Lenz Fellowship FAQ

What is The Frederick P. Lenz Residential Fellowship Program?

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.

Must I be a faculty member to apply for the program?

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. 

MUST I BE A US Citizen or permanent resident TO APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?

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

What will my experience be like if I am accepted as a fellow?

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.

What are the responsibilities of fellows?

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.
  • 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.

What are you looking for in applications?

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.)

What kinds of projects qualify for support?

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.

What are the previous projects that have been supported?

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

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 

What are the Lenz Foundation and Naropa University hoping to accomplish with this fellowship program?

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.

Tell me more about the relationship between Lenz and Naropa University.

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. (See more information about the Lenz Foundation.)

What is the normal length of residency for a fellow?

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 2019–20 academic year. 

What kinds of financial support are made available to fellows?

Typical stipends will range from $1,500 to $2,200 per month depending on two factors: The length of the Fellowship and the Fellow's projected total income during the Fellowship period.  Fellowships will be three to eight months during the Fall and/or Spring academic semesters by mutual agreement. Sabbatical programs generally work on the principle of bringing a faculty member to "wholeness," that is, up to their regular income level. Fellows receiving other forms of support (e.g., full salary from their home institutions or grants) will receive a smaller stipend than those who, as is more typical, are receiving partial salary. Independent scholars and artists, and those taking leaves-without-pay from their home institutions, will typically receive the maximum award.

Fellows are responsible for locating their own housing for themselves, and for any accompanying family members. Naropa staff will naturally provide fellows with information on local sources of information, sublease options, etc.

How do I apply?

The application period for the 2019-2020 Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values is now closed. 

apply here


For more information, please contact ProvostExecAsst@naropa.edu.