Orange Alert

From Proposal to Publication: CNY Humanities Corridor Nurtures Faculty Scholarship

2023-24’s supportive initiatives included first-ever campus visit from NEH official Claudia Kinkela, Minnowbrook writing retreat, panel discussion on open-access publishing and workshop to jumpstart summer writing.

May 3, 2024, by Kerrie Marshall

Claudia Kinkela, senior program officer in the division of research for the NEH, discussed the NEH grant evaluation process during her presentation at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel.

At the heart of academia, humanities faculty conduct vital work, exploring the depths of human experience, history and culture. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency established in 1965, stands as a key supporter of these efforts. This month alone, the NEH announced $26.2 million in grants for 238 humanities projects across the country.

As a leading funder of humanities programs, including several recent grants to A&S | Maxwell faculty, the NEH plays a pivotal role in bolstering the work of humanities scholars, educators and students. Through grants to cultural institutions, scholars and educational initiatives, NEH promotes research, preserves cultural heritage and fosters lifelong learning.

NEH Makes an Inaugural Visit to CNY Humanities Corridor

The arrival of Claudia Kinkela, senior program officer in the division of research for the NEH, marked a milestone for humanities scholars across Central New York. Sponsored by the CNY Humanities Corridor, the March 1 event at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center saw 137 registrants, demonstrating a need and eagerness to hear Kinkela’s insight and guidance on crafting competitive applications for agency funding. Her presentation provided attendees with invaluable knowledge about the NEH evaluation process.

Marcelle Haddix at a podium.

Marcelle Haddix, associate provost for strategic initiatives, gave welcome remarks and noted the significance of the event, stating, "This was such an important opportunity for all in the humanities and beyond. We will continue to elevate the importance of the work being done across our Corridor community."

As part of the visit, Kinkela also engaged in one-on-one afternoon consultations for individuals with existing projects under development.

"Having the opportunity to engage with Claudia Kinkela one-on-one in the afternoon was incredibly valuable,” says Roger Hallas, associate professor of English. "Her personalized feedback has not only helped me refine our NEH proposal but also provided me with a deeper understanding of the overall landscape of public funding for the humanities."

Roger Hallas at NEH Presentation
Roger Hallas, left, talking with a colleague during a table talk at the NEH presentation.

Hailing from 22 regional institutions, the gathering included registrants not only from institutions of higher education, but also representatives from local non-profit organizations including the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, the Erie Canal Museum and New York Folklore. All 11 Corridor institutions were in attendance, signaling a unified interest and commitment to advancing the humanities together. Academic institutions within the Corridor include Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Rochester, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, Union College, Le Moyne College, and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Syracuse University Office of Research provided additional support for the event.

Group of people at a conference.

Instrumental in securing this important senior NEH officer site visit was Sarah Workman, associate director for research development in the humanities at Syracuse University. Together with her Corridor colleagues, including Aimee Germain, program manager for the CNY Humanities Corridor and Vivian May, professor and director of the Syracuse University Humanities Center, Workman led the development of the event’s robust programming and brought the event to fruition.

Vivian_May NEH Presnetation 2024
Vivian May, professor of women’s and gender studies and director of the Syracuse University Humanities Center and of the Central New York Humanities Corridor, speaking to attendees.

"We were delighted to host Claudia Kinkela, who so generously shared many important insights during her visit. The breadth of regional engagement was impressive and represents a thriving scholarly community across the consortium. The NEH site visit will continue to have a positive impact for humanists in the Corridor and beyond,” remarked Vivian May. “The work of the HF4: Corridor Futures & Initiatives Working Group, comprised of the three directors plus Aimee and Sarah, is part of the infrastructure behind these research support offerings designed to enhance research community and deepen scholarly engagement across the region. ”

A Full Day of Programming, Tips and Guidance for Successful Proposals

The morning commenced with an informal meet-and-greet over breakfast, setting a collaborative tone for the day ahead. Kinkela led workshop sessions offering a comprehensive overview of NEH programs, special initiatives and grant opportunities tailored to faculty.

Group of people at a conference.

A highlight of the event was a mock peer review panel moderated by Kinkela, which clarified proposal evaluation criteria. Panelists included Romita Ray, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in art history at Syracuse University; Cherilyn Lacy, professor of history & assistant dean of faculty at Hartwick College; and Celeste Day Moore, associate professor of history at Hamilton College, all previous NEH fellowship recipients.

Attendees also received an NEH information sheet with practical tips for successful grant submissions. They advised attendees to: carefully review the entire application guidelines and rubrics before beginning the application; tailor each application to the appropriate audience; outline methods, sources, work plan, and timeline; anticipate readers' questions and preemptively address them.

“The National Endowment for the Humanities fosters excellence and reinforces the foundational aspects the humanities scholarship and education,” says Duncan Brown, Syracuse University VP for Research. “We are immensely grateful to the NEH for their support of the Corridor and Claudia Kinkela’s visit.”

NEH Grant Recipients at SU

Mariaelena Huambachano was recently awarded a highly competitive 2024 NEH Summer Stipend—the first awarded to an A&S faculty member since 2017—for her project Seeding Hope: Indigenous Women’s Roles in Transforming Food Systems. Huambachano will conduct ethnographic research for a book exploring how the food knowledge of Indigenous women of Peru and the U.S. thrive within the industrial food system.

Johannes Himmelreich, assistant professor of public administration and international affairs, received funding (2024) from the NEH grant program, Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities, for his project, Good Decisions: Data Science as a Moral Practice to examine the relationship between technology and society through a humanities lens.

Chris DeCorse received an Archeological and Ethnographic Field Research grant for his project, Outpost of Empire: Kormantine, the slave trade, and England's first outpost in Africa, to support archeological research of Kormantine Fort (1631-1665), located in modern-day Ghana.

Other A&S | Maxwell humanities faculty recipients of grants from NEH include: Romita Ray, associate professor of art and music histories (2021). She received a prestigious collaborative research grant to Convene Leading Scholars for an International Research Workshop and Symposium on the historic architecture, collections and gardens of the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall in Calcutta; and Yüksel Sezgin (2019), associate professor of political science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, who received a fellowship to Study Democratization of Islamic Laws.

What is “open access publishing?” And why is it a hot topic for humanists now? The CNY Humanities Corridor convened a lively roundtable discussion attended by more than 100 people and featuring guests from MIT Press, University of California Press, University of Michigan Press and Syracuse University in December. View the recording of this timely topic here.

Multifaceted Support: Providing Time to Write…

Minnowbrook Exterior
Syracuse University supports humanities faculty by giving them access to resources that foster collaboration and inspiration, across institutions. At the Minnowbrook retreat, they meet other faculty and find synergies and compare strategies.

The NEH visit complemented another CNY Humanities Corridor event last fall, which was designed to facilitate writing for humanities faculty. While Kinkela’s visit in March imparted important advice for writing successful proposals, faculty often find that dedicated time for any kind of writing is a luxury.

This annual retreat, in its third year, provides faculty with the time and space they need to focus on their writing and offers important opportunities to connect with scholars from across the Corridor. The retreat takes place at Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Conference Center on Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, providing scholars a respite from the rigors of teaching and time away from their regular academic routines. Each year, attendees make meaningful progress on their projects thanks to the supportive community, nourishing meals and invigorating intellectual exchanges flourishing in this beautiful, natural setting.

This year, writing coaches offered the cohort of 35 an array of optional workshops, group writing sessions and one-on-one consultations for writers to check in on specific projects and issues, including how to make their writing process more sustainable and fulfilling.

Aimee Germain portrait.

"Time is what faculty have been asking for, and time is what faculty need in order to progress in their research,” shared Program Manager for the CNY Humanities Corridor Aimee Germain in a descriptive blogpost. “A few days at Minnowbrook can help people settle into their writing and feel a sense of camaraderie with colleagues across the region. This is especially valuable in midst of a busy fall semester.”

The cohort for the October 2024 retreat is full, but applications for 2025 will open this fall.

…and Help Diving into Summer Writing

Rounding out the Humanities Corridor’s slate of research support offerings is an upcoming special workshop on May 21. “Every Summer Needs a Plan” is a free, virtual seminar designed to help faculty tackle the practicalities of getting their writing done—while enjoying the summer.

Presented by Anthony Ocampo of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, the workshop can help jumpstart writing projects. Participants will learn how to identify personal and professional goals, create a strategic plan to accomplish them, and identify the types of community, support and accountability needed to achieve a productive and balanced summer.

For more information and to register, visit the event listing.

The Central New York Humanities Corridor, led by Syracuse University, unites 11 universities and colleges across the region in a vibrant research consortium. Supported by a Mellon Foundation grant, this dynamic network fosters collaborative research, teaching, and programming initiatives.

Comprising prestigious institutions such as Syracuse University, Cornell University, and others, the Corridor operates through Working Groups, bringing together individuals from diverse colleges and universities throughout the region. These groups collaborate on humanities-focused activities, leveraging funding to support their efforts throughout the academic year.

From disciplinary deep dives to interdisciplinary inquiries, working group activities span various themes and issues. They convene both online and in-person, facilitating writing groups, manuscript development, and methodological explorations. Additionally, the Corridor engages the broader community through public symposia, addressing social issues and promoting community engagement.


Vivian M. May Professor

Roger Hallas Professor

Media Contact

Kerrie Marshall