Liberal Arts Research Collaborative in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

The objectives of the Mellon-funded Liberal Arts Research Collaborative (LARC) are:

  • to provide selected undergraduate students a collaborative research experience during the summer
  • to support faculty scholarship by facilitating student-faculty collaboration
  • to foster intellectual conversation across disciplinary and generational boundaries
  • to generate best practices for collaborative faculty-student research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences

The program runs nine weeks. Faculty members and students receive stipends to support their work. Currently there is funding to provide support for approximately twelve faculty members and eighteen students for each of the next three summers (beginning in the summer of 2011).

Student-Faculty Collaboration

The centerpiece of the student experience is a stand-alone research project resulting in a substantial final product that reflects the student’s original work. Students will develop these projects in close consultation with a faculty mentor who will also devote the summer to research and reflection in an area topically, thematically, or methodologically related to the student project. Various concerns shared by the two projects will provide a context for discussion and greatly increase the opportunities for meaningful collaboration. While it is expected that each student’s work will contribute to his or her faculty mentor’s ongoing research project, student projects must also exhibit their own expressive, interpretive, and analytical independence. Thus, while the work of a LARC student will be closely connected to the research project of his or her mentor, the student’s role will far exceed that of a traditional research assistant. LARC students are expected to produce a substantial final project that satisfies the expectations of their chosen field of inquiry (i.e. a body of artistic work, a performance, a research paper, a web-based project, etc.) and deliver an oral presentation at an on-campus symposium in September.

Research Communities

One distinctive feature of LARC is that it expands the traditional boundaries of student-faculty research by requiring every project to be conducted within the confines of a research community comprised of at least two faculty members and at least two students. These communities are required to meet at least six times during the summer in order to explore the interconnections between projects and to discuss the “big questions” around which the research community is built. By providing an abstracted and enlarged context for individual research projects, these communities will help faculty and students comprehend and articulate the broader issues and larger stakes of their more narrowly-focused, individual inquiries. At the end of the summer, these communities will be asked to reflect upon how their work together helped shape each project individually.


An informational gathering for students and faculty interested in participating in the 2014 iteration of LARC will take place on Monday, October 7, 2013 (11:30-12:30 in the Willson-Hines room in Goudy Commons). During this session interested faculty will present their research agenda for the summer of 2014. Please visit the website again soon for updates. Meanwhile, check out the Student Eligibility portion of the website.