Similarly layered concepts and innovative forms for design, the other creative arts, and other humanities, would include opportunities to participate in a meaningful ways (invitation to co-convene symposia, present poster/read paper at conference, demonstrate new work, etc.). Particular emphasis should be placed on projects/conferences that create access and participation across arts, humanities, and design faculty disciplines.
  2. At least one activity should be accessible and broadly appealing.
  3. Ideally, the CfC should describe a potential team of faculty, with one person named in the lead role and others named in the roles of fellows/collaborators. Alternatively, the CfC can identify a lead faculty catalyst and be written to include a call for collaborators to participate in the development of the full proposal.

Application Phase II

Requirements of the full proposal, due Tuesday, February 2, 2015:

  • Cover page stating the purpose of the project(s) and how it will incite cross-departmental, multi-campus, and collaborative work. The committee encourages applicants to demonstrate success in working collaboratively with others, to build on existing work, or begin new work that will benefit from a highly collaborative process.
  • Named Lead person (named chair): salary/stipend of $5000 per year
    • This lead person must be a faculty member (tenured, or tenure-track) from the arts, humanities and/or design fields.
    • Named collaborators/fellows (they may be drawn from large range of disciplines)
  • Curriculum vitae for lead person
  • Scope and schedule of project(s)
  • Budget including potential course-release disbursement. Submitted budgets must use the provided template. Download the budget template now »
  • Signature of the department chair, indicating support for the applicant to assume the Arts, Design, and Humanities Chair role and carry out the proposed project(s)
  • Maps, information graphics, and other visual items are highly encouraged as supporting material for the full application.

Note: Projects that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, engage the community broadly, and take place across campuses will receive the highest ratings.

Direct questions to:
Emily Ronning
Provost’s Office

Funding parameters for the chair position

Applicants will be asked to complete a budget template for the full application only. The details of the budget will be reviewed with the awardee. While there may be flexibility with allocations, the following serves as a guide to the distribution of the $70,000 budget.

Download the budget template now »

  • Discretionary Funding (for chair): for advancing project ($15,000-$25,000 per year). These funds can be used for any program activity support such as: venue fees, hosting expenses, refreshments, marketing support, etc.
  • Course release(s) may be included as expenses (please note that these are the most current Imagine Fund guidelines for course releases): Total of 8 maximum – should be decided and distributed among team members (lead/chair and collaborating team members) at the discretion of the chair. These team members must be UMN faculty, and the majority must be from arts, humanities, and design fields. Distribution of these course releases should adhere to the following guidelines:
    1. The chair may receive a maximum of 4 course releases over the 2-year period (1 per semester)
    2. Supporting team members can also receive 1 release per semester. These releases may be interdisciplinary, with team members coming from more than one department
    3. Course releases should be distributed, when possible, in a manner that strives to include system campuses
    4. There will be no more than 1 course release per person per semester
  • Non-UMN Collaborators (team members/speakers/artists/participants): Additional funding for honoraria, hotel/rental fees, airfare, etc. ($15,000-$25,000 per year)
  • Marketing Support: Coordination with University Relations and use of promotional, graphic design, production services ($5,000)
  • Product Support: These funds will support the production of some concrete outcome from the 2-year project—publication, website, blog, piece of art, etc.—and can be used for graduate student salary, graphic design, print, web support, etc. ($10,000-$15,000)
  • Departmental Support: Although it is expected that departments will provide some in-kind support, there will be some reimbursement from the grant to departments for the time/work of administrative support ($2,000).

Key Dates


AHD Chair Position: Application now open


Annual Faculty Award: Application period begins


Special Events: Round 1 Application Period Begins