Organizing fellows propose projects to the Kahn Institute director. After a project is approved by the director and the Kahn Advisory Committee, its organizing fellows work with the director and Kahn staff to select participating project members and to develop a program of related public events.
Once a project is accepted, the proposers are appointed as organizing fellows. The institute director helps organizing fellows select participating faculty, student and visiting fellows, and, when appropriate, helps them decide on a program of public events. The director works with the organizing fellows to draft a concise statement of the project to be used for announcements and publicity. Organizing fellows may be invited to meet with the Kahn Institute Advisory Committee to discuss their plans.
During the project year, organizing fellows direct the project's weekly Kahn Colloquium, provide overall supervision for the work of the student fellows (though most of them will be working directly with other faculty fellows or independently), and work closely with the Kahn Institute staff. The staff handles the many details that keep a project running smoothly, including coordinating and publicizing all public events and managing financial and budgetary matters and behind-the-scenes work.
Organizing fellows are released from teaching one course during the year or semester of the project and to help guide the work of student fellows. The year preceding the project can be a busy one for organizing fellows, for they must help select project members, periodically meet with them and the Kahn Advisory Committee, and work with the Kahn project coordinator to decide on the scope and timing of public events. Organizing fellows may elect to take their one-semester course release during the planning year instead of during the project year. At the conclusion of a project, organizing fellows must submit a reasonably detailed report for the institute’s records, including suggestions for improving the operation of future Kahn projects.
Faculty fellows on a project participate in colloquium meetings for two hours each week with student fellows at the Kahn Institute.
During these meetings, organizing and faculty fellows develop their research and critique one another’s work in progress. Fellows may also invite scholars, artists and others to share their research and to participate in events, such as films, lectures and performances that are open to the college and the broader community.
Fellowship is fostered at a weekly lunch or dinner for all faculty and student fellows in a project. In general, the meal immediately follows the colloquium meeting and provides an opportunity for fellows to get to know one another and to discuss their interests and the day’s topic in a more informal setting.
Each long-term project typically includes approximately 10 faculty fellows and five to seven student fellows. One goal of long-term projects is to foster communities of scholars in which faculty and students participate as equals, where the line between student and teacher is dissolved.
Faculty fellows may also participate in short-term projects that provide new contexts for exploring topics of common intellectual concern that bear on their own research. The structure and duration of short-term projects vary; they can be adapted to meet a variety of needs. Short-term projects have a single organizing fellow and include activities such as workshops, meetings, panel discussions, public lectures and symposia.
The Kahn Institute provides a budget to enable fellows to pay honoraria, housing, travel and other expenses for visiting scholars invited to participate in a project. The institute also provides funds, organizational support for all project activities, and publicity for public events. Smith Faculty Fellows receive research grants in the amount of $3,000 for yearlong projects and $1,500 for one-semester projects. Project organizers receive a course release in addition to a research grant. Junior faculty may opt for a course release or a research grant. Five College Faculty Fellows receive an honorarium of $3,000.
How To Apply
All current and emeriti Smith faculty, as well as Smith staff members and faculty from the Five Colleges and other area colleges and universities, are eligible to become fellows in Kahn Institute projects. See the Projects page to learn about opportunities.
Faculty fellowship applications are posted online. The application is a brief form requesting:
- a brief explanation of why you are interested in the project
- what you hope to get out of it
- what you think you will be able to contribute to it
Applications for projects are posted throughout the academic year, and the campus community is notified. Questions about applying for Kahn project participation may be directed to Alex Keller or to Kahn Institute staff.