JFF information

Junior Faculty Fellowships in the Humanities

The core of the intellectual community supported by the Boston University Center for the Humanities is the Fellows’ Seminar. This group, which has been in continuous existence since 1984, serves as a forum for research, debate, and public dialogue between junior and senior faculty from different disciplines. The seminar assists young scholars in the development of their careers and engages the larger questions of culture and imagination that the humanities have always examined.

Changes in 2013:

The Provost has announced that tenure-track faculty will now be eligible to apply to their Deans  for one semester of paid Junior Scholar Leave after completion of six semesters of FT service and a successful midtenure review. For more information, please see the Faculty Handbook:  http://www.bu.edu/handbook/leaves-absences/sabbaticals-and-leaves-of-absence/

In light of this new University policy, the BUCH has made significant changes in the rules governing its Junior Faculty Fellowships. Please read this material carefully.

  1. Length of fellowship. Our new fellowships, like those granted from the 1980s until 2010, will be one semester in length.
  2. Eligibility. In the past, any junior (tenure-track) faculty member who had not previously held a Junior Faculty Fellowship was eligible to apply, though in practice most sought to hold our fellowships in the third, fourth, or fifth year of their appointments. This policy remains unchanged, along with the requirement that the Chair approve each application. However, applicants will now have the option of combining the University leave with a BUCH fellowship in order to spend a continuous year on a project, as senior faculty have done in combining a BUCH fellowship with a sabbatical, though they may choose to apply at other times. Applicants and their Chairs should be aware that the Committee considers both the quality of the research proposal and the need for support; in the interest of fairness, we take into consideration other forms of support the applicant has previously held. No individual may hold a Junior Faculty Fellowship more than once.
  3. Definition of status while holding the fellowship. We are redefining the Junior Faculty Fellowship as a “research leave” rather than “release from teaching.” This has the critical advantage of making our fellowships symmetrical to the research leaves now offered by the University. For winners, it has the advantage of removing any obligation for service to the department and making the residency requirement more flexible, thus enabling a Junior Fellow to use the BUCH Fellowship for work abroad and participate in the seminar after returning to Boston. It will mean that all junior faculty research semesters, whether funded by BUCH, the University, or an external agency, will be subject to the same rules. Like the new leaves granted by the University, this research leave will not stop the tenure clock, nor will it count toward the 12 semesters of full-time teaching required to be eligible for a sabbatical.
  4. Obligation to participate in the community. We strongly encourage Fellows working in Boston to take up residence in the individual offices provided for their use at the Center, which will allow them to interact with other Fellows. The BUCH Fellows’ Seminar, bringing together junior and senior faculty supported by the Foundation, forms the core of our intellectual community and allows a more formal exchange of ideas. Since the inception of the program, Junior Faculty Fellows have been expected to attend the meetings of the Fellows’ Seminar for an entire academic year, including the semester in which they hold their fellowships. Unlike Senior Faculty Fellows, they were not able to pursue research abroad and defer participation in the seminar until their return. Beginning in the 2014–15 academic year, we will require one semester of participation in the Fellows’ Seminar, normally the semester in which the fellowship is held. In cases where the Fellow needs to pursue research abroad, participation in the Seminar will take place during the first semester back in the classroom. Because the obligation to participate in the seminar has been reduced to one semester, Fellows can expect meetings to be more frequent.


The deadline for submission of applications to the Center for the Humanities is October 15. Each tenure-track faculty member applying for an JFF must also submit Leave of Absence paperwork to CAS. Applicants should make at least one good faith application for outside funding; our application asks you to list outside grants for which you are applying. The deadline for submission of CAS  LOA paperwork to the Faculty Actions Office is  December 6; your department, which submits all such applications as a group, will want your materials earlier.

Applicants will be informed of our decisions early in the second semester.

If you are chosen as a Junior Faculty Fellow, and your application for outside funding is also successful, our normal expectation is that you will accept the outside award. Your doing so will allow the Center to fund one of your colleagues previously named as an alternate.

Applications should be emailed to the Center for the Humanities by October 15. We ask that all documents, including the letter from the department chair, be submitted in electronic form.

We ask that applications be submitted as a single PDF file that contains the first 3 elements listed below. Please send it as an email attachment to buch@bu.edu

1. Junior Faculty Fellowship Application cover sheet

2. a 5 double-spaced page (no more than 3,000 words) description of your research project.

3. a current curriculum vitae

4. a letter from your department chair endorsing your proposal and describing the necessary replacement expenses.

5. a letter from a senior faculty in your department familiar with your area of specialization.

The department chair and senior faculty member should send their letters directly to the Center for the Humanities ( buch@bu.edu )

Please read the FAQ section of this website if you have any questions concerning how to use our on-line application form.