Academic Catalog


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

The Lisska Center for Scholarly Engagement is Denison's hub for programs that promote dialogue and scholarly excellence on campus. Our mission is to (1) mentor and support students, recent alumni, and faculty applying for nationally- and internationally-competitive fellowships and scholarships; (2) coordinate the Summer Scholars programs; (3) provide funding for student research and academic enhancement travel; and (4) sponsor an array of multidisciplinary programs and events, including Research Tables and the Experimental College.

1. Fellowships Advising

The Lisska Center staff assists students and recent alumni 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.  We help applicants identify appropriate opportunities, prepare their application materials, and write their application essays. We also coach fellowship competition finalists preparing for interviews.

2. Summer Scholar Program

The Lisska Center coordinates Denison’s Summer Scholar 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 Scholar projects do not confer credit hours and are not graded. Summer Scholars receive a stipend ($4,000 for 10 weeks in 2018) and housing allowance allowance and supplemental research funds (up to $500 per student). 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 Young Scholar, Early Experience, and Off-Campus Summer Scholar awards. The Lisska Center also works with the coordinators of the Anderson Summer Science Program, the Woodyard Scholar awards in the Department of Religion, the Ashbrook Summer Scholar awards, and the Battelle Summer Scholar awards. Guidelines can be found on the Lisska Center’s MyDenison page.

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

3. Academic Enhancement 

The Lisska Center serves as a hub for funding for 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 $500 per student for travel to academic conferences to students presenting papers or posters. Requests should be made to the Assistant to the Director of the Lisska Center.
  • The Undergraduate Research Fund provides up to $500 per student for students 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 similar activity 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, K.I. Brown, and Alumnae Endowed Scholarships, the Kenneth Joseph Hines Memorial Award, the Malchow-Weigert Award for Excellence in German, the Megan Lisska and Elin Lisska Christiansen 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 Table’s 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.

Experimental College

The Experimental College is a program of student-led, non-credit classes. Teaching an Experimental College course gives students an opportunity to design a syllabus, guide classroom discussion, and engage a small group of peers in a topic of intellectual interest.  Students do not receive course credit for leading or taking the class.

Students interested in teaching an Experimental College course must submit a proposal, including a syllabus, to the Lisska Center for approval. All proposed Experimental College courses must have a designated faculty or staff advisor and must be approved by the Director and Associate Director of the Lisska Center and the Chair(s) of relevant academic departments. The Lisska Center will provide a certificate to students who attend all course sessions and satisfactorily complete the work for the course. The Center also offers a small amount of financial support to cover any costs of course preparation, supplies, and possible field trips. The Lisska Center will put out calls for a limited number of new Experimental College classes once or twice a year.

Faculty Events

The Lisska Center sponsors the Tuesday Faculty Lunch series, the Friday Faculty Lunches in Curtis, and the Faculty Research Dinners.

Other Activities

The Lisska Center hosts Chowder Hours, home-cooked lunches for students, faculty, and staff featuring presentations on the scholarship of an individual or group.The Lisska Center also coordinates the Monday Musings series of informal presentations led by faculty members on their scholarly interests.

Gilpatrick House

Housing is available for up to ten students who have done intensive research (such as Summer Scholars), or who will be doing independent research during the coming academic year.

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 research and scholarship opportunities appropriate for each student.