Academic AffairsResidential Fellowship OpportunityApply for the Lenz Fellowship

The Lenz Residential Fellowship Application

The Frederick P. Lenz Residential Fellowship in Buddhism and American Culture and Values Program is an excellent opportunity for faculty and other professionals throughout the United States to study Buddhism as it relates to education, leadership, the arts and sciences, and a variety of additional interest areas. Various modes of Eastern thought, including Buddhism, are finding their way into such fields as neuroscience (studies into the cognitive impact of meditation), civic engagement (the application of peacemaking models to community advocacy and dispute resolution), and classroom pedagogy (the development of teaching techniques that address students’ inner journeys along with traditional academic content).
Note: only citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible for the Fellowship Program.

An Invitation for Proposals

The application cycle for the 2024–2025 academic year opportunity is now closed.

The Lenz Fellowship is an opportunity for faculty and other professionals planning sabbaticals or other leaves-of-absence during the 2024–2025 academic year. The Lenz Fellow will spend a semester at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado conducting a research, artistic, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture or values.

Application Requirements

The application cycle for the 2024–2025 opportunity is now closed.

1. A cover letter not exceeding four single-spaced pages detailing the following:

  • Proposed project on the theme, Buddhism and American Culture & Values, including timeline and anticipated final product.
  • Prior education, professional work and accomplishments that lay the foundation for the proposed project.
  • Applicant’s prior study and/or involvement in meditation or other contemplative practice.
  • Proposed plan of study while on the Naropa University campus, detailing courses, faculty, centers, etc., with which the applicant wishes to affiliate.
  • Proposed lecture, teaching, workshop or other professional offering to the campus while in residency.
  • Budget request, including estimates for travel to/from Boulder, and other sources of funding during the Fellowship residency.
  • For our own research, we would greatly appreciate if you could include how you found out about this opportunity.

2. A detailed resume, curriculum vitae or professional biography.

3. For individuals on sabbatical or other leave from another institution, a letter of support from the applicant’s direct supervisor is required, including a statement about any sources of funding for the proposed leave. Independent scholars, artists and activists should include a letter from a colleague familiar with their work discussing the merits of the proposal.

Submission Instructions

The application cycle for the 2024–2025 academic year opportunity is now closed.

Electronic applications and questions about the fellowship opportunity can be sent to Jason Davis.

For more information about the Fellowship or application process, contact Jason Davis.


The program is designed to provide scholars, artists, activists and other leaders and practitioners from a variety of disciplines with an opportunity to reside in Boulder, Colorado, and affiliate with Naropa University during their sabbatical or other professional leave. It supports visiting fellows in the development of an artistic, social action, curriculum development or other research project on some aspect of Buddhism’s contributions to American education and society. The residential experience affords fellows an opportunity to immerse themselves in the university’s varied curricular and community offerings, as well as complete a program of study and a project that contributes to their own professional field or another area of American culture and society.

No. The program is available to faculty, artists, activists, leaders and independent scholar-practitioners who seek to immerse themselves in the study of Buddhism and complete a project that applies Buddhist philosophy and practice to some area of American culture and values.

Yes, only citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible for the Fellowship Program.

We hope to provide each fellow with an experience tailored to their professional background, interests and proposed project. During their residency on the Naropa campus, fellows will be able to audit classes. Also, they will be assigned a Naropa faculty member to serve as project mentor and/or meditation instructor. Fellows will be encouraged to become involved in the life of the university, attending guest lectures and recitals, meeting with students and offering a public lecture or other teaching.

Fellows will be expected to:

  • Immerse themselves in the educational opportunities of the university—auditing courses, meeting regularly with faculty, attending university functions, accessing library resources, etc.
  • Complete the project proposed in the application to the fellows program.
  • Present a public lecture or demonstration, conduct a classroom session and/or offer some contemplative practice or artistic performance. At the end of the residence, fellows are expected to make a public presentation to the community on progress and outcome of their project.
  • Develop a plan for implementing the project after the residency. This may include a plan for publication, teaching, community service and so on.
  • Acknowledge the fellowship support, as well as both Naropa University and the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, in all publications, performances or other products resulting from the residency.

We will select fellows whose plans of study propose the integration of Buddhist Studies with contemplative practice and illustrate a disciplinary, artistic or professional commitment. No prior academic knowledge of Buddhism will be required of applicants, although those applicants with prior meditation experience in one of the Buddhist traditions will have an advantage. Finally, applicants should demonstrate a commitment to participate in a rigorous program of study while at Naropa and to use the vehicle of the proposed project to integrate this study with their other professional interests. (Please note: Only citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible for the Fellowship Program.)

There is no limit to the academic, artistic or professional focus of the fellowship projects. We envision being able to support traditional academic scholarship, curriculum development, social action projects, professional training modules, artistic productions, and the like. The key is for projects to point to some issue in American social life (education, the arts, economics, politics, etc.) and propose study within the Buddhist tradition to address that issue.

We have attracted Fellows from a variety of disciplines and institutions:

Spring 2022
Ruth Wallen
Walking With Trees

For the past decade, I have been walking with some of the hundreds of millions of trees dying from beetles, drought, fire and more, bearing witness to the mounting devastation while sharing my experiences through photography, writing, installation and digital displays. In the face of worsening ecological crises, I believe that Buddhist wisdom is vital to fully experiencing the wonder of being alive, cultivating compassion and empathy, developing the courage to grieve, and igniting the will to change the perilous course of ecological devastation. The Lenz Fellowship will allow me to deepen the focus of my work, expanding my reach from southern California and the Sierras to the Rocky Mountains, while working to articulate Buddhist insights. In particular I plan to investigate Buddhist teachings and practices on interconnectivity, cultivating the sense perceptions as gateways to awareness, developing bodhicitta, and recognizing the sacredness of the world. All of these teachings are crucial to working with ecological grief—to staying present with pain and loss while grounded in the unconditioned brilliance of a degraded world. The outcome of my explorations will include a series of essays interweaving my learning from practice, study and walking with trees.

Spring 2021
Elizabeth Maynard, PhD
Embodied Pedagogies for Liberatory Art Practices

This fellowship supports the development of art history and art pedagogies rooted in embodied practices. The alleged meritocracies that govern many higher educational cultures in the United States (often linked to supremacist constructions of individual excellence) contribute to significant rates of anxiety, depression, and burnout among students, especially in BIPOC communities. In reckoning with my personal experience as a student and an adjunct professor, combined with my observation of the experiences of my students at the highly competitive Rhode Island School of Design, my research and teaching-learning methodologies have turned towards the possibilities of body-mind based epistemologies within educational institutions. My work as an educator and scholar have been both personally and methodologically informed by my Buddhist-lineage meditation practice, by way of Jewish Renewal interpretive models. The decentering of Self implicit in both is reflected in the post-Modernist project of art history, while somatic awareness is foundational to exploring alternatives to Englightenment-era Western epistemologies, as well as cultivating spaces for transformative praxis among students and faculty in a neoliberal environment. I plan to produce and publish sharable teaching modules for anti-oppression educators aiming to integrate contemplative and embodied practices into artistic/creative pedagogy.

Spring 2020
Kathy Yep, PhD
Healing Justice and Immigrant and Refugee Detainees: A Video Curriculum

Spring 2019
Stephanie Briggs
Visioning the Eightfold Path: Liberating Contemplative Practical Empowerment for African American Educators

Spring 2017
Jennifer Woodhull
Working with Violence from an Inclusive Worldview

Spring 2016
Ryūmon Baldoquin, Sensei
Contemplative Somatic Wellness™: A Body-Mind Centered Movement for Spiritual Social Activism

Spring 2015
Melissa Rolnick, MFA
MEISA: Movement Exploration through Imagery and Sensory Awareness

Fall 2013 – Spring 2014
Douglas Lindner, PhD
Integration of Contemplative Practice into STEM Education in Higher Education

Spring 2013
Sarah J. Heidt, PhD
Contemplative Pedagogies for Literary Studies

Spring 2012
Arturo Bencosme
Heart to Organizations: Contemplativeness-Based Organizational Learning & Strategic Thinking

Fall 2011
David Loy
The Great Encounter: Why Buddhism and Modernity Need Each Other

Spring 2011
Cary Gaunt, PhD
Cultivating Ecological Enlightenment: Buddhist Pathways to a Sustainable Way of Life

Fall 2010
Philip Meckley, PhD
Raft of Straw: The Epistle of James as Jesus Sutra

Kim Russo, MFA
Contemporary artists and Buddhist practitioners

Elise Young, PhD
History as Dharma: Teaching the Middle East and Africa

Fall 2009
Hillary Stephenson, PhD cand.
Addressing diversity issues through Zen practice

Summer/Fall 2009
John Whalen-Bridge, PhD
Buddhism, literary adaptation and progressive politics

Spring 2009
Elizabeth Lozano, PhD
Non-violent resistance in the U.S. and abroad

Erin McCarthy, PhD
Zen, ethics, and comparative feminist perspectives

Both the foundation and the university are interested in the unique forms of Buddhism taking root in America. The fellowship program continues Naropa’s leadership role as the pre-eminent accredited university in North America for contemplative studies and a provider of education that integrates Eastern and Western traditions of scholarship and practice. Along with the Summer Seminar in contemplative pedagogy for university professors, the fellowship program enables Naropa to support professionals wanting to enrich their work and their home institutions and communities through a deeper understanding of Buddhism.

Of course, Naropa will no doubt be enriched by hosting fellows as well. It is our hope that the fellows will energize the Naropa campus, by providing our students and faculty with new conversation partners, by offering a public lecture or teaching a course, and by serving as ambassadors to their home departments and disciplines. We also know that new institutional partnerships, collaborative relationships and publications carrying the name of the home institution and sponsoring foundation often live on long after the fellows have completed their campus residency and project at Naropa. Sponsoring multiple visiting fellows each year will provide Naropa faculty and students with opportunities to network with individuals representing a variety of scholarly and Buddhist traditions.

Naropa takes to heart the commitment of the Lenz Foundation to “contribute to the establishment of unique American forms of Buddhist understanding and practice.” Like Dr. Frederick P. Lenz, Naropa’s founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, recognized the spiritual challenges that America’s fast-paced and materialist society holds for its citizens. Both Lenz and Trungpa Rinpoche understood the contribution that Buddhism—albeit a distinctly American one—can make to addressing these challenges. Naropa is proud of its forty years of success in forging a unique model of liberal arts and professional education and is delighted that the Lenz Foundation will expand our ability to influence scholars and other professionals in this area for years to come.

Fellows will typically be invited to spend one semester on campus, though a longer stay is possible to support a project of considerable depth and complexity. Our current funding will provide support for one one-semester fellow during the 2024–25 academic year.

Stipends will vary per month depending on the length of the Fellowship. Fellowships are typically for one semester (fall or spring) and a Fellow in residence for one full semester will be paid the stipend in five installments, which are subject to any applicable taxes. Additionally, Fellows will receive a modest allowance for reimbursement of direct expenses which can include travel costs, books/materials, etc.

Fellows are responsible for locating, and paying for, their own housing for themselves and any accompanying family members. Naropa staff will assist fellows with their housing search and provide information on housing options in the area.

Fellows are considered, by the university, to be Temporary Employees and therefore must complete new hire paperwork and authorize a background check. As a Temporary Employee, the Fellow is not eligible for health or other benefits from the university.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.