LFP National Network Institutions are invited to apply for small grants of $1500 and $3000 to stimulate conversation about church-related higher education and church-related mission on their campuses or among church-related institutions in close proximity to each another. The LFP hopes these grants will extend and strengthen the LFP’s national conversation about church-related higher learning and mission within and among our network campuses. The Small Grant program is designed to fund new programs on network campuses rather than supplement ongoing ones. The current deadline for the submission of applications is September 15 each year. See below for current and recently completed small grant programs.
The Application Process
LFP National Network Institutions are invited to apply for small grants of $1500 and $3000 to stimulate conversation about church-related higher education and church-related mission on their campuses or among church-related institutions in close proximity to each another. The LFP hopes these grants will extend and strengthen the LFP’s national conversation about church-related higher learning and mission within and among our network campuses. The Small Grant program is designed to fund new programs on network campuses rather than supplement ongoing ones.
Proposals must be submitted by LFP campus representatives by September 15 of each year. Activities funded will take place during following academic year.
Examples of programs that might be funded include but are not limited to:
- On-campus reading or discussion groups for faculty or administrators on church-related mission, faith and higher education, faith and the academic vocation, etc.
- Workshops for faculty and administrators on church-related mission or the academic vocation.
- Lectures or a lecture series connected to reading groups or workshops on church-related mission or the academic vocation.
- Discussion groups, workshops, or exchanges of best practices regarding church-related mission or the academic vocation among campuses in close proximity.
- Peer mentoring for administrators or junior, mid-career, or senior faculty.
Funds might be used to secure supplies, to provide faculty incentives, to provide travel, or honoraria for speakers.
Applicants must consult with the Lilly Fellows Program Associate Director prior to submitting the application.
Before applying, please consult the "Guide to Writing Lilly National Network Grant Proposals."
Grant recipients are required to provide a thorough assessment of the program to be submitted in a report to the LFP upon completion of the funded program. Plans for this assessment should be included in the proposal.
Required Application Materials:
- Description of the Program (5 pages), including Executive Summary, Rationale, Connection to the Lilly National Network Mission, Goals of the Project, Project Description, and Evaluation Plan
- Preliminary schedule of events for participants, if applicable
- Projected budget
- CV of the Director
- Application Cover Sheet (available here)
Please include an estimate of how many members of the campus or campuses will be involved, a description of how the program will be structured, monitored, and evaluated, and an indication of the need and support for this program on the host campus (including how the funded activity fits into other related efforts currently on your campus). Proposals for reading groups should include a potential reading list.
Applicants must consult with the Lilly Fellows Program Associate Director prior to submitting the application.
Please submit applications as a PDF attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can mail application materials to:
Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts
1320 Chapel Drive South
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Recently Completed Small Grant Programs
Azusa Pacific University: "Reckoning and Reimagining: Equity, Antiracism, and General Education in a Post-COVID World"
This semester-long project interrogated Azusa Pacific’s General Education curriculum and pedagogy in order to place sufficient focus on equity and justice. An ethnically diverse reading and recommendations group met twice a month via zoom to listen, share, and engage in racially-focused conversations between students, faculty and staff. By first examining the current literature on issues that prevent and prepare institutions to move toward a more ‘Equity-Oriented’ campus culture, discourse grew organically from the student participants’ lived-experiences. Themes emerged from zoom- recorded video meetings and transcribed minutes, which were crystallized into actionable recommendations. These were presented for open dialog beyond the APU community through two roundtable discussions at the APU Lilly Regional Conference: ‘Reckoning and Reimagining... Envisioning a Faithful Presence in the Liberal Arts.’ While integration of equity & justice within GE were the primary focus, the most significant learnings resulted indirectly from these difficult conversations. Firstly, the inequity of ‘invisible labor’ by students and staff of color needs to be remedied. Elevating the need for equity in both success outcomes and sense of belonging for students of color at APU is a priority, but not by expecting these ‘token’ representatives to be the focal point for making this happen. Secondly, in order to sustain the healthy growth of our institution, the need to accelerate the implementation of DEI training at APU has now become more than a moral imperative, but a business imperative. The group-discussion model funded by this LFP small grant provided an engaging, authentic, and repeatable format for the potential of future DEI training, whereby students, faculty, and staff engage together in racially-focused conversations.
Belmont University: "Racial Justice Reading and Discussion Groups"
The goal of the project was to create an opportunity for faculty and staff to take part in book discussion groups exploring the topic of racial injustice and white privilege from a Christian angle of vision. 142 faculty and staff took part in reading groups. The books were: The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism and How to Fight Racism by Jemar Tisby; Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now by Brenda Salter McNeil; Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone; and Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope by Esau McCaulley. Each group was led by an interracial team of two via Zoom. In addition, Belmont brought in both Jemar Tisby and Esau McCaulley to help our wider campus community engage in these important conversations. Several groups came together after the Small Grant Program ended to continue to serve as a space for ongoing anti-racism education and discussion and as support for anti-racism initiatives on campus. Another visible outcome was the creation of a panel, “The Role of Faith and Racial Justice in the Entertainment Industry,” hosted as part of a Diversity in Entertainment Symposium. Other institutions considering a similar program should note the importance of (a) having at least one of the co-leaders be a person of color and (b) using book selections that are both unflinching in their engagement with the issues and unapologetic about drawing on the Christian tradition to advance this important work.
Dordt University: "Rewiring for Diversity"
In the spring of 2021, Dordt University used a Lilly Small Grant to facilitate book groups who read and discussed either Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist (2019) or Jemar Tisby’s How to Fight Racism (2021) with the goal of analyzing our language use and campus practices when it comes to race and diversity. Nine book groups composed of 30 faculty, 8 staff, and 21 students read and discussed the books throughout spring semester, before meeting in large groups to create action steps to improve campus culture for students of color in and outside of the classroom. During the summer of 2021, faculty and staff are meeting to discuss textbook and curriculum changes for the fall to better address topics of diversity and better represent students of color. In July, book group members will lead a campus-wide pedagogy workshop on diversity in the classroom to shape similar choices across many disciplines as part of an ongoing project of “rewiring for diversity” at Dordt University.
East Texas Baptist University: "Connections: Faith in the Classrooms of East Texas Baptist University"
East Texas Baptist University’s small grant program was conceived as a two-part effort to help all faculty members integrate their own faith with their disciplines, equipping them to better model the integration of faith and learning in their classrooms. The first part of the program, described below, was to promote faculty discussion of the challenges and best practices in faith integration. An interdisciplinary committee of four faculty members worked through the spring of 2021 to develop a common vocabulary, described in three scripture-based “anchors,” to facilitate discussion among faculty across campus. Conversations among faculty were promoted in workshops during faculty work week, interdisciplinary reading groups, and small research grants to support a faculty roundtable on faith and learning. The committee was pleased to learn that conversations were continuing in offices, hallways and breakrooms across campus. The dialogue created a common sense of purpose on campus as well as a shared realization that creating meaningful faith integration experiences can be difficult and often requires a significant investment of time and energy on the part of faculty members. The committee assessed the effectiveness of the program primarily through faculty surveys taken from January 2021 to May 2022. Key to the success of the project was a careful assessment of faculty strengths and weaknesses, inviting faculty into ongoing, candid conversation, and a recognition of our students’ diverse needs, experiences, and expectations. Phase two of the plan will emphasize faith integration in the classroom through the creation of several interdisciplinary resource modules based on input from faculty during phase one.
Indiana Wesleyan University: "Towards Pedagogies of Justice & Equity"
In response to a faculty email chain sharing feelings of inadequacy around teaching towards social justice, the grant co-directors created a workshop to engage the issues. Out of a desire to help faculty at our institution own the need to continue growing and out of the hope that a permanent partnership might develop, we designed the session to be held during the same week as our institution’s student-oriented program of courageous conversations. We secured Dr. Willie James Jennings as our facilitator and recruited campus colleagues. Interest in the workshop quickly expanded past our original envisioned capacity. The COVID-19 pandemic restricted our ability to gather in person, so we pivoted to an online format and sought ways to build connection despite social distance. To that end, ahead of the workshop, all participants were asked to read parts of Dr. Jennings’ latest book, After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, a copy of which we delivered to each person’s office as part of a care package. Our session focused on micro-lectures and then discussion with Dr. Jennings as well as small group breakout conversations; we also supplied a to-go lunch. The positive responses to this first workshop prompted our faculty development committee to request a follow-up, which the co-directors also designed and facilitated. This second workshop brought back Dr. Jennings for more conversation on day one, then on day two gave faculty the chance to brainstorm and design new pedagogical interventions. We were able to gather in person for this second workshop, and the co-directors sought to make the most of this opportunity by building extensive time for informal conversation, sharing vocational inspiration and struggles, crowdsourcing pedagogical resources, cross-disciplinary small group visioning, and articulating hopes for future collaboration. We now seek to build a community of practice aimed at equitable pedagogy.
McMurry University: “Christian Citizenship in a Global Context”
Sixteen faculty members from McMurry University participated in a year-long study of Philip Jenkins’ book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. The study was entitled, “Christian Citizenship in a Global Context” and was one component of a campus wide emphasis on Global Christianity. Lilly Fellows Program funds paid for books for each participant and meals accompanying book conversations. Comfortable restaurants with private meeting rooms were chosen for each monthly discussion. The dinnertime setting allowed for an informal, away-from-work, atmosphere that enriched group cohesion. At least three areas of growth can be identified as a result of the program. First, participants raised their awareness of Christianity around the globe. In particular, Jenkins’ book analyzed the numerical decline in Western Christianity in contrast to bourgeoning growth in the Global South, especially on the continents of Africa and South America. Although raised awareness does not equal citizenship, this raised awareness provided insights to help one to grow in Christian citizenship. One needs to know about the world in which one is a citizen in order to be a good citizen. Second, the study developed rapport across academic silos. The sixteen participants represented eleven departments across the University from Astronomy/Physics to Religion, to Communications to Business and more. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is a biologist, also participated. Casual acquaintances developed into friendships. Third, silos were not simply transcended personally, but also academically. “Cross pollination” developed across disciplines. One result was the nascent program entitled “Faith and ‘?’” Two courses in the works are “Faith and Mental Health,” an interdisciplinary course between professors Religion and Psychology and “Faith and Science,” an interdisciplinary course connecting the departments of Religion and Physics. We whole-heartedly recommend this kind of faculty book study to other institutions. As indicated above, rewards include yet transcend the content of the chosen volume.
McMurry University: “Coptic Christians and Islam: Interfaith Encounter in a Majority Muslim Society”
The program funded lectures by Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the McMurry University campus on February 7-8, 2022. The publicized title for the program was “Coptic-Muslim Interactions Across the Centuries: Lectures on Christian-Muslim Relations in Egypt.” Bishop Suriel’s three lectures were entitled: “Copts and Muslims: From Early Islam to the Ottoman Period”; “Copts and Muslims in the Early Nationalist Movement (1879-1919)”; and “Cooperation or Co-existence?: Modern “Developments in the 20th and 21st Centuries Between Copts and Muslims.” While on campus primarily for the lectures, Bishop Suriel also visited with McMurry honors students at a luncheon and spoke with Religion students in a Global Christianity course. In addition, he visited with McMurry faculty members in Religion and Philosophy during one lunch and two dinners. Both the formal lectures and informal conversations enriched the understanding of faculty, administrators, and students concerning the dynamics faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ongoing importance of interfaith dialogue toward the end of social harmony.
Northwest Nazarene University: "Building Bridges between Professional Programs and the Liberal Arts at a Comprehensive Christian University"
Our goal was to increase community and understanding between the liberal arts faculty and professional program faculty at our university, so as better to serve the NNU mission of transformation of the whole person and preparation of students to be God’s creative and redemptive agents in the world. Nine faculty members, representing four different liberal arts departments and five professional programs, met to develop a mutual understanding of liberal arts education through readings including Arthur Holmes’ Idea of a Christian College, William M. Sullivan’s The Power of Integrated Learning, and shorter works by Stephanie Schlachter, Samuel Wells, and Greg Weight. Next, participants paired off to visit each other’s classrooms, with a liberal arts and a professional program faculty member in each pair; the pairs, and then the full group, followed up by discussing common ground we share as well as distinct gifts of our disciplines and ideas for collaboration. After that, group members brought ideas from our discussion to our respective departments, returning with department ideas to the group. We concluded by recommending next steps for the university to take to build further good will and collaboration across the liberal arts / professional program divide. These steps might include training for all faculty in how to explain the value of our core liberal arts curriculum to parents and prospective students; increased team teaching; a competition for a course release for a faculty member to take a course in another department; and establishing a common break space on campus for faculty to facilitate informal conversation.
Sacred Heart University: "Workshops on Racial Justice"
Sacred Heart University offered eight faculty development workshops on racial justice and Catholic higher education. Three workshops were offered for the Catholic Studies Faculty who teach The Human Journey Seminars: Great Books in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; five workshops were offered for faculty across the University. A total of 76 faculty participated in the faculty development workshops. Teaching About Race and Racism in the College Classroom: Notes From a White Professor by Cyndi Kernahan was used in all the workshops as a pedagogical guide as well as several other articles on Catholicism and racial justice. In addition, Dr. Andrew Prevot, Reginald Harris, and Dr. M. Shawn Copeland came to speak at campus on related topics.
Saint Louis University: "Experiencing SLU’s Mission through Ignatian Service: A Project Based, Collaborative Exercise"
Saint Louis University delivered six Lilly workshops to discuss how the new Ignatian Service Minor might provide “a project based, collaborative exercise” that could facilitate communication, coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders involved in service-learning throughout the university. Framed by the Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences, twelve different presenters (two per workshop) led discussions on how SLU might fulfill its Mission by better coordinating existing community outreach programs into a networked (both within and outside SLU) K-12 educational pathway. Focusing on the theme of Ignatian (reflection) Service (action) participants considered how SLU might collectively: (1) discern ways to God through coordinated teaching-research-service efforts; (2) walk with the poor of STL via a community-based-program that fosters reconciliation and justice; (3) accompany SLU and STL students together toward a hope-filled future where all students can thrive; and (4) collaborate with SLU colleagues and STL community partners in the care of our common home: Saint Louis. The goals of the workshops were twofold: (1) catalyze conversations that help coordinate SLU
faculty and resources toward the establishment of a networked K-12 after school program in under-resourced schools in Saint Louis City that (2) provides a program-based context for reflecting about SLU’s Mission, Identity and Diversity within the wider context of Saint Louis.
Saint Louis University: "Ferguson, the Clock Tower Accords, and Beyond: Teaching Racial Justice in St. Louis”
In order to build on the momentum within the Department of Theological Studies (DTS) at Saint Louis University (SLU) following the publication of a joint statement on racial injustice (July 2020), the department applied for funding from the LFP Small Grant Program to help us implement the concrete commitments identified in that statement: (1) to teach antiracism by integrating the experiences of African Americans into our program development, (2) to analyze the systems and structures of white supremacy in American culture, law, and religion, and (3) to integrate the contributions of Black theology throughout our curriculum. DTS coordinated its efforts with other units at the university. These programs shared resources and worked together in implementing several distinct but interrelated programs open to all members of the university community. DTS’s main contribution—aside from the ongoing work of the Ignatian Service Minor, the Law, Religion, and Politics Minor, and the Religion and Complex Social Issues committee—was to host a series of workshops at SLU facilitated by Fr. Bryan Massingale, the James and Nancy Buckman Chair in Applied Christian Ethics in the Department of Theology at Fordham University, focused on integrating antiracism education into the Catholic social justice tradition to help meet the challenges of twenty-first-century higher education.
Saint Xavier University: “Exploring the Mercy Mission”
Spread over four half-days, “Exploring the Mercy Mission” is a seminar that provides a history of the Sisters of Mercy, beginning with the life and times of Catherine McAuley and the historical, political, social, and economic framework that prompted the founding of the Sisters of Mercy. The history continues with the work of the Sisters of Mercy beginning in the United States under the leadership of Frances Xavier Warde. Special attention is paid to the Sisters’ work in education and healthcare as the Sisters of Mercy take an additional vow to care for the poor, the sick, and the uneducated. Then the program turns to Mercy spirituality, the current work of the Sisters in social justice matters, concluding with reflection upon participants’ calling as Mercy educators and how they carry the mission of Mercy forward. Participants are faculty and staff in institutions founded by the Sisters of Mercy.
Salve Regina University: "Mercy Faculty Dialogues"
Through the support of the Lilly Fellows Small Program Grant, Salve launched the Mercy Faculty
Forum. The Mercy Faculty Forum is a four-part mission integration series for new full-time
faculty (tenure stream and lecturers) to engage with readings and resources from the Mercy,
Catholic tradition and reflect together on their vocations as teaching-scholars in the landscape of
Mercy Higher Education. Eighteen new faculty participated in the Mercy Faculty Forum in two
cohorts over two years and seventeen faculty are scheduled to participate in year three. In a
survey of the first and second cohorts, 100% of responders strongly agreed or agreed that they
made significant gains in connection with Salve Regina’s Mercy Catholic mission, the Catholic
Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Social Teaching, the heritage and tradition of Catherine
McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Critical Concerns of Mercy.
Samford University: "Fostering Awareness and Dialogue on Racial Justice in Higher Education"
The project focused faculty and staff attention to the critical need to attend to the perceptions and expectations of the university’s minority students. The impetus for the project was a small study conducted with the University’s African American nursing students who represented 10% of the undergraduate nursing student body. The students in the study reported that some interactions and behaviors of faculty and fellow students were contributors to increased stress and the perception that minority students were not welcome at the university. Study participants reported that these stressful feelings and resultant impact on their ability to concentrate on their studies played a role in whether or not they would be successful in their academic programs. The project included the purchase of a book on race in America that was distributed to all nursing faculty and staff. Faculty and staff were encouraged to read the book and to attend scheduled book discussion sessions. Three book discussion groups were held with facilitators from the university’s Office of Diversity & Intercultural Initiatives. Discussions included attendees’ reflections on, and recognition of, unconscious bias in conversations and behaviors. The value of intentional efforts to relate teaching/learning activities to the diversity of the student body was addressed. Results of the project suggest that faculty and staff participation in the book discussion groups raised awareness of the impact that unconscious behaviors may have on student success. Participants reported plans to pay closer attention to their actions and words and to be more cognizant of how they approach all students.
Seton Hall University: “Faculty Workshop on Servant Leadership and Anti-Racist Pedagogy”
This was a virtual workshop that took place over the course of two days. The workshop leader was Prof. Angela Kotsonis, a trained Narrative 4 story exchange facilitator and former faculty member at Seton Hall. The participants included 9 students who were recommended by faculty members for their interest in diversity and inclusion issues, and 14 faculty members who had all completed the university’s semester-long Faculty Seminar on Teaching for Diversity and Inclusion. Ultimately, the faculty participants were guided in the development of their own “anti-racist educator ethos.”
University of Dayton: "Catholic and Anti-Racist?: A Summer Faculty Cohort to Produce Materials for Faculty Formation at the University of Dayton"
A multidisciplinary cohort of faculty at the University of Dayton received funding to support work during the summer of 2021 on some aspect of being both a Catholic and anti-racist institution. Proposals were invited from across the university, with the aim of promoting a faculty culture in which the University’s Catholic identity refers not to protecting the Catholic “brand” from criticism but to advancing faithfulness to the tradition through the best intellectual and moral work we can offer. Three very diverse projects were funded, one focused on changing institutional responses to bias incidents, one developing new curricular materials, and one considering the potential of public art on campus. Each project recruited suitable partners from among those most familiar with the challenge at hand. The leads on each project formed a cohort which met monthly to develop greater capacity to engage Catholic and Marianist traditions and to learn about diverse experiences of racism at the University of Dayton. That cohort, while committed to enacting structural change and making progress on their particular projects, also became concerned with the importance of interior work. They wanted to ensure that structural changes were not merely another way to escape the deep transformation needed. They discovered in the Marianist discipline of “the five silences” a structure to support the necessary self-work. That discipline was accessible to everyone involved and seems a particularly fruitful avenue for future work.
University of Pikeville: "Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences at UPIKE"
We designed the program as part of our inclusive excellence initiative in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). The program adopted a workshop model focusing on the implicit biases that get in the way of our students’ learning and success, with a special focus on our students of color. All CAS instructors received an open invitation in October 2020 to apply. The program involved two virtual workshops, one in early December 2020 and a follow-up workshop in January 2021. Before each workshop, participants submitted their goals (December) and the concrete changes they made to reach them (January) related to creating more inclusive classroom environments. A consultant, Dr. Andrea Abrams from Centre College, guided both workshops, shared materials, and worked one-on-one with instructors over the duration of the program.
University of Pikeville: "Developing Empathy & Ethics in Global Health Initiative"
The University of Pikeville is committed to strong cross-college and interdisciplinary engagement. Conversations and planning among representative faculty and staff from the Osteopathic Medical School, the Optometry School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the local community will produce a truly collaborative and interdisciplinary program that embraces the importance of empathy and ethics in medical work through the development of a Global Health Minor. As Division Chair for the Humanities, I am most invested in the integral part that our programs will play in the creation of this program. To that end, we funded an invited speaker who offered us perspectives on cultivating empathy. We also arranged monthly faculty discussion groups to engage resources and ideas on the need for empathy and ethics in medical training. Humanities inspired courses play an integral role in this educational training and preparation. To be effective health workers, students need to think critically, demonstrate empathy, collaborate with diverse groups, and apply ethical frameworks to decision-making. Through this grant, the Humanities division was able to make a much-needed contribution to the academic program and to the students it will graduate.
Westmont College: “Looking Back/Looking Forward: Images for Worship and Devotion”
This project was designed to open up conceptual space in the Westmont community to consider an existing image of Jesus and envision possible alternatives. The existing image--the only representation of Jesus on our campus--was in a small but focal stained-glass window in our prayer chapel. The chapel was built in 1961 as a memorial to the 18-year-old daughter of the college president who was killed in a car crash near campus. Increasingly, members of the campus community were bothered by the way in which Jesus was represented as very white and could easily be read as nationalist (the figure is standing on a map of North America). In March of 2020, the President decided to remove the window. The LB/LF project was designed to invite students, and eventually the larger college community, into a discussion of what new images for that space might look like. The goal was multiple image ideas, resulting in multiple images to be rotated through that space in the future. We convened four study groups during the Fall 2020 semester. Each group had two faculty guides and hosted up to eight student participants. Each group had a different theme chosen to locate their discussion in an aspect of the world-wide church. Early spring, the project director took the ideas generated by the four study groups to the steering committee. The steering committee, in collaboration with the college designer, mocked-up one image idea from each group as a focus for wider conversation. They hosted two sessions, one with the study group members, and one with interested members of the wider community, to talk through the results. The conversations were rich, informative and productive. In collaboration with the art department, the project director will identify alumni artists to flesh out these ideas more thoroughly and artistically. A number of images will be printed on acrylic and, accompanied by an informative booklet, be used as devotional foci in Voskuyl Chapel. The former window will be moved to the vestibule of the chapel, where it will join other memorial objects from the early days of the chapel’s existence.
Read more about previous small grants programs here.