Postdoctoral Researchers in the Humanities and Arts: Call for Preliminary Proposals from Departments and Centers

Sponsored by the Humanities and the Arts Discovery Theme

Fall 2018-Spring 2020
The Ohio State University

The Office of Academic Affairs’ Discovery Themes program has allocated funds to support up to four postdoctoral researchers in the humanities and arts in 2018-19 and 2019-20. This program builds on the Postdoctoral Partnership Initiative in the humanities supported at Ohio State by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Discovery Themes from 2016-2018 as well as the postdoctoral positions supported by the Transnational Black Citizenship pilot project and the Center for Ethics and Human Values.

About this opportunity

  • The postdoctoral researcher positions, which are defined as a specific appointment category within the university, are open to scholars and artists who have completed the PhD, MFA, or other terminal degree.
  • Positions must support research and creative work that enhances collaboration with and among faculty in the arts and humanities in any unit at Ohio State.
  • Priority will be given to research areas and position duties that are focused on understanding the human dimensions of current global challenges (including historical, cultural, or other contexts). Proposals that advance understanding of issues related to diversity and inclusion are particularly encouraged.
  • Each researcher must have a minimum of two faculty mentors who agree to work as a collaborative group. Preference will be given to proposals that bring together mentors from different units or disciplines.
  • The budget for each position will include a $50,000 annual salary, benefits, up to $7000 in relocation and/or start-up research costs, and up to $2000 in computing equipment and support.  All costs will be covered through the Humanities and the Arts Discovery Theme.
  • Hosting units must provide office space for the researchers.
  • Each postdoctoral researcher will receive 12-month appointments for up to two years for the period beginning August 15, 2018 and ending on August 14, 2020.
  • If a postdoctoral researcher leaves at the end of the first year, the host unit(s) may identify and appoint another postdoctoral researcher for the duration of the two-year term.
  • Units applying may be departments, centers, or institutes. Units may apply individually or jointly. In the latter case, if the proposal is successful, the postdoctoral researcher will be jointly appointed.
  • If a center or institute is applying individually (as opposed to jointly with department) and does not offer any courses or curricular programs, arrangements must be made with the chair of a department or director of a program for the postdoctoral researcher to have teaching opportunities.
  • Host units are responsible for the recruitment and mentoring of the postdoctoral researchers. For purposes of Discovery Themes reporting, host units must gather information related to the search, appointment, mentorship, and eventual placement of the postdoctoral researcher.
  • Those appointed as postdocs must devote 50 percent of their time to research, and 50 percent of their time to teaching, participation in college and university programs (such as working groups or faculty seminars) and professional development according to their interests and the goals of the host units. It is expected that they will teach a minimum of one course in the fall and spring semesters.
  • Postdoctoral researchers must engage in some capacity with undergraduate students outside of the classroom and develop a plan with their mentors for meeting regularly with other postdocs and faculty in the college and the university.

Preliminary Proposals

Units interested in hosting a postdoctoral researcher are asked to review the information above and answer the questions below. Selected departments and/or centers and institutes will be invited to submit a full proposal, which will include information about faculty mentors, a position description outlining specific projects and teaching to be undertaken by the researcher, and a description of the search process. Once the hosting units are identified, they will be responsible for conducting a search and selecting a postdoctoral researcher.

Please submit preliminary proposals to Professor Wendy S. Hesford, Discovery Theme faculty director, at by January 22, 2018. Preliminary proposals may be attached as a Word or PDF document, or inserted directly into the body of an email.

Preliminary proposals should include the following:

  1. Name of the proposed host department and, if a joint proposal, the names of collaborating departments, centers, and/or institutes.
  2. Name and email address of the preferred contact person.
  3. Brief (three-to-four sentence) answers to the following questions:
    1. How will a postdoctoral researcher contribute toward the academic mission of the host unit(s)?
    2. How will this position contribute to an understanding of the human dimensions of global challenges?
    3. How will the postdoctoral researcher be involved in undergraduate mentorship and/or teaching?
    4. What are your ideas for building community for or collaborative projects with postdoctoral researcher beyond the hosting department or center?

Contact Information

For questions or concerns, please contact Professor Wendy S. Hesford at