Engaged Scholar Initiative
Welcome from Dr. Mia Carter
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform…”
- Ben Okri, The Famished Road
The Engaged Scholar Initiative: A Texas Model (ESI) aims to honor the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s visionary goals of enhancing and further expanding the relationships between public universities and communities in the United States. The ESI project joins a number of The University of Texas at Austin’s programs with deep investments in community and a rich history of scholarly and civic collaboration. The Mellon Foundation’s $2 million dollar funding of the project is, in part, a tribute to The University, to institutional interdisciplinary treasures like the Humanities Institute and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and to the numerous luminary scholars, Departments, and Centers housed on campus and in the College of Liberal Arts.
Engagement signifies many things: commitment, attachment, participation, employment, activity, unity, interconnection, and mutuality. The Engaged Scholar Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin celebrates interdisciplinary research as a dynamic and evolving conversation about humanity and society in the Twenty-First Century. Intellectual alliances, cross-pollinating ideas, renewed and re-imagined partnerships are desired scholarly and communal goals for the present and the future, and will be the undertaking of the graduate and undergraduate ESI fellows. The ESI Fellows are mutual celebrants of the world of knowledge, culture, history, politics, ethics, the arts and languages, and the imagination. The ESI project aspires to amplify the educational resources available to the Ph.D. and undergraduate fellows beyond the parameters of their traditional research disciplines, in order to increase the benefits to the scholars and the communities in which they work and live.
What is asked of the ESI Fellow? A commitment to creative and risk-taking research; an inclination toward affiliation and translation; a vibrant sense of civic and intellectual engagement; and a shared endeavor to make public-facing scholarship a mission of generosity and conviction.