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Program in Public Scholarship

Our Role at Rackham

Welcome to the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship. We provide workshops, grants, programs, and professional development opportunities for graduate students from any field. Our programming supports research and teaching, as well as projects co-created with community partners and organizations that reach public audiences and have impacts beyond the university.

We support graduate students looking to deepen their public engagement and professional development through four core offerings: The Institute for Social Change, Engaged Pedagogy Initiative, Public Scholarship Grants, and Public Engagement Fellowships at sites across Southeast Michigan.

All of our programs are co-curricular. They are designed to supplement work in your home department or program. There is no required sequence and students may participate in as many as fit their needs.

Mission

The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship supports collaborative scholarly and creative endeavors that engage communities and co-create public goods. We believe that the work of scholars and artists can enrich civic and community life. Pursuing such work, in dialogue with the public, enriches university research, teaching, and creative expression. We support students’ academic and professional development through programs designed to cultivate the next generation of public scholars.

What Is Public Scholarship?

Imagining America, a national advocacy and professional organization for publicly engaged scholars, defines this work as follows:

“Public Scholarship refers to diverse modes of creating and circulating knowledge for and with the public and communities. It often involves mutually-beneficial partnerships between higher education and organizations in the public and private sectors. Its goals include enriching research, creative activity, and public knowledge; enhancing curriculum, teaching and learning; preparing educated and engaged citizens; strengthening democratic values and civic responsibility; addressing and helping to solve critical social problems; and contributing to the public good.”

History

The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship began at the University of Michigan in 1998 as the Arts of Citizenship Program. Arts of Citizenship was an effort to build new bridges between the university and communities off campus through arts and humanities projects. The guiding principle of the program was mutual benefit, the idea that the work of scholars and artists could do much to enrich civic and community life and that in pursuing such work in public and in dialogue with the public does much to enrich university research, teaching, and creative expression. Some of the first projects ranged from a teaching partnership, partly funded by the Michigan Humanities Council, that brought together U-M faculty and students and Ann Arbor public school teachers to create a community based history curriculum of the city’s riverfront neighborhood to a forum on museum design with local, regional, and national leaders. During the program’s evolution, grant-making and partnerships with community-based and cultural organizations have been central to successfully bridging the interests of scholars with the needs and input of communities outside the university.

Since becoming a program of the Rackham Graduate School in 2010, Arts of Citizenship has widened its disciplinary reach, garnering student participation from 51 graduate degree programs across campus. This disciplinary expansion informed the program’s renaming in 2016. The Rackham Program in Public Scholarship reflects the expansion of these programs beyond the arts and culture disciplines to the social science and STEM fields. It also situates U-M in the national public scholarship movement, a movement that extends research and pedagogy into spaces beyond the university as a means of building new knowledge and sharing ideas that enrich higher education and the broader community.

Today, the disciplines we serve have expanded, but the core values of mutual benefit, engaged learning, and public impact continue to guide the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship. We support students’ academic and professional development through programs designed to cultivate the next generation of public scholars.

Contact the Program in Public Scholarship

1530 Rackham Building
915 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1070

Hours

The Program in Public Scholarship is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The office is closed Saturdays and Sundays and on the following holidays: Thanksgiving (Thursday and the following Friday), Christmas through New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4), and Labor Day.