The Award & Eligibility

The Fellowship Award

The Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars.

The Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award offers a $20,000 stipend—$12,000 to be used for summer research support and $8,000 for research assistance during the academic year. Ten awards were made in 2023-24. 


Eligibility & Selection Criteria


  • Applicants eligible for the Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award will be assistant professors in tenure-track appointments who are pursuing tenure.
  • They will have successfully passed the standard third-year/midpoint review or their institution’s equivalent no later than January 31, 2024.
  • Eligible applicants are typically in the fourth or fifth year of the tenure-track appointment and are still working to complete key items for the tenure dossier, which should not be scheduled for submission prior to the end of the award year (Summer 2025).
  • Please note that the award seeks to support progress toward tenure for scholars who are also meaningfully engaged in building campus community; therefore, applicants who are already effectively in a position to go up for tenure—for instance, those who have already submitted the dossier and/or who would be considered for tenure during the award year—will be ineligible.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States as of December 1, 2023 (please include a copy of your green card with your application supplemental items if a permanent resident).

Please note: Candidates who have received the Career Enhancement Fellowship are not eligible to apply to the MEFL program.

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Along with the research portfolio, selectors will examine evidence of deep campus service and mentoring commitments early in each candidate’s career, with a focus on creating inclusive scholarly communities on campus and in the discipline.

All applications will first be screened for eligibility by Foundation staff and then be reviewed by a four-member selection panel.

A group of finalists will be invited for interviews, and panelists will make the final selection of ten Fellows. Interviews will take place in mid-March 2023, with awards announced in early April 2023.

Fields Supported

Emerging Faculty Leaders may be working in any field of the humanities or social sciences—including, for example, history, sociology, anthropology, literature, art, gender studies, ethnic/diaspora studies, and related fields—with an emphasis on scholarly topics that relate to or provide context for the study of culture, equity, inclusion, civil rights, and education in the Americas. Examples might include (but are certainly not limited to) changing perspectives on civil rights; legal, social, and organizational responses to social change (such as affirmative action or community organizing); women in leadership; intersectionality within larger social movements; social justice issues in education; historic precursors of contemporary constructions of race and ethnicity; and the evolution of social institutions and movements in the 20th and 21st century.

The Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award will recognize junior faculty candidates who not only balance research, teaching, and service but in fact give great weight to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars. The selectors will focus on and privilege service and leadership activities that address and ameliorate underrepresentation on campus, and give preference to candidates who embody a high standard of excellence.

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