Lenz Fellowship FAQ
The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American
Culture and Values
Q: What is The Frederick P. Lenz Residential Fellowship Program?
A: The program is designed to provide scholars, artists, activists and other leaders
and practitioners from a variety of disciplines with an opportunity to reside in Boulder,
Colorado, and affiliate with Naropa University during their sabbatical or other professional
leave. It supports visiting fellows in the development of an artistic, social action,
curriculum development or other research project on some aspect of Buddhism’s contributions
to American education and society. The residential experience affords fellows an opportunity
to immerse themselves in the university’s varied curricular and community offerings,
as well as complete a program of study and a project that contributes to their own
professional field or another area of American culture and society.
Q: Must I be a faculty member to apply for the program?
A: No. The program is available to faculty, artists, activists, leaders and independent
scholar-practitioners who seek to immerse themselves in the study of Buddhism and
complete a project that applies Buddhist philosophy and practice to some area of American
culture and values.
Q: What will my experience be like if I am accepted as a fellow?
A: We hope to provide each fellow with an experience tailored to his or her professional
background, interests and proposed project. During their residency on the Naropa campus,
fellows will be able to audit classes. Also, they will be assigned a Naropa faculty
member to serve as project mentor and/or meditation instructor. Fellows will be encouraged
to become involved in the life of the university, attending guest lectures and recitals,
meeting with students and offering a public lecture or other teaching.
Q: What are the responsibilities of fellows?
A: Fellows will be expected to:
- Immerse themselves in the educational opportunities of the university—auditing courses, meeting regularly with faculty, attending university functions, accessing library resources, etc.
- Complete the project proposed in the application to the fellows program.
- Present a public lecture or demonstration, conduct a classroom session and/or offer some contemplative practice or artistic performance.
- Develop a plan for implementing the project after the residency. This may include a plan for publication, teaching, community service and so on.
- Acknowledge the fellowship support, as well as both Naropa University and the Frederick
P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, in all publications, performances or other
products resulting from the residency.
Q: What are you looking for in applications?
A: We will select fellows whose plans of study propose the integration of Buddhist Studies
with contemplative practice and illustrate a disciplinary, artistic or professional
commitment. No prior academic knowledge of Buddhism will be required of applicants,
although those applicants with prior meditation experience in one of the Buddhist
traditions will have an advantage. Applicants with experience or interest in a variety
of Buddhist traditions will be supported, though each year we hope to attract at least
one fellow with prior expertise or experience in Zen. Finally, applicants should demonstrate
a commitment to participate in a rigorous program of study while at Naropa and to
use the vehicle of the proposed project to integrate this study with their other professional
interests. (Please note: Only citizens and permanent residents of the United States
are eligible for the Fellowship Program.)
Q: What kinds of projects qualify for support?
A: There is no limit to the academic, artistic or professional focus of the fellowship
projects. We envision being able to support traditional academic scholarship, curriculum
development, social action projects, professional training modules, artistic productions,
and the like. The key is for projects to point to some issue in American social life
(education, the arts, economics, politics, etc.) and propose study within the Buddhist
tradition to address that issue.
Q: What are the previous projects that have been supported?
A: We have attracted Fellows from a variety of disciplines and institutions:
Melissa Rolnick, MFA
MEISA: Movement Exploration through Imagery and Sensory Awareness
Fall 2013 - Spring 2014
Douglas Lindner, PhD
Integration of Contemplative Practice into STEM Education in Higher Education
Sarah J. Heidt, PhD
Contemplative Pedagogies for Literary Studies
Heart to Organizations: Contemplativeness-Based Organizational Learning & Strategic Thinking
The Great Encounter: Why Buddhism and Modernity Need Each Other
Cary Gaunt, PhD
Cultivating Ecological Enlightenment: Buddhist Pathways to a Sustainable Way of Life
Philip Meckley, PhD
Raft of Straw: The Epistle of James as Jesus Sutra
Kim Russo, MFA
Contemporary artists and Buddhist practitioners
Elise Young, PhD
History as Dharma: Teaching the Middle East and Africa
Hillary Stephenson, PhD cand.
Addressing diversity issues through Zen practice
John Whalen-Bridge, PhD
Buddhism, literary adaptation and progressive politics
Elizabeth Lozano, PhD
Non-violent resistance in the U.S. and abroad
Erin McCarthy, PhD
Zen, ethics, and comparative feminist perspectives
Q: What are the Lenz Foundation and Naropa University hoping to accomplish with this fellowship program?
A: Both the foundation and the university are interested in the unique forms of Buddhism taking root in America. The fellowship program continues Naropa’s leadership role as the pre-eminent accredited university in North America for contemplative studies and a provider of education that integrates Eastern and Western traditions of scholarship and practice. Along with the Summer Seminar in contemplative pedagogy for university professors, the fellowship program enables Naropa to support professionals wanting to enrich their work and their home institutions and communities through a deeper understanding of Buddhism.
Of course, Naropa will no doubt be enriched by hosting fellows as well. It is our
hope that the fellows will energize the Naropa campus, by providing our students and
faculty with new conversation partners, by offering a public lecture or teaching a
course, and by serving as ambassadors to their home departments and disciplines. We
also know that new institutional partnerships, collaborative relationships and publications
carrying the name of the home institution and sponsoring foundation often live on
long after the fellows have completed their campus residency and project at Naropa.
Sponsoring multiple visiting fellows each year will provide Naropa faculty and students
with opportunities to network with individuals representing a variety of scholarly
and Buddhist traditions.
Q: Tell me more about the relationship between Lenz and Naropa University.
A: Naropa takes to heart the commitment of the Lenz Foundation to “contribute to the
establishment of unique American forms of Buddhist understanding and practice.” Like
Dr. Frederick P. Lenz, Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, recognized the
spiritual challenges that America’s fast-paced and materialist society holds for its
citizens. Both Lenz and Trungpa Rinpoche understood the contribution that Buddhism—albeit
a distinctly American one—can make to addressing these challenges. Naropa is proud
of its forty years of success in forging a unique model of liberal arts and professional
education and is delighted that the Lenz Foundation will expand our ability to influence
scholars and other professionals in this area for years to come. (See more information
about the Lenz Foundation.)
Q: What is the normal length of residency for a fellow?
A: Fellows will typically be invited to spend one semester on campus, though a longer
stay is possible to support a project of considerable depth and complexity. Our current
funding will provide support for one one-semester fellow during the 2015–16 academic
Q: What kinds of financial support are made available to fellows?
A: Typical stipends will range from $1,500 to $2,200 per month depending on two factors: The length of the Fellowship and the Fellow's projected total income during the Fellowship period. Fellowships will be three to eight months during the Fall and/or Spring academic semesters by mutual agreement. Sabbatical programs generally work on the principle of bringing a faculty member to "wholeness," that is, up to his or her regular income level. Fellows receiving other forms of support (e.g., full salary from their home institutions or grants) will receive a smaller stipend than those who, as is more typical, are receiving partial salary. Independent scholars and artists, and those taking leaves-without-pay from their home institutions, will typically receive the maximum award.
Fellows are responsible for locating their own housing for themselves, and for any
accompanying family members. Naropa staff will naturally provide fellows with information
on local sources of information, sublease options, etc.
Q: How do I apply?
A: There is no application form. Applicants are asked to provide a letter not exceeding four single-spaced pages detailing the following:
- Proposed project on the theme, Buddhism and American Culture & Values, including timeline and anticipated final product.
- Prior education, professional work and accomplishments that lay the foundation for the proposed project.
- Applicant’s prior study and/or involvement in meditation or other contemplative practice.
- Proposed plan of study while on the Naropa University campus, detailing courses, faculty, centers, etc., with which the applicant wishes to affiliate.
- Proposed lecture, teaching, workshop or other professional offering to the campus while in residency.
- Budget request, including estimates for travel to/from Boulder, and other sources of funding during the Fellowship residency.
Applicants must include a detailed resume, curriculum vitae or professional biography. In addition, for individuals on sabbatical or other leave from another institution, a letter of support from the applicant’s direct supervisor is required, including a statement about any sources of funding for the proposed leave. Independent scholars, artists and activists should include a letter from a colleague familiar with their work discussing the merits of the proposal.
Applications should be postmarked no later than December 1, 2014 and mailed to:
Lenz Residential Fellowship Program
c/o: Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302