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March 27, 2006



From the Office of Student Services

Ken Brill, Carmen Hoppenjan, Lanese Aggrey and Evelyn Campbell gave a presentation at the ACPA (American College Personnel Association) national convention last week. The title is "Student Affairs: Enhancing Faculty Goals" and describes the process we have undertaken to provide support for the learning outcomes embedded in the curriculum, the Center for Vocational Reflection and the National Survey of Student Engagement. In addition, they provide examples of how we have used our environment; specifically residence halls, student employment, student groups, programming and our relationships with students to motivate academic preparedness.


Announcing the American Graduate Fellowships

The Council of Independent Colleges is pleased to announce the American Graduate Fellowships, a new initiative to promote and support advanced study in the humanities by talented graduates of small and mid-sized, private liberal arts colleges and universities. Two fellowships, worth up to $50,000 each and renewable for a second year, will be awarded annually for a period of five years. The first awards will be made in January 2007 for graduate study beginning in Fall 2007.


Background: Today, as in the past, the best graduates of small liberal arts colleges possess the education and ability to excel in the doctoral programs that train tomorrow’s leading scholars. A generation ago, these institutions prepared a disproportionate share of the country’s professional scholars and scientists. Recent evidence suggests, however, that new funding and recruitment patterns in graduate education have acted to reduce the diversity of entering doctoral cohorts—at least when it comes to the graduates of smaller baccalaureate institutions that may lack national reputations. Graduate students in the humanities are increasingly drawn from a small group of Ivy League institutions, “flagship” state universities, and highly selective, generously endowed “research colleges.”


The American Graduate Fellowships are intended to: directly support the advanced education of a few stellar graduates of small colleges; encourage the best students at small colleges to apply for graduate work in the humanities at top-tier private research institutions; and signal to the leading graduate programs that small colleges remain a rich source of talented doctoral students.


Who can apply: Applicants for the American Graduate Fellowships must be graduating seniors or recent graduates (that is, within the past 12 months, excluding not more than 36 continuous months of active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces) of an eligible undergraduate institution. They must intend to enter a doctoral program in one of the eligible fields of study during the subsequent academic year. Eligible undergraduate institutions include all private colleges and universities in the following Carnegie Classifications: BA-Liberal Arts, BA-General, MA-I, and MA-II. Colleges that enroll fewer than 3,000 undergraduates will be given preference in the selection process. All applicants must be citizens of the United States. CIC will not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, race, color, ethnicity, creed, physical disability, sexual orientation, or national origin in the selection of American Graduate Fellows.


Eligible fields of study: The eligible fields of graduate study are history, philosophy, literature and languages (including classics but excluding linguistics), and fine arts (excluding archaeology and the performing or studio arts). Interdisciplinary graduate programs that incorporate one or more of these fields—such as American studies or the history of science—may also be eligible, although students should check with CIC before submitting a fellowship application. Fellowship recipients must enroll as candidates for the PhD or DPhil or enter into graduate programs where the doctorate is the expected terminal degree.


Eligible graduate institutions: American Graduate Fellowships may be used to support doctoral study at any of the 23 institutions listed below, which represent many of the finest independent research universities in the English-speaking world:


In the United States:
Brown University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Duke University
Emory University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
New York University
Northwestern University
Princeton University
Rice University
Stanford University
University of Chicago
University of Pennsylvania
Washington University in St. Louis
Yale University


In Great Britain and Ireland:
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
King’s College London
University College London
University of Edinburgh
Trinity College Dublin


The awards: Up to $50,000 for each American Graduate Fellow during his or her initial year of graduate study, including tuition, fees, and a stipend for living expenses and research costs. Fellows attending universities in Great Britain or Ireland may also apply a portion of their awards to international travel. All awards will be paid directly to the graduate institutions, with the exception of travel support for students attending foreign universities. Fellowships will normally be renewable for a second academic year (in the same field of study at the same institution), on the condition of satisfactory performance during the first year. CIC expects to make two awards each year, beginning in January 2007 for graduate enrollments in Fall 2007.


The application and selection process: Application forms will be available from the American Graduate Fellowships website,, starting April 15, 2006. The deadline for receiving applications is October 17, 2006.


Complete applications will include:

  • An application form with biographical and contact information
  • A brief statement (500-1,000 words) about the applicant’s plans for graduate study, including the proposed program(s) and institution(s) at which the fellowship would be used
  • An original essay of no more than 1,250 words on a set topic designed to demonstrate the applicant’s aptitude for scholarly work at the graduate level
  • A list of the graduate programs to which the applicant has applied (or intends to apply)
  • GRE scores
  • College transcript(s)
  • Letters of support from two faculty members in the proposed field of graduate study
  • A recommendation from the chief academic officer (or other academic dean) at the applicant’s current undergraduate institution, addressing his or her intellectual growth and achievements while in college. Applications that lack a recommendation from a senior academic administrator will not be considered. Institutions may endorse more than one applicant.

Applications will be reviewed by an expert panel of distinguished humanities scholars from the eligible fields of study. This panel will recommend the top candidates. Finalists will be selected by mid-January 2007. Graduate programs with pending applications from these students will be notified immediately. CIC will also notify the graduate deans at the eligible institutions and their counterparts at other leading research universities, commending the finalists and explaining the high degree of selectivity for the American Graduate Fellowships.


In the event that a designated Fellowship winner is not accepted into an eligible graduate program (or chooses not to enroll in an eligible graduate program), the Fellowship will be offered to another finalist. Awards may not be deferred except under extraordinary circumstances and at the sole discretion of CIC. Fellowship winners and other finalists will be publicly recognized in Spring 2007.


About the donor: The American Graduate Fellowships are funded by a generous grant from the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Wichita Falls, Texas.


What you can do to help:

  • Identify the staff and faculty members at your own college who should know about the American Graduate Fellowships. These include department and division chairs in the humanities, faculty advisors in the eligible fields, and student advising offices or other offices that provide information about scholarship opportunities to your students.
  • Promote the American Graduate Fellowships among your own students, colleagues, and faculty members.
  • Designate a member of your administration to oversee the recommendation process for fellowship applications.
  • Provide suggestions about ways to promote this program nationwide.

If you have any questions or comments about the American Graduate Fellowships, please contact me directly at (202) 466-7230 or by email at Questions can also be directed to CIC senior advisor Philip M. Katz at (202) 466-7230, ext. 221, or by email at Details about the program are also available at

Sincerely yours,

Richard Ekman
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 320
Washington, DC 20036
Fax 202-466-7238