Five College Digital Humanities: Call for Project Proposals

(proposals due October 30, 2013; January 30, 2014; April 11, 2014)

With continuing support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Five College Academic Deans are pleased to issue a new call for proposals advancing the use of digital technologies in support of interdisciplinary humanities projects that support student learning and scholarship, including but not limited to course development.

 We will be funding projects in two categories: small projects and start-ups (up to $5000) and larger projects that might unfold over more than one year (up to $50,000). All projects eligible for funding under this call must begin in the calendar year 2013 or 2014.

 Priority in funding will be given to projects that are interdisciplinary in scope, that examine topics in the humanities which have become more important as a result of the digital transformation of culture and scholarship, that develop innovative approaches to student scholarship and learning and that have good potential to transform curricula in ways that persist after the life of the grant.

Project teams should include faculty members, students and librarians or instructional technologists drawn from at least two campuses.  We particularly encourage proposals submitted jointly by faculty members and library or IT specialists.

 Activities may include:

  • Collaborations that explore and/or develop digital resources or projects that support student scholarship in the humanities;
  • Summer travel to support work on digital humanities projects;
  • Training for teams of people interested in conducting humanities research using digital technology;
  • Development and revision of courses that incorporate existing or newly developed digital humanities resources;
  • Short and long-term residencies by visiting humanities scholars or digital humanities practitioners that will enhance (or develop) student scholarship in the Five Colleges in innovative ways;Post-doctoral collaborators;
  • Intensive summer training for undergraduates working on digital humanities projects who could support future student and faculty projects in the Five Colleges; and 
  • Technical support for student research incorporating the digital humanities.

 Because this grant seeks to promote collaborative projects, summer travel and training teams should include a mix of participants (i.e., at least one faculty member plus some combination of participants drawn from library and IT staff and/or the Five College student body).

 Proposal Preparation: For advice or comments at any stage of proposal preparation, including budget issues, contact Nate Therien, Five College Director for Academic Programs ( 413-542-4013 and/or Marisa Parham, Director of Five College Digital Humanities ( 413-542-8551.

 Submittal: Proposals (no more than 5 pages as a single document, formatted as a searchable PDF) should be submitted via email to both and, copied to Marie Muir ( with the following subject line: Five College Digital Humanities Proposal. Proposals that arrive between grant deadlines will be held until the next deadline.

 Proposals must include:

  • a clearly identified project leader,  along with the names and institutions of the proposal’s major authors and other likely collaborators; ideally, the major authors will include at least one faculty member and a librarian or IT specialist;
  • a coherent description of the project, with an outline of the work to be accomplished;
  • a description of the anticipated impact of the project on [teaching or ]student scholarship;
  • a short description of the background/preparation of project participants;
  • project budget and timeline;
  • formal agreement from any librarians or IT staff members who will be involved, and an outline of their responsibilities;
  • formal endorsement from the head of the institution’s IT, Library, or merged organization for the participation of IT and/or Library staff members and the use institutional infrastructure;
  • if a visitor from outside the Five Colleges forms part of the project, please identify the visitor’s home campus and the visitor’s host campus, explain how the visitor will be hosted there, and give plans for connecting any visitor with students and faculty members on multiple campuses.

Proposal preparation guidelines (please consult in advance with Nate Therien on any of these budget matters if they figure in your proposal)

  • There are limits on certain aspects of budgets.  For example,
    • employees of one of the Five Colleges are not eligible for supplemental stipends while they are employed full-time;
    • there are specific guidelines for the amounts of faculty summer stipends based on time commitment;
    • there are particular guidelines on student pay rates; and
    • there are important Five College agreements on the use and compensation of graduate students during the academic year or summer in projects such as these.
  • Course materials and other resources developed under Mellon grant funding must be open source in terms of copyright and intellectual property rights, i.e. made available to others at no cost.
  • Five Colleges is committed to ensuring accessibility of course materials to all students; please describe your consultations with IT staff members and disability support staff members that give you confidence that any course materials to be developed under your proposed project will be accessible, i.e., usable to those with visual, auditory or physical movement challenges. Requesting additional funding, if needed, to make sure materials will be accessible is encouraged.

 Additional opportunities and grant-related events in digital humanities can be found at the Five College Digital Humanities website