Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award

The Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award supports tenure-track faculty who have passed their midpoint review. The award is structured to free the time of junior faculty who have passed their midpoint tenure review—including those from underrepresented groups and others committed to eradicating disparities in their fields—so that they can both engage in and build support systems, networks, and affinity groups that make their fields and campuses more inclusive. Eligible applicants must have passed their third-year review or their institution’s equivalent. 

Applications now closed.

The Program

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 $17,500 stipend—$10,000 to be used for summer research support and $7,500 for research assistance during the academic year. Ten awards will be made in 2021-22. 

Important Dates

Notification of Status (Finalist & Non-Finalist)
March 2022

Fellows Notified
April 2022

Term of the award
This award is given in two installments: $10,000 for summer, paid in June 2022 and $7,500 for the school year, paid in September 2022.

Eligibility & Selection

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, 2022. 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 2023). 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, 2021 (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. 


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. Ten Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Awards will be made in 2021-22. 

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 2022, with awards announced in early April 2022. 

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. 


2021 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders

Mike Amezcua  •  Georgetown University, history
Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification

Philis M. Barragán Goetz  •  Texas A&M University–San Antonio, history
The Borderlands of Inclusivity: Jovita González and the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

Andrés Castro Samayoa  •  Boston College, educational leadership & higher education
Minority Serving Institutions: Administering Ethnoracial Identities and Education’s Common Good

Charity Clay  •  Xavier University of Louisiana, sociology and African American and diaspora studies
Le Triangle Noir: Lasting Impact of the French Colonial Empire on Port Cities of the African Diaspora

Amira Rose Davis  •  Pennsylvania State University, history
Can’t Eat a Medal: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow

Vivian L. Huang  •  Williams College, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Surface Relations: Queer Forms of Asian American Inscrutability

Gema Kloppe-Santamaria  •  Loyola University Chicago, history
In the Vortex of Violence: Lynching, Extralegal Justice and the State in Post-Revolutionary Mexico

Ana Muniz  •  University of California-Irvine criminology, law & society
Borderland Circuitry: Immigration Surveillance in the United States and Beyond

Allison Page  •  Old Dominion University, communication and theatre arts; Institute for the Humanities
The Affective Life of Slavery: Race, Media, and Governance

Kyler Sherman-Wilkins  •  Missouri State University, sociology
Social Determinants of Cognitive Functioning Among Diverse Older Adults in the United States

Elena Shih  •  Brown University, American studies
Manufacturing Freedom: Trafficking Rescue, Rehabilitation, and the Slave Free Good

Application Information

A complete application for the Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award Program consists of these required components: 

  •  A submitted online application 
  •  Two (2) letters of recommendation from senior colleagues that speak to the applicant’s scholarly promise as well, to her/his demonstrated affinity for teaching and advising, and to her/his commitment to service and inclusion. These letters will be requested through the online application portal. 
  • • A single PDF file of supplemental materials in the order listed below. Label the PDF as follows: “LastNameFirstName_MEFL_Supplemental” with no spaces. 
  •  A curriculum vitæ 
  •  An essay describing the applicant’s research/publication plan and career objectives (maximum of 750 words) 
  •  An essay describing the applicant’s commitment(s) to service and ways in which such service contributes to building a more inclusive community on campus and/or in the profession (maximum of 750 words) 
  •  Abstract of a current manuscript, conference paper, or article, along with a brief explanation of the relationship of this work to the tenure portfolio 
  •  A simple budget developed using this template. 
  •  List of courses developed since the start of the tenure-track appointment in the current institution, as well as sample syllabi for two courses of the applicant’s choosing 
  •  List of advising assignments 
  •  List of department- or university-level service assignments. 
  • Note: Please prepare these materials in 12-point Times New Roman font. Please combine these into one PDF—you will be submitting one file. 
  •  Please note that recommendation letters and supplemental items must be received PRIOR to submitting the application. Submit the application when complete, using the submit button at the left-hand side of the application. If you have missed any required fields, you will receive an error message.  Click on the item(s) listed within parentheses and you will be taken directly to the missed field.  Once all required fields have been completed, click on the submit button. 
  • Citizens & Scholars uses an online application portal which requires an account. There is no fee to apply. If you bookmark the portal, you can log in any time to make changes. 
  • Once you’ve created an account, the online application includes basic personal and professional information, prompts to request your letters of recommendation, and an area to upload your supplemental items. As you navigate through the different sections of the application, please be sure to click the “Save and Next” button. The left side of the screen enables you to jump to the different sections. 
  • • To register your recommenders in the online application, navigate to the “Recommenders” section. 
  • • After entering your recommender’s name, email address, and type, please click “send invitation.” 
  • • At least one of your letters of recommendation must come from a more senior faculty member at your institution, ideally your chair, who can speak to your progress toward tenure. If you wish to include letters from colleagues at other institutions, you may do so; however, please make sure that they are colleagues who are familiar with your current work and can speak about it with good knowledge of it, as opposed to advisors who are more familiar with your previous work (such as dissertation advisors who have not recently engaged with your work). 
  • • It is suggested that you contact each recommender and specify the due date and information needed to be provided from the above instructions. You will not be able to submit your application until recommendation letters have been received. Once you have started the process, your recommenders will receive an email requesting they submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. They have the option to accept or decline this request.  Recommenders who accept the request will be taken to an online form where they will enter some information before uploading and submitting their recommendation letter.  If a recommender declines your request to provide a recommendation, you will be notified by email.  If you receive a “decline” notification, you will need to return to your account page to request a new recommendation from a different recommender.  You can also change a recommender by clicking on “cancel/trash can” and then enter new contact information. You can also resend a request to one of your recommenders, if necessary. 

Please note: 

  • Once again, the deadline for all components of the application is December 1, 2021 at 5 pm EST. It is strongly recommended that all components be submitted at least one day prior to the application deadline, to ensure the documents have been received. 
  • You will be able to log in and return at any time to your account to edit your personal information, change your password, start and/or complete your application, and verify receipt of supplemental items. 
  • Candidates for this program should have a year or more to build the dossier before going up for tenure. For candidates who are already closer than this to a tenure decision, the award will have a less significant impact.