We are thrilled to announce the annual Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant for junior faculty. In 2023, this grant became a program of Global Scholars, administered in collaboration with InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). We were proud to award the 2023 Grant to Dr. George Montanez, a computer science professor at Harvey Mudd College. In 2024, we continue to build on the strong legacy of the original Christian Scholars Foundation Grant. The 2024 grant will award $11,000 to an early career Christian faculty member at a pluralistic institution, in order to support a research project. We have made a few changes to the eligibility guidelines and application process details for ease of planning and application. See below for further details. Please note that this year’s application deadline is April 20 (2024).
Purpose & Scope of Grant: Supporting Early Career Research by Christian Scholars at Pluralistic Universities
The purpose of this grant is to advance Christian scholarship, encourage Christian scholars seeking to integrate Christian faith with their academic endeavors, and nurture Christian faculty as they strive for wider recognition in the academy. Applications are encouraged for funding toward research projects in any academic field. Applicants must hold posts in U.S. or Canadian universities which are pluralistic in nature. The grant has considerable flexibility in terms of specific application of funds to the chosen research project. Examples of appropriate proposals might include: funding for travel to do or present research, material investments in research such as book or machinery purchases, compensation for research participants or temporary administrative assistance as needed, a combination of several of these, etc. The funding must be focused on supporting a specific research project, and we recognize that individual scholars need different modes of support.
Definition of a Pluralistic Institution
For the purpose of the grant, we define a pluralistic institution as one that does not require undergraduate students to sign a statement of faith. In addition to applications from Christian scholars at secular universities, we also hope to receive applications from scholars at universities in the Christian tradition which welcome undergraduates of any belief system.
Required Memberships & Amount of Grant
Applicants are required to be members of the Emerging Scholars Network. In addition, applicants will be required to be members of the Society of Christian Scholars, a global community of Christian scholars seeking to have a redemptive influence in higher education, of which Global Scholars is a principal partner.
The 2024 Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant will be $11,000.
Institutional Support & History: The Christian Scholars Foundation, Global Scholars, and the Society of Christian Scholars
The Christian Scholars Foundation was a small family foundation formed in 1986 to encourage and support Christian junior faculty in their efforts to gain recognition and stature in the U.S. or Canadian academy. The Foundation also desired to encourage these scholars in their work to integrate Christian faith and academic endeavor. In December 2022, the Foundation closed its operations and transferred its funds to Global Scholars in order to continue both organizations’ shared vision of aiding Christian scholars as they seek to have a redemptive influence in higher education.
Global Scholars is an interdenominational, international ministry also founded in 1986, which equips Christian professors worldwide to have redemptive influence among their students, colleagues, universities, and academic disciplines.
One of Global Scholars three programs is providing support to the Society of Christian Scholars, a global movement of Christian scholars seeking to live out God’s calling to serve as scholars in their various cultural contexts.
Overall Grant Goals
Grant Goals: Types of Projects
We seek to support projects by Christian scholars at pluralistic institutions which meet these criteria:
1. The project is focused on research, or on building an academic portfolio (for areas such as fine arts)
Our goal is to advance a scholar’s contribution to their academic field area. In most cases, this will mean funding a research project. Since we fund scholars in all academic disciplines, the specific form of research recognized in the field will vary. Scholars may be working toward academic publication via a peer-reviewed journal or book, or in some fast-moving fields toward a peer-reviewed archival conference presentation. We include fields such as the academic fine arts in our funding areas, and we recognize that for artists a project establishing their academic standing in their field might be an academic portfolio, art show, or performance. In cases where the standard expectation of the field is something other than publishing research-based academic journal articles or books, please articulate in your application how the project fits the expectations of your field and will advance your academic career.
We typically do not fund projects mainly focused on teaching or administrative goals, as valuable as those are. We absolutely do give strong consideration to faculty research projects that include support for undergraduate research or community engagement in research. The main focus of applications should be the relevance of the research (or fine arts portfolio, etc.) to the field and how it will establish the scholar’s expertise. If your research project also has significant benefits to your teaching or institutional engagement, feel free to mention it briefly as an additional strength of your project choice.
2. The project is suited to establishing the scholar as an expert in their field
The grant aims to support research that is relevant to the overall aims of the scholar’s field, exemplary in its methods and implementation, and likely to advance the scholar’s research career significantly.
3. The project is of interest to the field as a whole, not just to communities of faith within the field
For the grant, our goal is to support research, or equivalent contributions to a field such as a fine arts portfolio, that will be a significant contribution for the greater good to the field as a whole. While research focused on the needs of particular faith communities is deeply valuable, explicit content about faith is not required in the project. We seek to fund scholars who are committed to scholarship of the highest caliber, and conscious of their need to discover connections between their faith in Christ and their academic work over the whole arc of their career.
Grant Goals: Commitments of Scholars
The Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant supports early career scholars who are pursuing the following 3 goals. Some of these overlap with the goals of the specific projects, and some of them are more focused on the scholar’s overall commitments in their academic vocation. We support scholars who are:
1. Making a strong contribution to the research in their field, for the common good
As we work to fund projects which make a strong contribution to the research in their field for the common good, we also consider the scholar’s overall commitment to that goal. In terms of applications, this will be particularly relevant for those scholars selected for Round 2, where the longer application allows more space to articulate overall career goals and commitments.
2. Demonstrating commitment to vibrant Christian faith and to understanding how faith and scholarship inform each other over the long arc of their vocation.
We seek to fund scholars who have vibrant Christian faith and are committed to exploring how faith and their academic work inform each other over the course of their careers. For most Round 1 applications, most of the 1-page initial application will be spent describing your project itself, with a short explanation of how you pursue connecting faith and work. If your project is selected for Round 2, you will have more space to articulate these connections. We also understand that exploring these questions is a lifelong process, and early career scholars may still be developing their ideas. For the purposes of the application process, we are looking for evidence that you are committed to exploring the intersection of faith and scholarship over time. We would like to hear about it if your project engages directly with faith, if your own interest in the project is informed by your faith in some way, or if you feel that the project will have particular benefits for Christian communities as well as your field. The main goal, though, is to demonstrate that the project is relevant to your contribution to your field, and that you are committed in your own life to thinking about intersections of faith and scholarship. You do not need to demonstrate that you have brought the two together fully in the project you propose. Rather we look for evidence that the project will contribute substantially to your field and that you are committing substantially to exploring connections between faith and scholarship over the course of your career.
More Detail on Grant Expectations for Commitment to How Faith & Scholarship Inform Each Other
Understandably, we receive many questions about how the committee evaluates whether a scholar is demonstrating commitment to integrating faith & scholarship. This paragraph is an effort to clarify further. We do not mean you have to do scholarship that is explicitly about faith, though we welcome projects about faith that are of deep interest to the field. We also do not mean that you have to have a fully worked out theory of exactly how your field or project & your faith fit together. In the application, especially for those selected for Round 2, we would like you to demonstrate that you are pursuing these connections in your work. If you already have a way to articulate how your faith informs the particular project you are working on, we would like to hear about it. If you are not yet sure, feel free to articulate instead how you are pursuing connections between faith and academic work in your field overall, or how you are pursuing opportunities to think about those questions over time. There is more space to do this in the finalist process of the application, so we are looking for brief summaries in the initial application.
3. Loving their neighbors as good citizens of their field and institution in a pluralist setting.
We also welcome evidence in your application that you are living out Christ’s call to love your neighbor in your field and institution. This is a core value of the grant. However, we recognize that how to do that it is a complex, qualitative question that can be answered in multiple ways. For that reason, this too is mainly a question we explore more deeply with those who are invited to apply to Round 2. We will invite Round 2 applicants to describe their approach to loving their neighbor in their field and institution more fully, and we will also ask for reference letters from a pastor and a Christian colleague in academia at that point. We evaluate the first round of applications based mainly on your explanation of the project itself. However, a brief statement of how you think about loving your neighbor and being a good citizen of your field and institution is welcome in the first round.
- Grants are made only to members of the Society of Christian Scholars and the Emerging Scholars Network. If you are not a member of the Society of Christian Scholars you can join here (you determine your membership fee–$15 or more annually–based on how valuable the Society is to you.) If you are not a member of the Emerging Scholars Network you can join here (free membership).
- Applicants must have an earned doctorate (or comparable terminal degree appropriate to one’s discipline).
- Grants are made to junior faculty, which we define with some flexibility. Typically we grant awards to scholars who have been on faculty for ten years or less, and have not yet passed the rank of Assistant Professor.
- Applicants must currently be in academic posts in the United States or Canada and pursuing a career in academia.
- Applicants must be in academic posts in pluralistic colleges and universities where students are not required to sign a statement of faith. In addition to faculty at secular colleges, faculty at colleges & universities in the Christian tradition are eligible as long as the institution welcomes students of any belief system.
- In some cases, eligible scholars may be faculty at a non-pluralist Christian university or college and also hold a significant leadership role impacting the scholarly life of a secular university. For example, an early career scholar who is on the executive leadership team of a Christian study center at a secular university and also holds a joint appointment as a seminary professor would be eligible. All other requirements of eligibility must be met, such as a funding request that advances scholarly research (or equivalent work in a field such as an academic arts portfolio). Decisions on eligibility in such cases ultimately rest with the Grant Committee. We give careful consideration to these cases, so please apply, or inquire if you are unsure of your eligibility.
Two-Step Application Process
Step One: Preliminary Application
Those interested in applying should submit their Curriculum Vitae and a 1-page Executive Summary of the proposed project or research at the Society of Christian Scholars member site by April 20, 2024.
Most helpful to the Grant Evaluation Committee will be a summary which:
1. Explains the project clearly and succinctly.
2. Articulates how the project will help to establish the scholar as an expert in his or her field (typically through relevant research but potentially in some fields through other academic work such as arts portfolios).
3. Describes potential wider impact of the research on the field and where relevant on wider public questions.
4. Offers a brief statement (1-3 sentences) of how the scholar demonstrates commitment to exploring how faith and scholarship might inform each other over time. This statement does not have to be connected to the specific project proposed, although it may be in some cases.
5. Offers a brief statement (1-3 sentences) of how the scholar endeavors to love their neighbors through being a good citizen of their field and institution. This statement does not have to be connected to the specific project proposed, although it may be in some cases.
Step 2: Invited Full Application
Authors of the five to ten most interesting proposals will be invited to submit a full application. We plan to notify those selected for Round 2 applications on May 20 and request that Round 2 applications be submitted by June 20. The necessary details regarding the full application will be sent to those selected when they are notified of their selection. For those selected, the Round 2 process will include: 1) A longer document by the scholar allowing more space to explain the project and the scholar’s commitments to the goals described in the application details 2) A reference letter from a pastor or campus minister close to the scholar 3) A reference letter from a Christian faculty colleague, ideally at the same institution as the applicant, but could also be someone elsewhere who is knowledgeable about the applicant’s reputation as a scholar and a Christian.
Grant Inquiries & Submissions Link
Questions concerning the grant may be sent to Dr. Hannah Eagleson, Christian Scholars Foundation Legacy Grant Director, at [email@example.com].
To submit applications: Go to the Society of Christian Scholars member site.
You may read testimonials from past recipients here and interviews with several of the recent recipients on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog: Carrie Bredow (2016), Jill Ellenbarger (2017), Eleanor McGlinchey (2017), Jennifer Hawk (2018), and Derek Thompson (2019). We plan to add an interview with 2023 awardee Dr. George Montanez soon.
- January 12, 2024: First day to submit Preliminary Applications
- April 20, 2024: Last day to submit Preliminary Applications
- May 20, 2024: Full Applications Invited (5-10 finalists)
- June 20, 2024: Full Applications Due
About the author:
The Emerging Scholars Network is always seeking opportunities to identify, encourage, and equip the next generation of Christian scholars to be a redeeming influence in the academy, church, and the world. As you have an announcement, a "call for papers", an event, a prayer request (e.g., campus, field, higher ed), a resource suggestion, a review, etc., which is in concord with our Kingdom of God endeavor, please send materials (marketing/sales material not accepted) for consideration to post via email or the ESN Writer Survey. Thank-you. To God be the glory!