Apply for a Seed Grant to Start a Dialogue Program

By Meghan Sullivan

Peer dialogue leaders at NDPeer dialogue leaders at ND

The Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life Project is pleased to offer a small grants program to support the development of undergraduate peer leadership programs at partner institutions. These kinds of programs teach students crucial dialogue skills and help them apply philosophy to authentic questions that they are wrestling with. (See more on our Peer-Led Dialogue info page.) We invite network members to submit proposals for undergraduate philosophy programming that will achieve the following objectives:

  • Promotes scholarship focused on philosophy as a way of life
  • Establishes a program that will train undergraduate students in philosophical dialogue and peer mentoring
  • Promotes diversity in philosophy

Successful proposals will be awarded a 1-2 year grant to support their implementation. Proposals should be no longer than 5 pages and should include the following information:

  • A summary of the proposed programming that explains how it will achieve the objectives listed above
  • A budget for the proposal in U.S. dollars
  • A timeline for the preparation and implementation of the proposed programming. We will consider 1 or 2 year programs.  

Our current budget provides $20,000 per year to be allocated among successful applicants. Grant requests may be made for up to this amount, although requests for smaller amounts are also welcome.

Grant applications should be submitted in PDF format to The deadline for submitting applications is July 15, 2019. Proposals will be evaluated based on how well the proposed programming will meet the above-listed objectives and on the soundness of the proposed budget. Preference will be given to under-resourced institutions, as well as to proposals that demonstrate the long-term sustainability of their programming and have an innovative component (i.e., something that plays a role distinct from other organizations and initiatives at your institution). At the end of their project’s timeline, grant recipients will be expected to submit a progress report to the Philosophy as a Way of Life advisory board detailing their progress toward achieving the project’s goals.

Prior experience training peer leaders is not required to apply for a grant, and applicants need not have explicit institutional support (e.g a letter of support from their Dean or Provost). We are happy to consult on proposals during the 2019 Philosophy as a Way of Life Workshop or via email.

An example of the kind of program that might be described in a successful proposal is Notre Dame’s God and the Good Life (GGL) Fellows Program, a philosophical peer-mentorship program open by application to students who have completed the introductory-level philosophy course God and the Good Life. As members of the GGL teaching team, GGL Fellows lead weekly student-driven dialogue meetings and provide feedback and coaching on students’ written assignments. They are able to take an upper-level philosophy seminar (The Examined Life) open exclusively to first-time GGL Fellows. Each GGL Fellow receives training in best practices for facilitating participant-driven dialogue and is paid a stipend of $1,000 each semester he or she is active in the program.