The ACA Faculty Fellowship Program

The Appalachian College Association's Faculty Fellowship Program is the longest running program of the ACA. The Fellowship Endowment is supported by foundations (notably the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the McCune Foundation and others), member schools, and individual contributions.

In 1990, presidents of ACP member colleges, organized the Appalachian College Association to ensure a stable administrative base for the continuation of faculty development opportunities and to encourage the exploration of other collaborative ventures.  The ACA received its first major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1991 for continued support of the Faculty Fellowship Program. The ACA completed a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2000 which further boosted the endowment for faculty fellowships and development.   

Fellowships named in honor of Jean Ritchie, and the late Wilma Dykeman Stokely and John B. Stephenson are awarded annually and policy requires that at least 75 percent of fellowship funds be given to faculty in the arts and sciences, as defined by the Carnegie Foundation.  The fellowships provide from $3,000 to $30,000 for pre- or post-doctoral study.  Fellowships are awarded for a short term (generally summer, maximum $6,000), one semester (maximum $15,000), or an academic year (maximum $30,000).


To be eligible to apply for and receive a fellowship, applicants must be full-time faculty members at an ACA institution, have held their current teaching position for at least two years, agree to return to their ACA institution to teach for at least twice the term of the fellowship (a minimum of one academic year), and arrange leave time for the fellowship. Fellowships may be renewed providing the Fellowship Review Committee believes that the applicant used the previous fellowship to make significant progress towards achieving his/her professional goals. Proposals for fellowship renewals must go through the entire application process.

Fellowship recipients are selected by the Fellowship Review Committee: graduate school deans (or designees) from the ACA’s Affiliated Research Universities (University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee –Knoxville, University of Virginia, West Virginia University, and Virginia Tech) and chief academic officers from ACA schools elected by the ACA Deans’ Council for rotating, three-year terms.

Fellowship funds are paid to the institution, not to the fellowship recipient. For one-and two-semester fellowships, the funds help to cover the costs of adjunct faculty replacements and other expenses while the fellowship recipient is not teaching. The institution continues to pay the recipient’s salary. Funds for short-term fellowships are also sent to the school and are distributed with that institution’s policies. For these reasons, no budget proposal is required in fellowship applications.

Fellowship Guidelines and Complete Application Materials


Please email all reports in PDF format and updates to awards@acaweb.org.


Accepting applications August 21 - October 29, 2017