2023 Impact Report

Takeaways From Interviews with THP Fellows

October 2023

The Haynesville Project team has been grateful to receive a high level of support from the Colby President and Provost for our mission. Their enthusiastic backing has been instrumental in propelling the project forward. As we have surveyed our THP Fellows over the last two years, the recipients have conveyed deep appreciation for the opportunities provided. 

Here are some collected findings from our interviews with Cohorts ’21 and ‘22:

Fellows report that the funding has freed them to think more broadly and creatively about their next projects, to retool and acquire new skills, or to shift intellectual gears. 

Fellows appreciate the holistic approach to funding which helps them better align and plan the personal and the professional. Many of them have opted to use the full forty percent of funding available for personal expenses. In many cases, this has clearly supported their family members and anchored them more securely in their communities and social networks in Maine. 

Given the diverse disciplines (history, literary studies, language, economics, political science, art), their preliminary plans to spend the research funds range widely—from designing a sculpture studio, to buying data sets and computing power, researching abroad, hiring local researchers or translators, or funding a conference or symposium.

Though it is still too early in our data collection cycle to yield anything statistically significant, we have noticed that the timing of fund disbursement (which is determined by the Fellow) tends to be concentrated around particular life- or research-related events, e.g. a sabbatical year, rather than an even usage across the two years. Many professors pause for a while–sometimes months–before extracting funds as they consider how best to use their grant.

Additionally, the Provost has highlighted a significant positive outcome, noting that this funding has the potential to expedite the journey of tenured professors to attain full professorship. By enabling them to maintain, expand, or re-imagine their research programs, this support is poised to benefit not only the professors but also the institution and its students, enhancing the overall academic environment at Colby.

This fall, The Haynesville Project is excited to announce an expansion of our gifting pledge to continue through 2027 and include three additional cohorts of newly-tenured faculty members. In this extended engagement with Colby, The Haynesville Project will be joined with the support of Colby and other donors.

In a few years, we will have had the privilege to engage with approximately 50 professors, constituting about forty percent of Colby's tenured faculty. The recipients thus far have displayed a noticeable re-invigoration in their research efforts and personal growth. It will be rewarding to continue monitoring the development of these Fellows and their work.

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