Peer Mentoring Clusters Grants
Application Opens: December 2, 2023
Application Deadline: March 20, 2024
Peer Mentoring Cluster Grants support the development of small groups of peers whose interactions enrich and strengthen teaching and the teaching life. The grants, awarded in amounts up to $10,000, serve full-time BIPOC faculty who teach Religion or Theology at colleges, universities and theological schools in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. These small groups make space for learning, professional growth, mutual support, and communal care.
Peer mentoring conversations–helpful in all seasons of a career–can surface ways to meet the demands of teaching and administrative responsibilities. Minoritized faculty face particular challenges and pressures. Fostering collaborative dialogues of solidarity through peer mentoring is critical for thriving in the academy, providing BIPOC colleagues with strategies to navigate career issues and work-life balance. Peer Mentoring Cluster Grants strengthen those committed to mutually advancing the professional and personal effectiveness of teaching in higher education and theological education.
Typically, the clusters are designed for 6-8 gatherings over the arc of a year–within the parameters of the Wabash Center mission. At least one gathering must be a face-to-face retreat. The conversational focus of PMC Grant, decided while writing the proposal, must be some aspect, practice, or issue of teaching or the teaching life.
The Wabash Center encourages the exploration and utilization of the following principles and practices in the cluster’s design and planning:
- Peer Mentoring Clusters honor a communal approach toward relationship building, which engenders reciprocity.
- Peer Mentoring Clusters consider norms of engagement that deemphasize hierarchy and encourage circular/communal models for mentoring.
- Peer Mentoring Clusters thrive when cluster members relate through compassion, curiosity, honest communication, and collaboration.
- Peer-to-peer mentoring flourishes when cluster members work together to curate a hospitable gathering space that is safe, brave, and sacred where peers can bring their whole self.
- Peer-to-peer mentoring flourishes when cluster members work together to cultivate a relational environment that privileges concern for healthy growth and facilitates collegial exploration and learning.
- Peer-to-Peer mentoring can help cluster members identify pedagogical postures, practices, habits, and tools that build from your wholeness.
- Peer-to-Peer mentoring can help cluster members consider and engage the multiple kinds of support, coaching, guidance, training, and continued education needed for the potential long-arch of the teaching life.
- are focused upon the needs of BIPOC scholars’ identities and professional thriving
- are imaginative and creative concerning ways to strengthen and enrich teaching and the teaching life
- clearly communicate a focus for each of the peer-to-peer BIPOC clusters as well as a clear focus for each of the meetings over a year’s time
- emphasize cultural celebration
- emphasize cultural and racial identity (communal and personal)
- facilitate issues of repair, restoration, healing, resilience, and agency
- are designed with the intention to deepen collegial connections among cluster members through activities, conversations, encounters, discoveries and mutual care
- engage mind, body, and spirit through embodied practices and rituals
- emphasize the distinctiveness of the schools’ contexts inhabited by each participant
- build a network of support for the exploration of employment context, vocation, and the teaching life ate space to foster dialogues of honesty, vulnerability, and empowerment
The funding for this program will be sent to the business office of the school where the project director is employed to be dispersed according to the approved budget.
Because of the small size of the grant amount, there will be no indirect costs allocated to the hosting institution. Any significant changes occurring in the makeup of the participants or the structure of the gatherings needs to be checked with the Wabash Center.
Meeting of Cluster Leaders:
Each year, Wabash Center convenes cluster leaders (project directors), whose proposals have been accepted, for a required initial meeting. This (online) meeting is scheduled for May 1, 2024 at 12pm ET. The aim of this meeting is to help cluster leaders increase capacity for designed conversations, community formation, and processes of mentoring. The meeting conversation includes sharing plans and designs with one another to strengthen and refine all the groups.
All grants require a final report that reviews and analyzes the things learned in the course of the grant project and that accounts for the funds spent. Reports are due 30 days after the close of the grant period. Consult your grant contract for deadlines specific to your grant.
Additional questions, please contact:
Gina Robinson, Ph.D
Associate Director, Wabash Center