Alumni & Friends
Giving to English
T H E V I S I O N
The Department's goal is to enhance our prominence in the field as a curricular and intellectual leader and to advance our standing in the national rankings. In order to strengthen our position as one of the top English departments in the country, we must recruit and retain the best faculty possible. And to remain competitive in recruiting the best graduate students, we must augment our fellowship program. We must also continue to develop innovative teaching initiatives, including many that reach beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom. Finally, and most crucially for our junior faculty, we must attend to the crisis in book publishing by supplementing the minimal resources available in the College and University with a program of subventions for first books.
T H E V A L U E
In recent years, our graduate program has moved up dramatically in the national rankings – up to 11 in the most recent ranking. We are currently tied for second place among state institutions, our gender studies cohort was ranked in the top five such programs in the latest U.S. News and World Report, and our MFA program ranks second in the nation. As one of the College's largest departments, we have seen a number of undergraduates go on to distinguished careers as writers, journalists, and Hollywood screenwriters; and many more have moved into fields such as law, medicine, and business.
T H E D I F F E R E N C E
With the goal of becoming one of the top English departments in the country, we seek endowment funding for the following areas in order to best serve our undergraduate and graduate students.
Endowed Honors Directorship and Seminar $2.5 million
We are justly proud of our undergraduate honors program. Our honors students in literature and creative writing consistently win the majority of College awards and prizes open to all undergraduates. Our students not only write remarkably wide-ranging and original theses, they focus the energies and commitments of faculty who advise and teach them. We want to build on our record of recognition and the intellectual community fostered by the Honors Program by raising funds for an Endowed Honors Directorship and an endowed Honors Seminar. We envision the Honors Seminar as a collaboratively taught course drawing distinguished visitors to campus to engage with our most ambitious students.
Named Endowed Professorship $2 million
Bringing new faculty to the Department in the next five years is crucial to our goal of improving our national ranking, especially in the face of increasing competition for top faculty. Outstanding faculty are central to the continuing quality of the program and ongoing leadership of the Department. An endowment of $2 million will establish a Named Endowed Professorship, which will serve as a powerful recruitment tool for distinguished scholars.
Graduate Fellowship Fund $750,000 per student
To be competitive with other top-tier graduate programs, the Department needs to provide full funding for each student. Currently, we lack the funds to maintain a competitive edge in attracting the top students to our MFA and PhD programs. We need the help of our donors to assure the continued viability of our programs. Excellent graduate students attract and help us retain excellent faculty members. We seek to raise $3 million to $5 million in endowed funds for graduate student fellowships. An annual gift of $37,500 or the equivalent interest income from a $750,000 endowment will fund one graduate student for one year.
Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) $600,000
The PCAP program enables undergraduate students to create art, writing, and theater with incarcerated youth and adults. PCAP has led to curricular innovation, community action partnerships, and long-term alliances, and it has had a profound impact upon community members and organizations, as well as a profound impact on our own students whose learning experiences have been expanded and deepened. Through involvement in PCAP, our students enter spaces from which their lives have excluded them: their stereotypes disappear; they develop new capacities, ideas, and goals; and many of them are so profoundly affected that their career trajectories change dramatically. We seek endowment funds to ensure that these community outreach projects and others like them continue.
Bear River Writers' Conference $400,000
Set in the wilderness near Petoskey, Michigan, the childhood home of Ernest Hemingway, the Bear River Writers' Conference brings local Native American youth together with other aspiring writers to hone their skills. With workshops lead by outstanding writers and Michigan faculty, Bear River is a place of diverse community that welcomes all of the individual voices of its many participants. We wish to endow this yearly conference to ensure that their work and their impact on aspiring writers in the community continues.
New England Literature Program (NELP) $600,000
The UM New England Literature Program (NELP) is an intensive Spring-term learning experience offered off-campus at a camp in New England. Forty students study New England authors of various backgrounds in a natural setting. Journal writing is an integral part of the NELP experience. Through their journals, students explore the NELP experience, the natural world, and the New England environment and culture - and often write creatively. In addition to camping, canoeing, and hiking, participants also learn how to cooperate in a communal environment. This immensely popular opportunity is a unique, intimate, life-changing learning experience that is unlike any other offering at the University. With an endowment of $600,000, we can preserve this unique learning experience for generations of future students.
Doctoral Student Internship program $600,000 endowed $30,000 annually
Most of our doctoral students go on to teach in colleges and universities where they become the next generation of scholar/teachers. Some, however, seek employment in alternative careers, such as publishing and foundation work. We would like to do more for those who seek alternative careers. An endowed internship program for our doctoral students would allow us to enhance the opportunities for professional development of our graduate students by providing paid internships at the University of Michigan Press or at new on-line database companies such as ProQuest, located here in Ann Arbor. An endowment of $600,000 will provide $30,000 which will fund an otherwise unpaid summer internship for one student.
Mid-career Faculty Fellowships $1 million endowed $50,000 annually
Fellowships allowing faculty a semester of research support will foster an environment more conducive to top-flight research, enhance faculty quality, and help recruit top faculty. A gift of $1 million will endow mid-career faculty research fellowships. A gift of $50,000 annually will fund one semester of faculty research.
Department Strategic Fund $100,000 annually
Expendable, undesignated gifts are extraordinarily important to the continuing success and growth of the Department. Contributions to the Strategic Fund make it possible to meet unexpected needs and challenges such as:
- Seed funding for faculty projects
- Sponsorship of distinguished international visitors
- International conferences highlighting the Department's scholarship ($25,000 per conference)
- Innovative curriculum development and integration of information technology into our courses
- Publication subventions
The Department Strategic Fund can be endowed for $2 million to provide ongoing flexible support for the Department's priorities.
All donors will be eligible for Presidential Society Recognition opportunities, including the President's Club ($15,000), the Tappan Society ($50,000) and the Hutchins Society ($100,000).