Humanities Research Lab

The Humanities Research Institute (HRI) and the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) seek applications for a Humanities Research Lab (HRL) course to be taught in spring semester 2025. The purpose of the HRL course model is to provide support for tenure-line faculty in the humanities or related fields who wish to take an existing undergraduate course and re-fashion it as a local community-based research experience.

Existing courses in the humanities or related fields which are offered at the 100, 200, or 300 level are eligible for the HRL program. The expectation is that the course will be in-person, public health and university protocols allowing.

The specific forms the HRL version of the course might take are dependent on the course, the department, and the instructor. At the same time, the HRL model prioritizes syllabus design and pedagogical approaches that are rooted in collaborative partnership with community organizations or leaders and that aim to serve the needs of those partners. The successful HRL applicant will spend the fall 2024 semester working with HRI and OUR to learn more about these methods, meet campus colleagues who do this kind of community-based teaching and learning, and develop their spring 2025 syllabus in consultation with these principles in mind. Typically, students present their community-based research at an HRL showcase event that takes place during Undergraduate Research Week, near the close of the spring semester.

The HRL is both a community-based curricular transformation project and a faculty development opportunity. Our hope is that instructors will bring their research and teaching expertise to a new setting for teaching and learning and that they will be open, in turn, to thinking about new ways of approaching research and teaching as they are unfolding in the humanities now. Given the turn toward recognition of collaborative, publicly engaged and inclusive research and pedagogy set forth in Communication 9, which governs tenure and promotion, we hope that the HRL experience will provide support for faculty seeking to engage these practices in an undergraduate classroom setting.

The Humanities Research Lab program is made possible by the generosity of donor Elizabeth Nolan (LAS ’81).

Submit HRL Application

Application Deadline Date


The HRL instructor will be a full-time tenure-line faculty member in the humanities or related fields. As part of the application process, applicants must secure permission from the chair or head of the department or unit that houses the course proposed as an HRL, including an agreement that the cap on the course that is identified as an HRL will be 20 undergraduate students.


The HRL faculty member will meet monthly with HRI and OUR staff in fall 2024 to learn about campus resources and participate in discussions about how to develop the syllabus so that it meets expectations around best practices in collaborative community-based research and teaching. Those monthly meetings will continue in spring 2025 in support of the course as it’s happening. A teaching observation followed by written feedback will be arranged at the instructor’s convenience. The HRL instructor is expected to produce a two-page report of their work by June 1, 2025, to be shared with the HRI and OUR directors.

A combination of funds from OUR, HRI and a generous donor will provide the following support:

  • Up to $1500 to hire an hourly undergraduate assistant to help with the course (administered by OUR)
  • Up to $2000 to support honoraria for community partners or participants who will be involved (administered by HRI)
  • A $3,000 contribution to the course’s home department in recognition of its support of this effort (administered by HRI)

Application Guidelines

Applicants must submit their applications online at the application portal. In addition to answering the questions on the web form, applicants must also upload:

Application Deadline Details

The deadline for applications is March 25, 2024 by 5 p.m. Apply using the application form. No emailed applications will be accepted.

Selection Criteria

Successful applications will make a strong, intentional case for why now is the time for this opportunity in the scholar’s career; for why the course identified is well-suited for the HRL experience; and for what their vision of community-based research and teaching is. The applications will be read by a selection committee comprised of staff from HRI and OUR, and members of the HRI Advisory Committee, with the Deputy Director of HRI serving in an ex officio capacity.


The successful HRL applicant will be notified by May 1, 2024.


Questions about the HRL may be addressed to Nancy Castro at or (217) 244-7913.