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 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 (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 

Student Cocurricular Projects in Literature and Language

Studying French in France – Lexus Raney (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Prof. Séverine Cottrant-Estell

Discovering Leonora Sansay’s Imagined Community in Philadelphia Archives – Michala J. Roberts, supervised by Dr. Toni Jaudon

Spanish Immersion in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala – David Tate (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Robyn Wright

Creating Contexts for Creative Writing: Experiments in Bookbinding – Christian Leus, Rebecca Levin, David Tate (Murphy Scholars), supervised by Dr. Rebecca Resinski

Family Storytelling and the American Experience  – Annika Miller (Murphy Scholar) and 9 Murphy Scholar participants, supervised by Prof. Hope Coulter

Independent Translation Project – William Matheson (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. José Vilahomat

A Literary-Cultural Ethnography: Character Study at Comic-Con – Blythe Bull (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Kane Anderson

Studying Arabic in Morocco – David Samuel, supervised by Dr. Sasha Pfau

Editorship at the Oxford Review of Books – Laela Zaidi (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Prof. Hope Coulter           

Erasing the Odyssey – Amy Crump (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Rebecca Resinski

Archival Toe Dipping: Getting Familiar with Boston's Archives – Thomas Alexander (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Toni Jaudon

Tools of the Trade: An Introduction to Journalistic Storytelling – Graydon Carter (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Kane Anderson

Learning Biblical Hebrew – Rebecca Levin (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Rebecca Resinski

Exploring International Collaboration in Plant Science: A Botanical and Lingual Expedition to China – Hanna Liebermann  (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Dr. Ann Willyard

Swiss Alps Writing Retreat – Beth Shepard (Murphy Scholar), supervised by Prof. Elizabeth Rogers

Intensive Language Study in Great Britain, Japan, Austria, and India… and many other projects in literature and language 

Faculty-Led Study-Travel

Imagining Nature: Literature and the Writing of Science in Premodern Europe –  Dr. Debapriya Sarkar and 6 students

French Immersion Retreat – Dr. Cathy Jellenik & Professor Séverine Cottrant-Estell and 12 students

German Immersion Retreat – Dr. Wayne Oudekerk and 18 students

Summer Language Programs

Hendrix in Bonn – Dr. Wayne Oudekerk and 8 students

Hendrix in Madrid – Dr. José Vilahomat & Prof. Irmina Fabricio and 11 students

Hendrix in Shanghai – Dr. Wenjia Liu and 8 students

Hendrix in Tours – Dr. Cathy Jellenik and 8 students


Faculty-Led Campus Projects

Dinner with Kafka – Dr. Dorian Stuber, 20 students, and 5 staff/faculty members

Haiku Hike and Workshop with Howard Lee Kilby, Regional Coordinator of the Arkansas Haiku Society  – Ms. Aya Murata and 15 students

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

All 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. 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.
  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. 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 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.

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 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.

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. 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/.

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 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. 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 federal rate (currently 54.5 cents 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 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. 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.

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, 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.