A message from the Institute Committee: Request for Proposals

September 16, 2022

Dear all,

All members of the Vassar community are invited to submit proposals to convene an Institute for the Liberal Arts program during the 2022/23 academic year. We expect to be able to support 3 to 5 programs this year, with a budget of up to $5,000 per program.

For the 2022/23 Academic Year, the Institute Committee is supporting and facilitating programming around the broad theme of Access and Disability: Creating a World Where Everyone is a Participant. In many ways, this theme is one that is consistent with Vassar’s history. At its founding, Vassar was an institution that championed (and created) access to higher education for women at a time when this was thought to be a radical or unwise thing to-do. Since then, Vassar has distinguished itself as an institution of higher education that prioritizes access to higher education independent of a student’s socio-economic status.

As part of thematic programming for 2022/23, the Institute Committee is sponsoring a lecture on the pedagogy of accessibility by April Coughlin, Associate Professor in the School of Education at SUNY New Paltz, on Monday, September 26 at 5:30 in New England 105. Professor Coughlin earned her Ph.D. in Disability Studies from Syracuse University. She has been a “wheeler” since the age of six, and is a disability rights advocate. Her research, teaching, and advocacy focus on access and equity for students with disabilities, healthcare for women with disabilities, and transit accessibility.

This year’s theme broadens questions of access. These would include: access to technologies, access to housing (and other basic human necessities like food and healthcare), access to institutions, access to knowledge of all kinds, and more. In addition to exploring the theme of access, the Institute Committee would like to consider a related topic: disability. Vassar has recently published the 2022-2024 Vassar College Accessibility Plan which contains a blueprint for addressing barriers to access encountered by those who live and work on the campus as well as to those outside the campus. Understanding both the implications and opportunities of this plan can help the College and the broader community explore ways that we can continue to build a world that allows everyone to be a willing and excited participant in its future.

Applications should include the following:

  1. A brief program Abstract (approximately 250 words) that identifies the primary concept/idea/problem/questions that animate the proposed program and how/why the program engages the 2022/23 Institute theme.
  2. A deeper dive into the specifics of the proposed program, including:
    • An explanation of the goals of the program, including any post-program follow-up activities.
    • The intended audience(s), including whether/why the program will (or will not) be open to the public beyond the Vassar community
    • The program mode: virtual, hybrid, and/or in-person
    • Potential speakers, and their likely availability.
  3. Proposed dates: both a preferred and an alternate date. (Programs may occur anytime between November 1, 2022, and June 1, 2023.)
  4. What support you will need from the college, including a preliminary budget

Feel free to review the website for the 2021 Summer Institute for the Liberal Arts for an example of one model of Institute programming, and see the attached flyer for a Summer 2022 panel organized under this year’s theme. Do not feel you need to replicate this model—there are many ways Institute programming can respond to this year’s theme. 

Please submit proposals (and any questions about the proposal process) via email to Wes Dixon (wdixon@vassar.edu). The Institute Committee will prioritize proposals received by October 15 for prospective Fall programs and by December 15 for prospective Spring programs. For those whose proposals are selected for Institute Programs, we will encourage a follow-up meeting with members of the Institute Committee to discuss resources to assist program planning.

Thank you,

The Institute for Liberal Arts Committee

Alicia Atwood
Wesley Dixon
Susan Hiner
Bill Hoynes
Simon Lewis
Dennis Macheska
Jyotsna Naidu
Tom Pacio
Jill Schneiderman
Silke von der Emde