Academic Catalog


IV.Special Academic Programs and Support: B. The Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement

The mission of the Lisska Center for Intellectual Engagement is to support research and scholarship, to foster intellectual community and academic enrichment among all Denisonians, and to provide an interdisciplinary space for the open exchange of ideas, perspectives, and arguments.

The Lisska Center encourages students at every stage of their academic career, from first-year students to seniors, to keep in touch with people at the Center, who will help them find and take advantage of opportunities such as those listed below.

1. Fellowships Advising

The Lisska Center staff assists students and recent alumni in applying for nationally and internationally competitive fellowships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Fellowships fund summer programs, study abroad programs, service projects, and postgraduate study and research both in the U.S. and abroad.

Examples of prestigious fellowships include the Rhodes Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship, Fulbright awards, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Science and Mathematics, the Morris K. Udall Scholarship in National Environmental Policy, National Science Foundation Fellowships, the Boren Scholarship for International Study, DAAD (German Academic Exchange) grants, and many others. Denison is proud of the many students and alumni who have won such awards over the years.

In collaboration with the Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, the Lisska Center also works with Denison faculty members interested in applying for nationally competitive fellowships and grants.

While some fellowship applications require an institutional endorsement and have a minimum GPA requirement, many do not. All interested students are encouraged to schedule an individual appointment and/or attend group information sessions. Comprehensive listings of national and international fellowships can be found on the Lisska Center's MyDenison page.

The Lisska Center provides intensive one-on-one support to those applying for any fellowship or grant opportunity, helping applicants identify appropriate opportunities, prepare their application materials, and write their application essays. The Lisska Center also coaches fellowship competition finalists preparing for interviews.

2. Summer Scholars Program

The Lisska Center coordinates Denison’s Summer Scholars Program. Each year, more than 120 students across all disciplines receive funding to support independent research under the close supervision of a faculty member, or full-time collaborative work with faculty members, during the summer. Summer Scholars projects do not confer credit hours and are not graded. Summer Scholars receive a stipend, housing allowance, and access to supplemental research funds. Faculty advisors also receive a stipend per student supervised (three students maximum). See the Summer Scholar Program section (VI. B.) for full details.

The Lisska Center holds information sessions and works closely with the Student Research Grants Committee (SRGC), which selects the recipients of Lisska Scholars, Early Experience, and Off-Campus Summer Scholars awards. The Lisska Center also works with the coordinators of the Anderson Summer Science Program, the Woodyard Scholars awards in the Department of Religion, the Ashbrook Summer Scholars awards, and the Battelle Summer Scholars awards. Guidelines can be found on the Lisska Center’s MyDenison page.

The Lisska Center approves and coordinates the logistics of all Summer Scholars stipend payments, housing, and supplemental research grants. These activities include hosting a kick-off luncheon as well as other events where Summer Scholars and faculty members share informal updates on their projects. The Lisska Center also organizes the early fall Summer Scholars poster sessions and performances where students present their final work.

3. Academic Funding Opportunities

The Lisska Center serves as a hub for funding student research and academic enhancement travel. Specifically:

  • The Course Enhancement Fund provides small amounts of funding to faculty members wishing to take a class on a field trip or other class activity.
  • The Student Academic Travel Fund provides up to $750 per student for travel to academic conferences to present papers or posters. Requests should be made to the Program Assistant of the Lisska Center.
  • The Undergraduate Research Fund provides up to $500 per student for conducting senior research or other research during the academic year. The SRGC reviews and approves all awards.
  • The Academic Enhancement Travel Fund supports students traveling individually or in small groups with a Denison faculty or staff member to conduct research, attend a conference or workshop (where they are not presenting a paper), or engage in similar activities not covered by other sources of funding (up to $1,000 per student over their four years in college).

The Lisska Center also administers a number of other Denison scholarships and awards, including the A. Blair Knapp Award, the Kenneth Joseph Hines Memorial Award, the Megan Lisska and Elin Lisska Christensen Award in the Humanities, and the Provost's Academic Excellence Award.

4. Intellectual Programming

The Lisska Center sponsors an array of programs and events designed to promote a culture of intellectual life on campus.

Research Tables

The purpose of Denison’s Research Tables is threefold: (1) to bring together faculty members from across the college and other institutions to explore various aspects of the liberal arts, using practices that sustain a strong academic community; (2) to create a forum for faculty members from different disciplines to learn from one another; and (3) to deepen the intellectual tone on campus by increasing opportunities for different disciplinary perspectives to intersect and new pathways among faculty and students to form.

Research Tables should focus on multidisciplinary issues of interest to participants who are committed to sustained intellectual exploration within the liberal arts. Research Tables may vary in scope, ranging from limited undertakings similar to reading groups (e.g., locally-based members, one-year time frame) to more ambitious projects (e.g., one or more outside faculty members, travel component, up to a three-year time frame). All Research Tables must culminate in a focused symposium that brings other scholars and practitioners to Denison. Research Table members must complete a final report summarizing the Research Table’s focus, activities, and outcomes in terms of student learning and faculty research.

Students in good academic standing may be invited by faculty sponsors to participate in a Research Table. Calls for new Research Tables are put out intermittently so that there are no more than four Research Tables running at any given time. Proposals are reviewed by the SRGC.

Other Activities

The Lisska Center coordinates the Minds Wide Open series of conversations led by faculty members and guests on their scholarly interests and/or other timely subjects. The Lisska Center also sponsors the Denison Debate Society.