Hendrix-Murphy Programs in Literature and Language

Hendrix-Murphy Proposal Guidelines

Are you embarking on an activity or project that relates to literature or language? If so and if you need financial support, consider applying to the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation. Hendrix-Murphy funds student cocurricular projects in literature and language, whether or not they are also Odyssey projects.

Proposal forms are available on the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation website ( https://www.hendrix.edu/hendrixmurphy/).

Contents of this Guide:

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

About Hendrix-Murphy Funding

The mission of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation is to enhance and enrich the study of literature and language at Hendrix College. Thus, we support both student- and faculty-initiated projects that involve literature or language in a primary way. When the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation uses the terms “literature and language,” it means study and activity 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 nonfiction
  • 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 (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 project in literature and language (for example, leading a writing group, book discussion group, or other literary project in an underserved area; serving as a translator or interpreter in an area of need; tutoring in literacy or English as a Second or Other Language; or directing community or street theatre in a needy area)     
  • 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 Leading Groups of Students:

  • Group travel for study or research in literature or language
  • Writing or language immersion retreat
  • Faculty-led service project in 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

Examples of Recently Funded Projects 

Intensive Korean Language Study 
Lena Pham traveled to Seoul, South Korea, for intensive Korean study that helped her to raise her fluency one level before beginning her semester abroad in Korea.

Making a Home in Grasmere: A Creative Sojourn in the Lake District
Audrey McMillion and Grace Oxley visited England’s Lake District to retrace the steps of Dorothy and William Wordsworth, filtering the Romantic experience of nature and the sublime through their own photography and poetry. Hendrix-Murphy supported Audrey’s portion of the trip, which focused on written literature.

Borges in Buenos Aires
Noah Adams, Kyle Christenson, Michelle Delouise, Max Hancock, and Allison Monroe traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two weeks for intensive Spanish study and to explore the city’s rich literary heritage.

Writers in New York
At New York University’s acclaimed creative writing program, Writers in New York, Ellie Black studied with various published, award-winning authors and poets. Four weeks of workshops and seminars will culminate in a student showcase and the making of a portfolio. 

Internship with PEN America
For Anushah Jiwani, this summer internship bonded the two interests represented by her double-major of English–Creative Writing and International Relations. As she worked on free expression and human-rights issues affecting writers around the world, Anushah learned “about how a literary life engages with or complicates a civic life, and in what context literature engages with the world or challenges it.”

Internship with the American Society of Magazine Editors
Winning this highly competitive internship afforded Brooke Nelson the opportunity to work at Readers’ Digest for ten weeks, building her reporting, copy-editing, and fact-checking skills. As an ASME intern, Brooke also benefited from seminars, panels, lectures, and mentorship by eminent journalists.

Internship with First Class Communications
Interning at First Class Communications, a communications firm specializing in education and literacy, afforded Joy Spence a real-world opportunity to practice what she learns in the classroom as a double-major in English–Creative Writing and Education. She was able to explore a professional field of interest while applying her skills of proofreading, web and social media management, event planning, and—in particular—writing.

Writing Workshop in Greece
Christina Santner laid the groundwork for her creative writing thesis, a meditation on the aftermath of her mother’s death, in a month-long workshop on writing about grief and loss that took place in Thessaloniki, Greece. Because “ruins speak to both death and permanence in a way that few other places can,” she wanted to “occupy those spaces and apply what I learn there to understanding spirituality.”

Intensive Language Study in Taiwan, Germany, Austria                                               …and many other projects 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. You must be in good academic standing and free of current disciplinary sanctions. Your student account with Hendrix College must be in good standing before you can receive foundation funding. If you have questions about whether your account is in good standing, please contact the Business Office.

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

Hendrix-Murphy Projects and Odyssey Credit

Projects that involve 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.

Steps in the Funding Process

  1. Seek help! As you work on the proposal, you are welcome to visit the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Office for advice and suggestions. 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 and give your supervisor a final version to review before he or she signs.
  2. Deadlines for funding applications are the following:
    • October 1 for winter and spring projects;
    • February 1 for spring and summer projects;  
    • April 1 for late-developing summer projects and fall projects
      • If the funding deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the proposal is due by 4:00 p.m. on the next business day. If you must have assurance of funding further in advance than these deadlines allow, due to extenuating circumstances (such as timetables imposed by external constituencies), check with Hendrix-Murphy Foundation staff. You may be given permission to apply during an earlier cycle than usual.
      • 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 15 (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 three weeks of turning it in.
      • Each request received by the funding deadline is considered on its own merits in a competitive process

  3. 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”). Do not change the format of the form. 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 sponsor.

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. Do mention if you’ve read any of these books for Hendrix classes, or if a Hendrix faculty member has specifically recommended them as being helpful for your project—the review committee will regard this as a plus!

Narrative (~ 750– 800 words; NO MORE THAN 1,000 words)

Tip: Do _not_ try to 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.

Do not copy and paste from websites or other sources without attribution. Hendrix’s normal standards of academic integrity apply.

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.

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 contemporary literary scene 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.

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. The review committee will want to see that you have consulted with knowledgeable people—in this case, linguists—for advice about setting up and carrying out such a study.

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/.

Be aware that access to literary archives is a limited commodity that each archive grants in its own way. Some have tighter restrictions to others. If your project involves research at a literary archive, 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 [link]. 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 win 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.
  • 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 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.)

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. Some exceptions apply; for details, see Hendrix-Murphy Proposal Guidelines.)

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.

Once You Are Funded

Within three to four weeks of the proposal deadline, applicants will be notified by email whether their 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. Recipients will work with the Foundation’s Office and Building Manager, Ms. Sarah Engeler-Young, 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.