Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities

Call for Proposals: Imagining Iowa Public Scholarship Grants


As part of the Imagining America public scholarship initiative, the Center is launching an exploration for "Imagining Iowa," focusing on the current public interest in biorenewable fuels in the state and the greater Midwest.


This CEAH/LAS call for proposals encourages scholarly activity that focuses on "Imagining Iowa" in the emerging bioeconomy, which features scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners.

October deadline for preliminary proposals TBA
February deadline for full proposals TBA


Iowa faces major changes as land devoted to growing crops for animal feed and human food is redirected to growing crops for energy production. Dozens of Iowa towns have already become sites for ethanol and bio-diesel plants, generating excitement about the possibilities of revitalizing struggling rural economies. At the same time, Iowans are concerned about potential negative impacts on their families and communities, land and water use, the cost of food, the cost of maintaining roads, and effects on the global food market. ISU scientists and engineers are already involved in the bio-economy; however, there is a need for faculty in the arts, design, and humanities to collaborate with the social sciences to explore, with Iowa citizens, the aesthetic, environmental, ethical, historical, and social implications of this change.

To encourage scholarly activity that focuses on "Imagining Iowa" in the emerging bio-economy, the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have joined together to provide a seed grant program for public scholarship. By public scholarship, we mean scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners; intellectual work that produces a public good; or artistic, critical and historical work that contributes to public debates. This grant will supply one interdisciplinary faculty group up to $15,000 in support to engage this topic.


All tenured or tenure-track ISU faculty (as well as P&S staff classification P17 or above) are eligible to apply.

State funds are used to support this program, so faculty members who wish to apply for the salary award option and have other salary commitments for 2008 (teaching or administrative) should contact the Center regarding their eligibility.

B-base faculty who are teaching during the summer may apply for the salary option, but only if their payment for teaching does not exceed one-ninth of their current academic salary. That is, a faculty member may receive no more than two months salary from summer teaching and/or research activities.

A-base faculty are eligible to apply for salary support if the buy-out is approved at the department and college levels.

Faculty members who wish to apply for the salary award option and who will receive salary support in June from another administrative unit may not be eligible for the full fellowship award. Please contact the Center staff if you have questions about your eligibility.


The funds can be used for:
  • faculty salaries (summer and course buyouts, beginning fiscal year 2009);
  • graduate student stipends;
  • travel;
  • supplies;
  • and equipment that will directly support the work

  • Proposal evaluators will consider:

  • the quality of the proposal;
  • the amount of interdisciplinary collaboration envisioned among humanists, social scientists, and the public;
  • and plans to disseminate the results to the people of Iowa

    Award Info

    Small development grants (up to $150) will be awarded to individuals or groups invited to submit a full proposal. This funding may assist in the facilitation of meetings, completing the proposal applications, and making copies for submission.

    Projects selected for funding in March 2008:
    Course buyouts available for fiscal year 2009 (July 08-June 09); summer salary available for July 09


    The proposal process will be in two steps:

    Small development grants (up to $150) will be awarded to individuals or groups that apply with an initial idea by October TBA. The application will be a single sheet providing a title and a two-sentence description of the project along with a list of proposed faculty that might be interested.

    The full proposal will be due February TBA and will include in three or fewer pages a description of the project, the participants and their roles, and a vision for the public scholarship that will be incorporated. An additional page will summarize the proposed budget. Please include letters of transmission from department chairs.


  • artwork

    2008-2009 Award Recipients

    Clockwise from top left:
    Jean Goodwin, Associate Professor, Speech Communication
    Carl Herndl, Professor, Rhetoric and Professional Communication
    Lee Honeycutt, Associate Professor, Rhetoric and Professional Communication
    Greg Wilson, Assistant Professor, Rhetoric and Professional Communication

    Improving Communication and Cooperation between Diverse Stakeholders: Mapping the Rhetorical Terrain of the Bioeconomy.

    In this public scholarship pilot study, this group of Iowa State rhetoricians identify the diverse ways that producers, technical experts, industry leaders, policymakers, and community members frame their decisions in considering sustainable biofuels development. In doing so, they determine how knowledge travels across distances (intellectual, disciplinary, and cultural) and bridges differences (of preconception, values, and discursive forms) when these very different groups communicate with each other as they must, if we are to re-imagine and achieve a new vision of agriculture in Iowa. This group will, in short, be mapping the rhetorical terrain of the new bioeconomy. Results will help Iowa State Extension improve outreach communication and develop strategies that agricultural communicators can adopt to bridge differences and promote sound decision making.