UT Austin Humanities Institute Awards Grants to Local Nonprofit Professionals

The Humanities Institute at The University of Texas at Austin has awarded three 2015 Community Sabbatical Research Grants, which provide paid flexible leave time, faculty consultants and access to the university libraries to three staff members of nonprofit organizations based in Central Texas.

The sabbatical gives participants the opportunity to research an issue or develop new programming that will benefit their organizations or constituencies. Successful applicants receive stipends of $5,000. Each grantee is matched with at least one university faculty member with related expertise who collaborates on the proposed project. Applications are reviewed by a committee that includes previous participants in the program.

"Since 2005, this unique program has supported 24 directors and staff members of Central Texas nonprofits in their efforts to better understand and better serve community needs," said Pauline Strong, director of the Humanities Institute in the College of Liberal Arts. "Grant recipients and collaborating faculty all appreciate the opportunity to work on research projects that have a direct impact on the community."

This year's recipients serve organizations concerned with the well-being of veterans, immigrants and Texas cultural heritage.

  • Justin DeBrosse, a program manager at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, will work to evaluate the effectiveness of the English Forward curriculum for teaching English as a Second Language.
  • Charlie Lockwood, the operations and development director of Texas Folklife, will investigate best practices for preserving and circulating traditional Texas music.
  • Max Rayneard, a senior writer and producer for The Telling Project, will examine the impact of storytelling on the veterans and audiences that participate in his organization's performances.

All will offer a public presentation of their research results.

Profiles of previous Community Sabbatical grantees may be found at www.utexas.edu/cola/insts/humanitiesinstitute/programs/overview.php