Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowship


Call for applications 2021

Partnership between two scholars: one from Liberal Arts and the other from single-discipline programme


The Covid Pandemic has prompted us to reflect with some alarm on the status of the undergraduate, Bachelor degree studies in Europe. Among other things, education was forced to move primarily online.  Some educators see this as a means to a more efficient way to teach Bachelor students in the future. The vast majority of Bachelor degrees are in single-discipline studies and the courses consist of lectures in large classrooms combined with 1-2 often multiple-choice exams. This is the model that, if unchanged, seems quite easily transferable to online education. However, 2020 also showed how taxing online education is on the mental well-being and psyche of students. It demonstrated – as we all experience being forced into isolation — how important are social and casual interactions, face-to-face conversation among students and teachers and a vibrant Campus life.

The post-Covid period offers an opportunity for educators and administrators from single or mono-discipline programs and those familiar with the Liberal Arts model to re-evaluate Bachelor education in light of recent experience. Are there elements of the liberal Arts that can be incorporated into traditional Bachelor programs? We believe that conversation between scholars from the two groups can result in narrowing the gap between the two models.

The Liberal Arts and Sciences have stressed the importance of student-centered teaching and small seminar classes combined with numerous extracurricular activities. It is this combination that improves students’ educational experience and enhances soft or intellectual skills. We have warned about the status of the Bachelor degree in Europe in the ECOLAS Manifesto. Its assertions have become even more urgent with the Pandemic. Thus, we want to make it the common ground for applicants for this year’s Julie Johnson Kidd Fellowship.

The 2021 Fellowship seeks to facilitate cooperation between scholars from Liberal Arts and mono-discipline programs within Europe. It offers 8 scholarships for joint projects designed between 2 scholars – one from the Liberal Arts programme and the other from any single discipline department. The two scholars should come from different institutions and special consideration would be given to applicants from different European countries. Either a scholar from the Liberal Arts might seek collaboration from a colleague from a single-discipline department or vice versa and, together they can apply for a JJK Scholarship. (In the latter case ECOLAS is willing to facilitate such a contact with scholars from our Liberal Arts network of institutions.)

The application should outline how key elements of Liberal Arts learning might be implemented in order to increase the quality within a single-discipline Bachelor programme. :As an example, applicants may propose:

(i) A series of conversations and recommendations on how the Liberal Arts model of education could improve and supplement a mono-discipline Bachelor studies. There should be concrete steps and proposals to benefit a department or to a university as a whole.


(ii)  A proposal for designing an innovative joint course to combine students from both LAS and a single-discipline studies. (They may decide to teach such a course together in the future.)

ECOLAS will organize a bi-monthly ZOOM meeting among the scholars participating in the JJK Fellowship program in order to exchange their experiences and offer feedback to other participants. At the end of the project, all the participating scholars would be invited to a workshop to discuss their results. The discussion will also address new institutional strategies including an ECOLAS proposal to develop a 4th year as a kind of gap year in the Liberal Arts for Bachelor graduates of study programmes in narrow disciplines and the ECOLAS Manifesto.

In order to apply, fill in the application form and send it to info@ecolas.eu. Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Is the application complete and comprehensive? (Only one of the two scholars apply.)
  2. The merit of the proposed project and its potential for success.
  3. The relationship of the proposed project to the general aims of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  4. Are the partners from one institution, the same country or international?

There will be up to 8 Scholarships worth 1500 Eur each awarded this year. Deadline for submission of applications is May 17, 2021. The selection results will be published by 31 May, 2021.  The awarded applicants will be contacted through ECOLAS office.