IAS Short-Term Fellowship: The Mission of the Land Grant/Land Grab University

Application Deadline:
Friday, April 2, 2021 at noon

In May-June 2021 the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) is piloting a new short-term fellowship opportunity. IAS Residential Fellowships provide time for faculty, graduate students, staff, and community scholars, artists, and professionals to remove themselves from their normal obligations and work on their own research or creative practice. The traditional IAS residential fellowship is not organized around a theme. In this experimental pilot project, we are bringing together six fellows whose interests contribute to a common theme—the mission of the land grant/land grab university—for a three-week period. We are seeking a disciplinary mix of STEM, humanities, arts, and social science perspectives. Our expectation is that the common interests will allow the fellows to make productive connections more quickly, and that the fellowship will advance the participants’ work in a meaningful way.


The land grant university mission is often viewed as a foundation for the social good and community benefits that can grow out of public universities’ work. But the history of land grant universities is part of a more complex story of the expropriation of Indigenous land and enslaved labor in the United States. Focus on this history has only increased since the publication of the article “Land-grab Universities” in High Country News. Many faculty, staff, and students, as well as community scholars, artists, and professionals are doing work relevant to understanding the implications of this history and the challenges it poses for universities to recognize the origins of their resources—material and intellectual—and to develop and implement non-extractive practices for the present and future.  This thematic fellowship is an opportunity to further research and creative work across all disciplines that addresses some aspect of the duality of the land grant university, its research and educational missions, and attempts to move toward repair.


Given COVID restrictions, the pilot project will be an entirely virtual fellowship conducted via Zoom. We envision eight to ten meetings over the three-week period, May 17–June 4: a launch session (2–3 hours); a series of 90-minute meetings at which one fellow presents their project in depth followed by discussion; and a final session of 2–3 hours at which participants will discuss next steps. The specific schedule will be worked out by the cohort. Fellows have the option to organize additional meetings over the course of the three weeks if they desire. Participants will receive a stipend of $2,000 at the completion of the fellowship. We hope that the stipend will allow the fellows to devote time away from their normal obligations to develop their own projects and reflect on the projects of other cohort members.

Facilitated by Sara Axtell: Planning Committee, Decolonization and Community Engaged Scholarship Roundtable (Co-sponsored by Office for Public Engagement and Department of American Indian Studies); Lecturer, Family Social Science.


This fellowship is open to all University of Minnesota system faculty, graduate students, and staff, and to community members from the state of Minnesota. We are aiming for wide disciplinary participation, with fellows from STEM, humanities, social sciences, and creative arts fields.

Application Instructions

  • Applications are due by noon Friday, April 2, 2021.
  • PLEASE NOTE that you cannot save the form once you begin, and you cannot edit your application after you submit it. We strongly recommend you prepare your responses in advance.
  • The application asks you to provide a variety of information and we suggest that you prepare these details in advance and copy-paste them into the form when ready to submit.
  • Click here to submit your application via Google Forms.

You will be required to include the following:

  1. Name
  2. Email
  3. I am (check 1):
    —UMN Faculty
    —UMN Staff
    —UMN Graduate Student
    —Community Member
  4. Affiliation: for UMN, department/unit and college; for community member, organization or other association
  5. Describe your research, involvement, and/or interest in the topic of the mission of the land grant/land grab university. (300 words max)
  6. What skills, experience, or other assets can you contribute to a cohort working on this topic? (250 words max)
  7. What ideas and questions around this theme are you interested in exploring? (250 words max)
  8. What do you hope will come out of this experience? (100 words max)
  9. What knowledge outside of your field are you seeking? (100 words max)
  10. You will also be asked to upload a 2-page CV or personal statement. Word or PDF documents only, please.



Please contact [email protected]