Purpose Project 2021 Request for Proposals

Purpose Project
Call for Proposals

Due: May 15

Questions: Jesse Summers

The Purpose Project at Duke—a campus wide, faculty led effort cultivating moral purpose, fostering virtuous community and promoting flourishing professions. The project first began with a single class sponsored by the Arts & Sciences Dean of Academic Affairs to explore questions of purpose, meaning and wellbeing. But both faculty interest from across campus and student demand has enabled the effort to now include a broad and varied range of faculty led interventions including several dozen first year seminars taught by faculty across all divisions in A&S, undergraduate summer programs to engage students in what it means to pursue particular professions, winter break workshops to engage with particular questions or disciplines, year-long graduate and professional student workshops on purpose, race and the professions, signature classes for graduate/professional students, workshops for faculty and community members, work with alumni and more.

The effort is now funded by two 5-year grants from The Duke Endowment, one to the Provost Office focused on undergraduate education and the second to the Divinity School focused on graduate and professional education.

We are now seeking proposals from all schools for both undergraduate and graduate and professional (including projects that involve undergraduate and graduate/professional students together), curricular or co-curricular interventions and experiments that seek explicitly to do one or more of the following:

  1. Cultivate moral purpose or practical wisdom
  2. Foster virtuous community
  3. Promote flourishing professions

We are especially interested in proposals that are either a product of cross-school collaborations or bridge the undergraduate/graduate professional divide. A significant aspect of the project is development of innovative assessment tools to understand best practices around cultivating purpose and character and all selected proposals will participate in shared assessment.

Proposals should be no more than 3 pages in length and include a both brief budget and timeline. They should demonstrate clear departmental or school buy-in. Proposals will be considered in three categories: under $25,000; under $50,000; and under $100,000. We expect to award at least one grant in each category for next year.

Awards will be reviewed by a committee of faculty and administrators drawn from across campus.