Humanities Research Center Workshops for Spring 2018

“Why Podcasting? Podcasts and the Future of Storytelling”

Wednesday February 21, 12.30-2.00pm, Humanities Research Center Seminar Room (Second Floor), 920 W. Franklin Street

Podcasts—downloadable audio programs—have been around for over a decade, but in recent years their popularity has exploded. Podcasts are everywhere these days, and more than a quarter of Americans age 12 or older listen to podcasts at least once a month. This Humanities Research Center workshop will explore the current boom of podcasting and how podcasts are revolutionizing the way that academics tell stories, disseminate their work to a wider audience, and develop connections with other academics and professionals across a range of industries.

Our guests include Liz Covart, Digital Projects Editor at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, creator and host of the hugely popular history podcast “Ben Franklin’s World,” and Chioke I’Anson, underwriting voice of NPR, co-creator and host of the new NPR Story Lab podcast, “Do Over,” and Instructor in the Department of African American Studies at VCU.


Applying for CHS Seed Grants

Thursday March 1, 2.00-3.30pm, Humanities Research Center Seminar Room (Second Floor), 920 W. Franklin Street

Last fall, the Dean’s Office announced an important new program to fund faculty scholarship. The Scholarship Catalyst and Seed Awards are meant to foster research and scholarship in all fields across the College and are open to all full-time CHS faculty. Applications for Seed Awards (up to $5K) are due March 15 (see Associate Dean Scott Gronert’s email of October 20 for more details).

This workshop will give Humanities faculty applying for these seed grants an opportunity to share, discuss, and so refine their draft proposals. Those who wish to participate should let Brooke Newman ( know as soon as possible and submit a draft proposal for circulation to other participants by end of business on Friday February 23. Faculty with experience in submitting and winning grants will be on hand to offer feedback and suggestions.


How To Write A Lot, with author Paul J. Silvia

Thursday March 15, 12.30-2.00pm, Humanities Research Center Seminar Room (Second Floor), 920 W. Franklin Street

All students and professors need to write, and many struggle to finish their dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, or grant proposals. Writing is hard work and can be difficult to wedge into a frenetic academic schedule. In his practical, light-hearted, and encouraging book, How To Write A Lot, Paul Silvia (Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro) explains that writing productively does not require innate skills or special traits but specific tactics and actions. Drawing examples from his own field of psychology, he shows how to overcome motivational roadblocks and become prolific without sacrificing evenings, weekends, and vacations. After describing strategies for writing productively, Silvia gives detailed advice from the trenches on how to write, submit, revise, and resubmit articles, how to improve writing quality, and how to write and publish academic work.


Applying for Humanities Research Center Residential Fellowships

Tuesday 14th November at 12.30pm
Humanities Research Center, Seminar Room 201, 920 W. Franklin Street

Each year the Humanities Research Center’s Residential Fellowship Program gives four faculty members who are working on related topics release from all teaching responsibilities in the Spring Semester so that they can focus on their individual research projects and at the same time engage regularly with each other. The goal is to foster intellectual exchange and to enhance the quality of research at VCU by exposing faculty to different perspectives and methodologies. Applicants must demonstrate in their proposals the specific benefits to their individual projects that they anticipate as a result of engaging with the other group members. The deadline for the group convening in Spring 2019 is February 9, 2018. Successful groups in previous years have met and planned far ahead of the deadline to ensure an integrated and compelling application package.

This workshop will offer guidance to VCU faculty members in the humanities seeking to put together a compelling group application for a Humanities Research Center Residential Fellowship. Richard Godbeer, Director of the Humanities Research Center, and Brooke Newman, Associate Director of the Humanities Research Center, will be on hand to answer questions and offer strategies for finding colleagues in different departments working on related topics.

All tenured and tenure-eligible members of faculty in the humanities at VCU are welcome to attend.


Preparing a Book Manuscript for Submission to University Presses

Tuesday 17 October
Humanities Research Center, Seminar Room 201, 920 W. Franklin Street

10:30 – 12:00 | Presentation followed by Q&A
12:15 – 2:00 | Lunch, accompanied by discussion of sample book proposals

Led by Elizabeth Sherburn Demers, Senior Acquisitions Editor, American History and American Studies, and Catherine Goldstead, Assistant Acquisitions Editor, Literary Studies and Chesapeake Regional, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Faculty and graduate students are welcome to attend either or both sessions.



Preparing for Annual Evaluations and Promotion Reviews

Monday 13th February at 2pm
Humanities Research Center, Seminar Room 201, 920 W. Franklin Street

A panel of faculty with extensive experience in the faculty evaluation process here at VCU and elsewhere, including Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Winnie Chan, who is currently responsible for overseeing this process in our College, will be on hand to answer questions and address concerns about this sometimes perplexing and stressful part of our professional lives. The panel will discuss how best to prepare for each stage of the process and there will also be an update on recent changes in evaluation procedure at VCU.

Mentor-Hunting in the Academy

Tuesday 28th March at 2pm
Humanities Research Center, Seminar Room 201, 920 W. Franklin Street

This workshop will discuss strategies for finding advice and support from peers, from senior colleagues at one’s own institution, and from more experienced scholars within one’s academic field at other institutions.