AMCS Program Initiatives FAQ

a guide to proposing a new initiative


What is a Program Initiative?

The purpose of Program Initiatives is to promote collaborations among Americanist faculty (of all ranks), post-docs, students, and community members that foreground a guiding theme or set of questions.

What are the goals of a Program Initiative?

The ideal goal for a Program Initiative is open-ended and completely determined by the faculty and collaborators who propose the initiative.  It is important that organizers and participants in Program Initiatives feel free to imagine their own goals.  Not all initiatives will necessarily result in a finished product of some sort, such as a special issue of a journal or a culminating conference, although some do.   Other initiatives focus on regular reading sessions or workshops, whereas others are organized around annual colloquium speakers.  The format for a Program Initiative is truly wide open and we welcome any and all submissions.

How long should Program Initiatives last?

The duration of a Program Initiative is open-ended and up to the discretion of the organizers working in conjunction with AMCS.  Most initiatives run between three to five years.

Who can be a member of a Program Initiative?

While the composition of Program Initiatives is determined by the organizers (for example, some initiatives can be closed to the public), AMCS recommends that the organizers consider public-facing dimensions and focuses for their initiatives.  A Program Initiative must be organized and directed by at least one Washington University faculty member.

How are Program Initiatives supported?

The Program Initiatives are housed and supported by the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University.  We also recommend that each initiative seek out other forms of financial support through their life cycle.  AMCS agrees to support the majority of costs for the initiatives.

How does one create a new Program Initiative?

Please submit a narrative proposal (i.e., a sketch of imagined projects and goals), which includes a timeline for their completion, and a member roster that identifies the Initiative’s conveners to the AMCS Director.  Please feel free to contact the Director with any questions or requests for assistance in putting together this document.  Upon review and approval, the group will be asked for a tentative multi-year budget.  

How is funding allocated?

Each initiative is responsible for submitting a revised annual budget by November 15th for the following academic year.   Funding is determined based on progress towards realization of initiative goals.

What sort of assistance and resources are provided to the Program Initiatives?

In addition to financial support, AMCS provides administrative support for travel and event reservations, and financial consultation and planning. 


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