Public Research Fellows

PRF 23-24 Call For Faculty Fellows

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Program Theme: "Engaging Portland"

PRF is excited to announce the program's 23-24 theme: "Engaging Portland." 

How can UP engage with the neighborhoods and city around us in ways that invigorate our work, our students, and our mission as an institution committed to the common good? What would it look like to become—in our university President’s words—a University for Portland?

PRF calls for faculty fellows to develop undergraduate research or curricular projects animated by these questions; see the call below for details and how to apply. Applications due Tuesday, April 18th!

Read the 23-24 "Engaging Portland" Call for Faculty Fellows here. 

Download the 23-24 "Engaging Portland" Call and Application

Humanities Student Focus Group Lunch

Humanities Student Focus Group Lunch Flyer

Exploring the Humanities at UP from the Student Perspective

Wednesday, March 29, 11:45-1:00pm

This Spring, the Public Research Fellows program is gathering information about the experience of being a humanities student at UP. With the support of an NEH grant, PRF is laying the foundation for a humanities hub on campus and we want to better understand how a humanities-based organization can provide resources and support for students as they study on campus and prepare for life after graduation. What challenges and opportunities do students see for the humanities? How do humanities students think about the connections between their majors/minors and their future goals?

To explore these questions, we’re hosting a catered focus group lunch on Wednesday, March 29, 11:45-1:00pm to find out what it’s like to study the humanities at UP from the student perspective. If you’re a humanities major or minor (English, History, ILC, PFA, Philosophy, Theology), we’d love to have you join us. There are 12 spots available and participants will have their choice of gourmet sandwiches, snacks, and drinks; RSVP to Dr. Jen McDaneld ( to reserve your spot!

Interested in lending your perspective but can’t make the lunch? Please take our short survey to tell us a bit about your experience in the humanities at UP.

Humanities Student Focus Group Lunch Flyer

Engaged Humanities Institute

Engaged Humanities Call for Applicants

May 11-12, 2023; $1000 stipend

The Public Research Fellows, with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and UP's Core, invite applications for our pilot Engaged Humanities Institute, a two-day workshop to support faculty from all UP schools, disciplines, and ranks in developing engaged humanities pedagogical approaches for new or revised courses. Check out the call below for details and how to apply; applications are due March 31!

Call for Applicants

Call for Laurie McLary Public Research Scholarship Applicants

Scholarship call.

$2500 award; apply by Friday, September 2nd

PRF is seeking a research fellow for 2022-23 to assist in managing, documenting, and publicizing our work on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in addition to supporting continued program building. The selected student will receive the annual Laurie McLary PRF Scholarship of $2500; the donor’s preference is for the scholarship to be awarded to a female BIPOC student with financial need. Check out the call for applicants and spread the word!

Call for PRF Scholarship Applicants

Program Wins NEH Grant; Introduces PRF 22-23 "Engaging Humanities"

NEH Seal.

PRF is excited to announce that two of its co-founders, Molly Hiro and Jen McDaneld, have won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for their project “Core Humanities: Integration Through Curriculum, Campus, and Community.” The grant will fund the development of engaged humanities core Exploration courses and the foundational planning of an Engaged Humanities Hub to support the long-term advancement of the humanities on UP’s campus.

Read more about the grant and next year's PRF program

The 21-22 PRF Showcase

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Thursday, April 21, 5-7pm

Join us in Franz Hall for an interactive open house as the program's working groups unveil their projects. Come by to check out what our interdisciplinary teams have been creating all year, from experiential studies of art and wellness, to narrative exploration of Portland's food cultures, to multimodal investigation of the UP community's experiences during the pandemic. Free snacks and drinks. All are welcome!

Click here for more details and event flyer

PRF 2022 Spring Series

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Humanities "Versus" STEM?: A Roundtable

The Public Research Fellows kicks off its Spring Series exploring interdisciplinarity with a faculty-student discussion of disciplinary stereotypes and how we might move beyond them at UP. Join us on Thursday, Feb. 3, 4:00-5:15pm in the Bauccio Dining Room for a lively conversation about perceived divides between our disciplines, how they affect our teaching and learning, and the potential in thinking across them. And stay tuned for follow-up student and faculty workshop where participants can get hands-on experience with putting interdisciplinarity to work.


Event details and flyer

Introducing the 2021-22 PRF Working Groups

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The program is pleased to introduce the 21-22 PRF working groups that will collaborate across the year to explore a variety of timely topics, from Portland foodways, to art therapy and mental health, to the opportunities and challenges presented by the return to campus after the remote year. Drawing from disciplines across campus, including English, Environmental Studies, Psychological Sciences, Health and Wellness, and the Performing Arts, the working groups bring faculty and students together to collectively design, build, and disseminate research in public-facing ways. The working group model will showcase the humanities as a hub for the creation of exciting interdisciplinary work on campus and in our communities.

PRF 21-22 Working Groups

PRF Year 3: Call for Proposals

PRF 21-22 CFP

Are you interested in developing innovative public-facing research projects in a supported environment? Have you wanted to work more interdisciplinarily but haven’t been sure where to start? We invite you to participate in the third-annual Public Research Fellows, a program of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Humanities Collaborative that supports exploration of broad humanistic questions through publicly-engaged research and teaching. A key goal of PRF is to create conversations and collaboration beyond the typical confines of our campus culture and our scholarly disciplines.

See the 21-22 CFP below for details and how to apply. 

Monday, May 17, 3pm PDT: Attend an informal Zoom session to learn more. 

Interested in becoming a Student Fellow? See the PRF Call for Student Fellows.

PRF 21-22 CFP

The 2021 PRF Showcase

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Thursday, Apr. 29, 7:00-8:15pm PDT

The Public Research Fellows invite you to a showcase of the program’s 20-21 work. Students and faculty fellows will unveil their projects and be on hand to guide attendees through a variety of lenses for thinking about our theme, Displacement and Justice. From a podcast that explores displacement through the experience of first-generation students, to an interactive map that uses Portland African American literature to tell local stories of displacement, to a virtual performance that thinks through displacement with music—the PRF teams have created a range of exciting projects that use innovative, accessible forms to expand our ideas of what research can look like. Join us for this interactive event to get inspired about the possibilities in your own work and learn more about how displacement manifests in local contexts and beyond.

Join the Zoom event here.

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Public Humanities at UP: Imagining PRF's Future

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Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021, 4:00-5:15pm PDT

What does the work of the PRF program look like in practice, and how could it inspire your own work? Whether you're a faculty member looking to refresh your teaching and research by experimenting with public engagement, or a student seeking opportunities to connect your learning to timely issues in our communities, we invite you to join us for an interactive discussion of the public humanities at UP. Topics will include: the central tenets of the public humanities; how the PRF program works and how to get involved; and collective brainstorming of future annual themes and potential community partnerships.

Join the Zoom event here.

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Displacement and (In)Justice in Portland: A Roundtable with Community Leaders

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Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, 5:00-6:15pm PST

Join us for a roundtable discussion that brings together community leaders to discuss an ever-pressing issue in Portland: Displacement and Justice. From houselessness to redlining, Portland's politics of displacement have impacted already marginalized communities. By centering community-led efforts, the event seeks to conceptualize justice considering injustices experienced by the displaced.

Watch a recording of the event here.

Event Flyer

The Fight to Vote: Engaging the Public in Suffrage


Panel Discussion, Thursday, 6-7pm on Zoom

As we look ahead to November, voting rights have never been a more important part of the national conversation. But what are the best ways to engage the public on this vital issue? And how can academic work make a real difference in how we understand the history of the vote and its meaning today? Join us for a panel discussion featuring students, faculty, and activists as they talk about their work in the inaugural 2019-2020 year of the Public Research Fellows program and in the community. 

Access the Webinar Here

Register to Vote in Oregon Here

Event Flyer

Virtual Talk by Dr. Brittney Cooper

Brittney Cooper.
Friday, Sept. 4, 3:30-4:30pm (PDT)
Please join us for a virtual talk by Dr. Brittney Cooper, titled "Trust Black Women: The Importance of Black Women in U.S. Politics." Cooper will discuss the struggle for Black women's suffrage and the historical role of Black women's vote, making the case for why there is no progressive politics in America without Black women. Cooper's address will be followed by a Q&A with attendees.
Follow the link below to register and feel free to share with others who may be interested in attending what is sure to be a provocative discussion with resonance for the upcoming election season.
Cooper's talk will kick off the Public Research Fellows Fall Virtual Series, a set of online events that bring the UP campus and the local community together to explore a timely theme. Stay tuned for more details!

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About the Program

Public Research Fellows.

The Public Research Fellows program engages faculty and students in collaborative research in a public humanities project centered around a year-long theme.

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More About the Program

2019-2020 Theme

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This year's theme is the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Faculty fellows from a variety of humanities disciplines will work with students to co-develop and implement public-facing projects that take the historic and contemporary topics of women’s voices, civil rights, and political engagement as a prompt.

More About the Suffrage Centennial

Public Humanities

Public Humanities Image.

The public humanities draws on the humanities’ powerful modes of inquiry—things like interpreting, historicizing, raising questions, and analyzing discourse—to address pressing concerns in our local communities, in our wider publics, and in our everyday lived experience. To produce these impacts, public humanities methods toward collaboration—across disciplines, and across campus/community borders, using innovative forms of dissemination that can reach a wider, more diverse variety of publics and open up new avenues of civic engagement.

More About Public Humanities

PRF News

photo of Franz Hall in Spring

University of Portland Public Research Fellows Program secures grants inspired by Centennial of Women’s Suffrage

The University of Portland’s inaugural Public Research Fellows Program has landed three external grants to support public humanities undergraduate research projects inspired by this year’s 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation has awarded $14,582, the Juan Young Trust has granted $10,000, and the Jackson Foundation has given $7,500 to fund projects that explore the suffrage movement, voting rights and women’s political voices in the modern era. The program has also received a $2,500 sponsorship from US Bank.

Read the news release

Beacon Article

PRF featured in The Beacon

"The 2019-20 academic year will host the inaugural Public Research Fellows program at the University of Portland, centered on the centennial of U.S. women’s suffrage..." Read the article.

Read more news about Public Research Fellows