Alumni Jacquelynn and Bennett Dorrance have made a gift commitment of $5.4 million to endow the deanship of the University of Arizona College of Humanities in support of efforts to integrate traditional and cutting-edge approaches into humanities teaching and learning.

Learn More 


Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon

Part of the Fearless Inquiries Project, the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon recognizes and supports College of Humanities faculty doing cutting edge general education curricular (re)design work that incorporates in novel ways texts that have been widely recognized as having enduring value and significance. Such texts might be historical or contemporary, and represent thought from any discipline and geographic region of the world.

Courses that “open the canon” will engage students and faculty in dialogue about important existential questions through close readings of primary works, and through a variety of interpretive lenses. Students will hone their reading, listening, and thinking skills, learning to find value in problematical works and see problems in works widely considered great. At their heart, “Opening the Canon” courses will grapple with fundamental humanities questions such as: What does it mean to be human? How has the meaning of life varied over time and from place to place? What is the nature of friendship, and has technology enhanced or interfered with it? How does religion connect—and divide—people? What is “family,” and how does the concept of family differ from culture to culture and era to era? And what exactly do we mean by “culture” anyway?

One award of up to $20,000 will be awarded during Academic Year 2022-23.

As examples of possible courses, students might:

  • Read Homer’s Iliad and consider it alongside essays by Simone Weil and Christa Wolf’s Cassandra;
  • Juxtapose contemporaneous works from different geographical locations (e.g.,The Tale of Genji, Njall’s Saga, and Beowulf) as a way to explore how differently human cultures can conceptualize societal structures and obligations, what constitutes appropriate behavior, and what makes life worth living;
  • Read influential works by 19th and 20th century philosophers and linguists exploring connections between language and thought and trace their ideas in science fiction works such as Jack Vance’s The Languages of Pao, Samuel R. Delaney’s Babel-17, Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue, C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner, and the film Arrival;
  • Explore how the question of reality and the purpose of life have been conceptualized in diverse religious traditions by close readings in the Indian Buddhist Pali canon, the Chinese Buddhist canon, and the Daoist canon;
  • Investigate the translation issues related to language, culture, and media that are involved in transforming a work like Shakespeare’s Othello into a film like Iván Lipkies and Maria Elena Velasco’s Huapango;
  • Examine John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, considering it in terms of how it was translated and deployed as a missionary text throughout Africa and Asia;
  • Explore the theme of identity through readings of writers such as Maryse Condé, Gabriel García Márquez, Rigoberta Menchú, Gabriela Mistral, Toni Morrison, and Ben Okri;
  • Study how texts by diverse French and Brazilian thinkers and writers are fundamental to the understanding of modern Franco-Brazilian relations.

The possibilities are limitless!

Who is eligible to apply?

Career-Track, Continuing Status Eligible, Continuing Status, Tenure-Track, and Tenured faculty at all levels of appointment in the College of Humanities.

Selection Criteria

Proposals that demonstrate strength in one or more of the following areas will likely be particularly competitive:

  • Contributes to the overarching goals of the Fearless Inquiries Project, which aims to prepare students to be engaged members of society who are equipped to address grand challenges and work effectively to make the world a better place;
  • Potential for the proposed course to increase the popularity and visibility of COH faculty and programs both regionally and nationally;
  • Clarity and reasonableness of the proposal, including the timeline, budget, and budget justification;
  • Supports and teaches students to engage in discussion from a variety of perspectives;
  • Creatively and innovatively considers works widely recognized for their greatness;
  • Project’s capacity to enhance the core values and vision and strategic plan of the College of Humanities;
  • Number of students likely to participate in the course experience.  Note: This course should be a general education course 

What Kinds of Expenses Are Eligible for Support?

Examples of expenses eligible for support from the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon include:

  • Expenses for travel to conferences, archives, academic institutions, libraries, etc.;
  • Funding for graduate or undergraduate students—working on behalf of the faculty applicant—to conduct research and/or produce content for the course;
  • Equipment or software needed to produce materials for the course;
  • Guest speakers or consultants;
  • Books and other materials that are necessary for a particular project;
  • Summer salary or other types of supplemental compensation for faculty.

What Kinds of Expenses Are Not Eligible for Support?

Due to limited resources, the following activities are not supported. Please consult your unit’s business manager with questions.

  • Purchase of conventional office equipment such as computers and printers;
  • Proposals for projects that have already been completed or that lack sufficient lead time.

Application Process

Please be prepared to submit the following:

  1. Project Title
  2. Project Abstract (maximum 50 words);
  3. Project Description (maximum 750 words). Please be mindful that projects described in a compelling manner and that make clear how the proposal fits the “opening the canon” concept are likely to be especially competitive;
  4. A detailed and realistic line-item budget (maximum 1 page). Similar to your budget justification, please work with your unit’s business manager and refer to the budget section of the application guidelines for additional details;
  5. Budget Justification (maximum 250 words). It is important to work with your unit’s business manager in developing your proposal’s budget. The budget justification should explain the necessity of each item. In addition, please list any other potential or pending sources of funding and indicate the status of those applications/requests. Please refer to the budget section of the application for additional details;
  6. Your C.V. highlighting any activities you think are applicable to the proposal;
  7. A cover sheet that includes the signature of your unit’s Head/Director indicating full endorsement of the project, including any departmentally located initiatives, new courses, matching funds, etc., that are mentioned in the proposal.

Download Application & Budget Instructions

Questions about the program or the application can be directed to Vice Dean Kim Jones (


Applications will be due on Monday, October 10, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. and should be submitted to


Awardees will be notified approximately five weeks after the deadline. Grant funds must be used within one calendar year from the date of notification.

Awardee Obligations

Recipients of grants will be expected to:

  • Use grant funds within one calendar year from the date of notification;
  • Clearly identify the Dorrance Dean’s Award for Opening the Canon as a funding source on your syllabus and on any resulting related presentations, publications, and projects;
  • File a brief report on the outcome of the project within 60 days of the project’s completion. The report should be an abstract (250-word maximum) that highlights the project’s successes and accomplishments with an attached syllabus for the updated or newly proposed general education course. (Newly proposed courses should have completed the departmental-level course approval process and been submitted to the College of Humanities’ Curriculum Review Committee by the time the report is filed.)
  • Attend and present their course at a future Fearless Inquiries Project event
  • Allow their abstracts and other course materials to be used for COH marketing purposes.