Hendrix-Murphy Programs in Literature and Language

Hendrix-Murphy Proposal Guidelines

Do you have an idea for an activity or project that relates to literature or language? Apply to the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation for support. Study, travel, research, and service in literature and language may all qualify, whether done individually or in groups. These activities may also be Odyssey projects. For more information, read the following sections. Proposal forms are available on the drop-down links to your right.

Examples of Recently Funded Projects 

To get a sense of the variety and scope of literature and language projects recently funded by Hendrix-Murphy, check out this slideshow.  

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Contents of this Guide:

  1. About Hendrix-Murphy Funding
  2. Who may apply for Hendrix-Murphy funding?
  3. Hendrix-Murphy Projects and Odyssey Credit
  4. Steps in the Funding Process
  5. Filling Out the Proposal Form—Line-by-Line Help
  6. Once You Are Funded 

About Hendrix-Murphy Funding

Our mission is to enhance and enrich the study of literature and language at Hendrix College. Thus, we support both student- and faculty- or staff-initiated projects that involve literature or language in a primary way. When the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation uses the terms “literature and language,” it means content that includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • literary scholarship
  • the creation, curation, and transmission of literature
  • study of individual languages and language groups
  • ancient languages and literature
  • Classic languages and literature
  • world literature
  • creative writing
  • drama
  • theatre
  • script analysis
  • staged plays
  • screenplays
  • staged readings
  • history of theatre
  • dramaturgy
  • poetry
  • fiction
  • creative non-fiction
  • essays
  • prose-poetry, flash fiction, micro-fiction, micro-essays
  • belles-lettres
  • autobiography and memoir
  • literature in translation
  • language translation
  • linguistics
  • etymology
  • the materiality of texts
  • history of the book
  • history of languages
  • philology
  • philosophy of language
  • language development
  • genre studies
  • literary history
  • scholarship on specific authors, schools, and styles
  • grammar
  • syntax
  • literary theory
  • literary criticism
  • translation studies
  • adaptation studies
  • composition
  • the writing process
  • theory and practice of writing

Projects that use other disciplines or media as a means of exploring literature or language, or in the course of investigating larger questions in literature or language, are potentially fundable, as long as literature or language remains central. The Hendrix-Murphy Foundation does not support projects whose primary focus is film, television, media studies, performance, performance studies, non-literary history, philosophy, politics, sociology, anthropology, gender or other identity studies, archeology, architecture, music, dance, visual art, or popular culture.

What are some examples of literary and language-related activities and projects that Hendrix-Murphy does fund?

For Students:

  • Independent study-travel in literature and language
  • Independent research on literature and language
  • Independent projects in creative or dramatic writing
  • Study abroad in literature or language (you must apply through the Office of International Programs; at least 50% of coursework must qualify as literature or language; classes in other subjects that happen to be taught in a foreign language do not qualify)
  • Participating in a writing conference or institute
  • Participating in a literary conference
  • Participating in a translation conference
  • Service or community engagement through literature and language, such as leading a community writing group or book discussion group; serving as a translator or interpreter; tutoring in literacy or English as a Second or Other Language; or directing community or street theatre     
  • Literature- or language-related internship (for example, at a magazine, literary agency, or literary advocacy group)
  • Research assistantship in literature or language supervised by a Hendrix professor
  • and more!

For Faculty or staff Leading Groups of Students:

  • Group travel for study or research in literature or language
  • Writing or language immersion retreat
  • Faculty-led service or community engagement through literature and language
  • Course-related field work in literature or language

On-Campus Literary and Language Resources

Hendrix-Murphy also sustains many ongoing literary and language-related resources on campus, including

  • Language House
  • Language Commons (enrichment activities in foreign languages)
  • The Writing Center
  • Student and Alumni Playwriting Contests
  • Playwright’s Theatre
  • Aonian Literary Awards
  • Distinguished Visitors in Literature and Language
  • Visiting Faculty in Literature and Language

Who may apply for Hendrix-Murphy funding?

All students who are undertaking projects in literature and language may apply, regardless of your major, class year, or whether you’re a Murphy Scholar. Before you can receive foundation funding you must be in good academic standing and free of current disciplinary sanctions, and your student account with Hendrix College must be in good standing. If you have questions about your fiscal status, please contact the Business Office.

Murphy Scholars only: You may apply to use your Murphy Scholar funding only when the completion paperwork for previous projects has been turned in. In other words, Murphy Scholars with overdue completion materials for previous projects may not seek funding for new projects.

Faculty and staff may also apply for support of literary or language-related projects that involve Hendrix students. The same deadlines and budgetary policies apply. Faculty and staff members should use the Faculty-Led Study-Travel or Faculty-Led Campus Projects proposal forms.

Groups or pairs of students, as well as individual students, may apply for Hendrix-Murphy funding. Only one proposal form is needed per group. In your narrative, clearly indicate which participants will do which part of the project, unless everyone will be doing the same thing.

Note: if your group includes both Murphy Scholars and non–Murphy Scholars, submit a separate proposal for each. The abstract and narrative will likely be the same, but the budgets will differ due to the use of Murphy Scholar funds.

Hendrix-Murphy Projects and Odyssey Credit

All projects that focus on literature and language should be proposed through Hendrix-Murphy, regardless of whether you are seeking Odyssey credit for them. The proposal form includes a section where you can declare your intent to seek Odyssey credit. Hendrix-Murphy works closely with Odyssey and will send all Odyssey credit–seeking proposals along the appropriate channels for the Odyssey credit decision.

If your project has mixed content, with only certain portions focused on literature or language, it may be advisable to apply to both Hendrix-Murphy and Odyssey. In this case, please query the Director.

Special Situations

International travel. Traveling abroad may involve special precautions and restrictions. See Hendrix’s Travel Warning Policy for information about traveling to countries on the State Department Warning List (travel.state.gov). Note that Hendrix does not pay for the cost of passports, visas, or other required travel documents; obtaining those items is your responsibility, and it's advisable to get them well ahead of time. Be sure that your passport expiration date is at least six or eight months beyond your anticipated return (check the policies of the country you plan to visit).

Human research. Most literary and language research is exempt, by its nature, from having to go through the Human Subject Review Board process. However, if your project involves research on human subjects, you must check to be sure that this is the case. If it does meet the criteria, you must go through Hendrix's HSRB procedures and describe your compliance procedures in your narrative.

Language study. All language study bearing academic credit, including language programs undertaken independently, must be approved by Office of International Programs; you must be formally approved for study abroad in order to earn that credit. Contact the Office of International Programs if you are applying for language study bearing academic credit. (Hendrix-run summer language programs, such as Hendrix in Costa Rica, Madrid, Shanghai, and Tours, are already approved for the credit they carry.)

Steps in the Funding Process

Seek help! As you work on the proposal, you are welcome to visit the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Office for advice and suggestions. Don't feel that you have to have a polished draft in order to consult with us; in fact, we encourage you to run your preliminary ideas by us, so we can suggest adjustments early on, before you get too far down the road. Allow plenty of time to draft, revise, and polish your proposal and to consult with your project supervisor. Ideally, you should meet with your supervisor at least two weeks before the deadline to discuss your draft proposal. Then you’ll have ample time to make changes before giving your supervisor a final version to sign.

Deadlines for funding applications are October 1, February 1, and April 1. Generally, cycles are as follows: 

  • October 1 for winter and spring projects;
  •  February 1 for spring and summer projects;  
  • April 1 for late-developing summer projects and fall projects

However, if you need assurance of funding further in advance than these deadlines allow, check with Hendrix-Murphy Foundation staff. You may be given permission to apply during an earlier cycle than usual.

If the funding deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the proposal is due by 5:00 p.m. on the next business day. 

Murphy Scholars only: Murphy Scholars who are submitting proposals either for program credit only, or that seek to draw only from their Murphy Scholar Study-Travel Allowance Fund, may turn in proposals any time between August 15 and April 1 (that is, without regard to the deadlines given above). Proposals will be considered on a rolling basis. You will be notified whether your proposal is approved within 3–4 weeks of turning it in.
Each request received by the funding deadline is considered on its own merits in a competitive process. You will be notified within 3–4 weeks whether your project has been approved. If you receive Hendrix-Murphy funding, you will receive an award letter that stipulates the terms and conditions of your award. At that time we will also give you details on how the disbursement of funds will work.


Filling Out the Proposal Form—Line-by-Line Help

Download the proposal form, save it to your hard drive, and rename it with something unique to you (“Cocurricular Proposal Draft_Sanchez”). All applications must be submitted on the .docx proposal forms; do not change the format of the form. We strongly suggest that you compose and revise your long answers in a separate document, and then paste them into the form. This will allow you more formatting flexibility such as paragraph changes, correct italics, and so forth. Remember to back up your latest draft each time you work on the proposal. Of course, you should type (word-process) your proposal neatly and strive to keep it error-free.

The following tips correspond to questions on the proposal form, in order:

  1. Abstract
  2. Partner Organizations
  3. Project Supervisor
  4. Reading List
  5. Narrative
  6. Budget
  7. Expenses
  8. Cost Offset
  9. Initial and Sign

The first page consists of basic informational questions:

Abstract (150–200 words)

The abstract states the gist of your project so that the review committee can grasp its essence. Think of it as an “elevator speech”—that is, if a stranger on an elevator asked you about your project, and you had less than a minute to describe it before the doors opened, what would you say? Be succinct. Stick to the stated word limit.

As mentioned on the form, the abstract might also be used for publicity purposes—for example, in Board reports or when the Foundation is demonstrating the scope of activity that it supports. Take extra care to be clear when writing the abstract. Make every word count. Use plain language, active voice, and vivid, accurate verbs. Even though you’re aiming for brevity, do not use abbreviations or acronyms—for example, do not assume that the review committee all knows that “MLA” is the Modern Language Association. Look up exact names and titles to check yourself, and be specific in your references: for example, say “Kenyon Review Writers Workshop” rather than “a writing conference at Kenyon College.”

Although an abstract is short, it is one of the most crucial elements of your proposal and can be the hardest to write! Expect that it will take several drafts to write a satisfactory abstract. This process of honing the abstract can help you crystallize your thoughts about your project.

Partner Organizations

Hendrix-Murphy needs to know what academic institutions are hosting you or partnering with you, if any, and will be checking their credentials to ensure the quality and security of your experience.

Even though you are asked to give the website here, remember that in the narrative section of your proposal you will still need to identify the host organization and briefly summarize its relevance to your project.

Project Supervisor

Find a Hendrix faculty or staff member to supervise your project. Choose someone who knows and likes you and/or is interested in the subject matter of your project. In a brief, polite email, explain your idea and ask if the person will meet with you. Use the meeting as an opportunity to buff up your abstract (remember that elevator speech?), and go on to discuss the particulars of your project—learning goals, background reading and other recommended preparation, project logistics and methods. Ask for ideas about the afterlife of your project: an end product, campus presentation, or a means of sharing it and connecting it to larger ideas. By stating your project supervisor’s name on the form, you are affirming that you have talked over your project and that she or he has agreed to supervise it. Hendrix-Murphy will elicit an emailed statement to this effect.

If you are seeking Odyssey credit, the Hendrix-Murphy project supervisor will be the same as your Odyssey project supervisor.

If you are planning a research assistantship in literature or language, the professor whom you are assisting will be your project supervisor.

For Murphy Scholars only - If you are not a Murphy Scholar, skip this question. If you have applied to become a Murphy Scholar and the decision is pending, skip this question.

Reading List

Give titles and authors of 2–4 books or articles that you have read, or plan to read, as background for this project. Briefly state how your selected them or how they relate to the project. Indicate how you learned about them and which of them you have actually read.

Narrative (~800–1,000 words; NO MORE THAN 1,500 words)

Tip: Do not draft your narrative directly on the proposal form. Instead, work on your narrative in a separate document so that you can hone and polish it. Once you've finished your revisions and proofreading, copy and paste the entire narrative into the proposal form.

As to content: Here’s where you tell a compelling story about why we should fund you. Points to remember in the telling of that story include the following:

Describe what you want to do in a professional, positive tone, free of jargon. Explain the project in thorough detail, without going on too long. Avoid hyperbole and repetition. Aim for a description that is clear, concise, and complete.

Citing sources. Do not copy and paste from websites or other sources without attribution. Hendrix’s normal standards of academic integrity apply. You don't need to provide full citations in MLA style as you would for an academic paper, but you do need to use quotation marks to set off any language that you borrow verbatim or in paraphrased form, whether from sources such as websites or promotional material or from more conventional sources such as books and articles. State your source either in parentheses right after the quote or by weaving it into your introductory sentence. Each is acceptable. For example:

  • The institute, which calls itself "the premier center of Xanadu language and cultural learning" (XanaduCentre.org), is located in the capital city next to the nation's flagship university.
  • According to its website, XanaduCentre.org, the institute is the "premier center of Xanadu language and cultural learning."

Also in your narrative, state the learning goals of your project. What topic or question do you want to investigate? Why is it important? What is its relevance to literature and language?

Does the project connect to any Hendrix courses you have taken or plan to take, or to other learning projects you intend to do, such as a senior capstone? If so, point this out. The review committee likes to see evidence that your learning builds successively from one course, project, or experience to another.

Speaking of courses, please note: Hendrix-Murphy does not condone missing classes to complete a project.  The only exception to this policy is for travel to a conference that occurs during the academic year, and under these circumstances, it is the student's responsibility to make up all coursework missed.

Even though you already gave the name and web address of any partner or host organizations, you still need to identify them here and briefly summarize their relevance to your project. Do not expect that the review committee will spend time familiarizing themselves with the host organization’s website and sifting through what’s posted there—it’s your job to winnow that information, directing their attention to the facts in brief that they need to know in order to see the merits of your proposal.

Do not assume knowledge of acronyms or people on the part of the proposal’s readers. Spell out acronyms. Briefly explain words or names key to your project that might not be familiar to the review committee. For example: “AWP (the Association of Writers and Writing Programs) is a professional organization that supports and advocates for creative writers and teachers of writing” or “Janis Stout, who has written extensively on Willa Cather, will give the keynote speech at the conference.”

Make sure the scope of your research question is specific and doable in the time you have. For instance, “I plan to study the literature of Burkina Faso” sounds like too large and diffuse an undertaking, while “What is the role of physical books in the literary tradition of Burkina Faso, which is largely an oral tradition?” is more concrete and manageable.

Seek feedback from professors and advisors. The review committee likes to see that in preparing yourself for this project you’ve taken advantage of resources that Hendrix has to offer, including taking relevant courses and meeting with faculty members knowledgeable about this topic. Ask for this help politely and with consideration of your readers’ time—and not at the last minute. Remember to thank them, and let them know the outcome of your application.

If your project is an internship, specify whether it's an official Hendrix College internship done under the aegis of the Internship Office and, if so, whether it will carry only the PL Odyssey credit or also academic credit. Internships done through the Internship Office, whether for Odyssey or joint Odyssey-academic credit, have certain parameters that you must meet; speak with the Internship Office about these.

Be clear and specific about your research methods. “I want to compare the speech of rural Catalonians with those who live in urban areas, specifically Barcelona” is a valid topic to investigate, but you need to add details about exactly how you plan to go about this: for example, how you will gather and record the speech samples, exactly what language features you will compare, how many people will be involved in the study, etc. 

Generally the review committee is skeptical of research methods that involve a casual plan such as, "While there I will talk to people I meet on the street to find out what they think of their literary heritage." The review committee will want to see that you have consulted with scholars in the field for advice about setting up and carrying out your research.

If your research involves human subjects, you must follow the policy of Hendrix’s Human Subject Review Board. See details at https://www.hendrix.edu/hsrb/.

Headed to a literary archive? Be aware that access to archives is a limited commodity that each institution grants in its own way. Some have tighter restrictions than others. Ask for guidance from a professor who is familiar with that institution’s policies. The Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Office can refer you.

Always proofread. Double-check the correct spelling of names, titles, organizations, and places, especially the ones that spell-check does not recognize.


The budget is a projection of what you anticipate that your project will cost and how those expenses can be covered. All figures in the budget must be as accurate as possible, derived from checking costs at reputable sources online. Foreign currencies should be converted into U.S. dollars at the current exchange rate, with the date given in parentheses. Use common sense, and be detailed and clear.

Hendrix-Murphy adheres to Hendrix College’s travel policy, available on the Business Office website. Read it to learn what is or is not allowed as a reimbursable expense.


  • Education costs – Obtain the exact amounts from your host institution. Show any needed currency conversion and mention the source of the exchange rate you used. We recognize that exchange rates fluctuate, and if you are awarded funding we will allow for this.
  • Air travel—Go to a multi-airline web booking site such as Kayak or Expedia; enter your likely travel dates; and locate a mid-range, coach fare, round-trip from Little Rock or another U.S. city of origin. We normally fund airfare only to and from Little Rock or an equivalent amount.
  • Ground travel—A little online research can turn up current information for ground travel anywhere in the world. Budget reasonably with mid-range figures. In other words, if you budget for the absolute cheapest ground travel that you find, it might turn out to be no longer available once you actually make your booking. On the other hand, if you enter a figure that seems unrealistically high, the review committee may question the legitimacy of your entire budget. Budget for public transportation when you can--multi-day passes may be the best bargain. For projects where you will be driving, request mileage reimbursement at the current rate set by the IRS. In 2019, for example, the standard reimbursable rate is $0.58 per mile.  (This is the accepted method; do not plan to furnish us with gas receipts for reimbursement.)
  • Meals—If possible, sign up for a meal plan with your host organization. Sometimes breakfast or “half-board” options are available; these are usually a cost-efficient way to cover at least some of your daily meals. If a meal plan is not available, you may budget for meals using either a flat stipend or a per diem rate. The Foundation reserves the right to limit the number of days that the per diem rate may be applied. Budgets that include student or faculty remuneration, such as a meal stipend, must also include the Hendrix share of FICA expenses (7.65% of gross salary). A note about stipends: Anything termed “stipend” is regarded as taxable income by the IRS. Remember, any stipend you are awarded is taxable income, and your share of FICA and other payroll taxes will be withheld.
  • Lodging—Include your costs of housing or lodging for the duration of the project. If you are engaged in a campus-based summer research project or internship, shared housing on campus is eligible for funding. If you’re living off-campus at the time you request funding and have a continuing and unbreakable lease already in place, Hendrix-Murphy will reimburse an amount equivalent to the cost of shared on-campus summer housing; in this situation, please attach a copy of your lease. Students who do not have existing housing commitments are expected to live in the Hendrix apartments.
  • Other—Note that Hendrix-Murphy funding is not normally awarded for:
    • books or other educational materials that are used for background preparation;
    • equipment or hardware;
    • projects by seniors that take place predominantly or exclusively after their graduation; or
    • state-required expenses of travel abroad such as passports, visas, immunizations, etc.

Cost Offsets

Your Monetary Contribution—If possible, commit to an amount of personal funding you will contribute to this experience. As a rule of thumb, around $500 would be a typical student contribution for a month-long experience abroad. This amount should go toward the main trip experience, not pleasure excursions or add-ons. (That is, you should not try to claim that you want to pay the extra fare to fly first-class, or go to an amusement park, and call that your student contribution.) If you are unable to make an out-of-pocket contribution due to financial hardship, indicate that on your form; we will take that into account while respecting your privacy.

Other Grants or Funding—List and specify the amounts of any additional sources of funding for which you have applied or which you have already received, such as an Odyssey grant, other departmental or Hendrix grant, or external grant.

In-Kind Non-Cash Donations—Show any in-kind contributions to the trip and their estimated value (for example, if you are staying with family and thus do not have lodging expenses; special discounts or fee waivers; comped meals; etc.). 

Amount To Be Applied from your Murphy Scholar Study-Travel Allowance Fund (Murphy Scholars only)
Please note that you must use your Murphy Scholar Funds in entirety before requesting funding from other campus sources.

Initial and sign 

By initialing and signing your proposal form, you acknowledge your awareness that receiving an award will entail certain obligations on your part. These will be spelled out in the award letter that comes with your notification.

Email your completed proposal to Hendrix-Murphy@hendrix.edu, and copy your project supervisor on the email.

Once You Are Funded

Within three to four weeks of the proposal deadline, you will be notified by email whether your project has been approved for credit and/or funding.  An award letter attached to the email will supply details about the terms and conditions of the funding. The Foundation’s Office and Building Manager, Sarah Engeler-Young, will work with you to arrange for the disbursement of funds. Please note the following policies:

  • Your award may be less than your request. If possible, develop a contingency plan to pay for non-covered expenses, or alter your plans accordingly.
  • The Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Office will prepay as many items on your budget as possible. The preferred method is for you to pay them with a personal credit card and then seek reimbursement by bringing or emailing your carefully documented receipts to Ms. Engeler-Young. Reimbursement checks will usually be issued within 7–10 days.
  • Electronic receipts are preferred. Paper receipts are also acceptable.
  • In order to be reimbursed, you must bring or send receipts to the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation office. One exception to this policy is mileage, for which no receipts are required. Instead, submit the total number of miles driven; you’ll be reimbursed at the current federal rate.
  • Airfare: Conduct your own search for the flights that meet your travel needs (coach level only, to and from the destination described in your project narrative, or the equivalent). You may then either book the flight and pay for it with a personal credit card through the process described above (preferred method), or make an appointment with Ms. Engeler-Young to book the flight directly through the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Office.
  • Cash advances will be issued only for per diems for meals and incidentals, currently up to $35 per day depending on locale. As mentioned above, the Foundation reserves the right to limit the number of days for which the per diem rate may be applied.
  • Stipends are paid through the Hendrix College payroll office. The required paperwork must be completed before stipends can be issued. Since stipends are considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service, taxes will be withheld from your stipend as if it were a paycheck.
  • If you are awarded funding for campus housing, those fees will be paid on your behalf to the Business Office. Please note that Hendrix-Murphy does not pay for associated utilities.
  • Evaluations and/or reflections will be due 30 days after the end of your project.
  • All funds must be used and all documentation submitted in a timely manner by the deadline stated in your award letter.  Any unexpended funds from your grant will be retained by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation.