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Grant and Development Opportunities in Interdisciplinary Rhetorical Studies

Workshop Leader:

J. Michael Hogan, Penn State University

As political and institutional support for the humanities has declined, rhetorical scholars have been called upon to defend their programs and to pursue external resources in support of their research and teaching. While some programs have withered and declined in this new environment, others have thrived by building interdisciplinary coalitions, demonstrating the relevance of rhetorical scholarship to pressing political and social problems, and revising their curriculum. Others have demonstrated their relevance through public scholarship and outreach. All of these efforts require that we “make the case” for rhetoric to audiences outside the discipline—university administrators, colleagues in other disciplines, funding agencies, alumni donors, and the public at large.

This hands-on workshop is designed to help scholars at all stages of their careers do just that—make the case for rhetoric. From graduate students seeking funding for their dissertation projects to senior faculty working on large grants or strategic plans, participants will learn strategies and techniques for writing more compelling grant, development, or program proposals.

We will begin by reviewing the basics of grant-writing, including how to identify potential funding sources and the essential elements of a good grant proposal. We also will examine successful proposals for both individual and large-scale projects, as well as proposals for different sorts of projects, including teaching and curriculum development, individual and team-based research projects, and public scholarship and outreach initiatives. We will reflect on how private foundations differ from government agencies as funding sources, and we will learn how to prepare successful proposals, including timetables, budgets, and work plans. We will then turn to philanthropic giving, reflecting on the sorts of projects donors like to support, techniques for cultivating those donors, and best practices in the stewardship of charitable gifts. Finally, we will reflect on institutional structures that support interdisciplinary rhetorical studies, including departmental configurations, centers and institutes, and scholarly and professional associations. By the end of the workshop, participants will be better equipped to seek support for their own research, teaching, and outreach initiatives. They also will have a better understanding of the institutional politics underlying successful rhetoric programs.    

Readings for the seminar will come from the newest edition of the classic handbook for grant writers, Getting Funded: The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals. We also will read successful grant proposals from several different NEH programs, ranging from large challenge and curriculum development grants to small awards in support of teachers’ workshops and individual book projects. We will contrast those with proposals written for private foundations, and we will reflect on various philanthropic funding-raising appeals and plans for institutional initiatives, including proposals to establish rhetoric centers and institutes. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop any grant or program proposals they may have in the works, and as a group we will brainstorm promising new ideas for promoting interdisciplinary rhetorical studies.

Questions should be directed to J. Michael Hogan, jmh32@psu.edu


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