Signature Course Fellowships

Made possible by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the Signature Course Fellowship funds and supports faculty who have a vision for translating research on human flourishing into large-scale, public-facing, pedagogically innovative courses that have the potential to become a cornerstone in their university’s curriculum.

Paradigmatic examples of signature courses include Michael Sandel’s Justice (Harvard), Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ Designing Your Life (Stanford), and Meghan Sullivan’s God and the Good Life (Notre Dame).

The Signature Course Fellowship Program aims to gather a cohort of scholars from across disciplines and higher education who are ready to build and launch their own signature course addressing a pressing question for human flourishing.

During the 2024-2025 academic year, the program will fund 15 faculty members for residential sabbaticals to pursue their projects: two during the Fall 2024 semester, three during the Spring 2025 semester, and 10 during an intensive, one-month program in Summer 2025 (likely in June).

Apply for a Signature Course Fellowship

Applications for all 2024-2025 Signature Course Fellowships (Fall, Spring, and Summer) are due by Monday, November 6, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Program Overview

Project Vision Summit

In August 2024, all 2024-2025 Signature Course Fellows (Fall, Spring, and Summer) will convene in person for four days for a Project Vision Summit.

During the Summit, Fellows will develop collaborative relationships, learn about the intensive course design process of the Fellowship, draft a work plan, and receive coaching from staff and invited trainers.

Planning Seminars

Signature Course Fellows will attend regular planning seminars during their fellowship period with their faculty cohort, staff, trainers, and special guests.

During planning seminars, Fellows will share work in progress with each other and receive course design instruction from staff and campus partners.

Course Launch

After their NDIAS residency, Signature Course Fellows will be tasked with launching their course at their home institution and teaching it three times in the three years following the Fellowship.

Each fellow will receive a $10,000 subgrant to launch, further develop, and sustain the course. These funds can be used to support updates to the course website, the creation of new teaching resources, the hiring of teaching assistants, course publicity, and other expenses as needed.

Summative Conference

In May 2026, all Signature Course Fellows (Fall, Spring, and Summer) will gather for a Summative Conference.

During the conference, Fellows will demo course content, discuss trends and challenges faced during the design and implementation process, and offer panels on major insights from the residency program.


Semester-long Fellows (Fall 2024, Spring 2025) will receive a $50,000 fellowship stipend during the semester of residency as well as subsidized housing near Notre Dame. Summer 2025 Fellows will receive a $15,000 fellowship stipend during their four weeks of residency as well as subsidized housing.

All funded course proposals will be provided a $10,000 subgrant to help launch their course along with a $7,000 design fund allotment to develop assets for the course (such as the creation of a course trailer videos, publicity posters, co-curricular activities, field experiences, etc.). A portion of the design fund should also be used to conduct a benchmarking assessment before or during residency.

Signature Course Fellows will have the opportunity to work with a student intern to support their course-creation efforts. For semester-long Fellows (Fall 2024, Spring 2025), this student will be from Notre Dame and will be provided by the NDIAS. For summer 2025 Fellows, each Fellow will be invited to select one student from their institution to join the summer program as a research intern. Summer student interns receive a $2,500 stipend, housing during their internship at Notre Dame, and a food stipend.

In addition, semester-based Fellows will be invited to be full participants in the research programming developed for its 2024-2025 Faculty Fellowship class, who will be in residence at the NDIAS and conducting research on The Good Life. That programming may include research seminars, guest lectures, film screenings, conferences, and community social events.


Signature Course Fellowships are open to distinguished or high-potential tenure-stream scholars who are developing a signature course on a topic connected to human flourishing or ethics.

Faculty from any academic discipline that engages with ethics and human flourishing are invited to apply–indeed, one goal of the program is to support a Faculty cohort that represents a broad range of disciplinary perspectives.

To be eligible for a Fellowship, candidates should have assurance from their home institution that the course will be launched, supported, and sustained post-fellowship. Fellows will need to submit letters of support from their department chair and dean-level administrator (dean, associate dean, etc.) indicating this assurance at the time of application.

Faculty members from any university, including the University of Notre Dame, are welcome to apply. While some Fellowships will be awarded to Notre Dame faculty, the majority will be awarded to faculty from other institutions.

There are no citizenship requirements for these fellowships–scholars from outside the U.S. are invited to apply.

Although we anticipate that the majority of the courses developed in the Signature Course Fellowship program will be targeted to undergraduates, applicants who are developing courses targeted to graduate or professional students are also welcome to apply.

We will also consider proposals for dual-instructor, team-taught courses. The instructors may apply for the Fellowship jointly, with the intention that both instructors will serve as Signature Course Fellows simultaneously during the same fellowship period. Or one instructor may apply for the Fellowship individually, without the intention that the other will serve as a Fellow. In the case where only one instructor serves as a Fellow, they may request additional funding if they would like to make it possible for the un-funded co-instructor to visit the program on an occasional basis.

One goal of the fellowship selection process is the creation of a diverse and collaborative community of Fellows with a range of disciplines and academic ranks. Applicants who are members of traditionally under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

Note: due to the terms of the grant, we are seeking tenure-track (or already tenured) faculty members for these fellowships. Teaching faculty will not normally be competitive for a fellowship except for in unusual cases where the teaching faculty member also has an established record of research success. If you believe that exception fits your particular case, feel free to apply but be sure to address it in your application.


The Signature Course Fellowship program is an in-person, residential program. All Fellows are expected to reside in the South Bend area and remain in residence at the University of Notre Dame during the period of their fellowship (except for vacation periods, holidays, and University breaks).

Fellows should be free of their regular commitments and have their primary office at the NDIAS so they may devote themselves full time to the work outlined in their proposal and participate fully in the engaging and cooperative community of scholars at the Institute.

Fellows are required to attend the Vision Summit (August 2024), all planning seminars during their fellowship period, and the Summative Conference (May 2026).

Fellows are expected to teach the course they’ve developed at least three times in the three years after the fellowship period and to develop and maintain a website to accompany the course. (Website development will be a central task during the Fellowship program, and Fellows will receive substantial website training and support while in residence.)

Fellows must also commit to participate in program evaluation of their course and their Fellowship experience. This may require writing self-study reports, conducting interviews with students, creating and distributing surveys, and permitting evaluators to visit and evaluate the course during the launch phase.

Application Process

Applications for Faculty Fellowships must be submitted through Interfolio and should include the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Cover Letter
  • CV (no more than 4 pages, single spaced)
  • Project Proposal (2-3 pages, single spaced). The Project Proposal should describe the course the applicant intends to build, including its anticipated scale (class/audience size), the pedagogical tools employed, and key learning goals. The applicant should also situate the course in their department’s or university’s curriculum and discuss the unmet need it will fill.
  • Letters of endorsement from the applicant’s department chair and dean-level administrator (dean, associate dean, etc.). These letters should address the strength of the applicant’s course proposal, its importance to the university’s curriculum, and the applicant’s availability for a full-time residential fellowship of the sort our program provides. The letters should also provide assurance that the applicant will be able to teach the course at least three times in the three years following the fellowship.

Finalists will be asked to be available for a brief Zoom conversation with committee members during the final stage of the selection process.


Applicants will be evaluated according to the following criteria

  • Course Content and Learning Goals: The course should be informed by up-to-date scholarship in the relevant disciplines, be appropriately engaged with practical questions facing students, and include at least one significant learning goal that requires students to apply this scholarship to their own lives in the context of the course themes.
  • Scholarly Excellence: The course should reflect the most significant ideas coming out of relevant research on flourishing from the relevant disciplines. The instructor should have a plan for integrating their research, teaching, and public engagement, and the course should reflect both breadth and depth of engagement in its design.
  • Sustainability and Institutional Visibility: The course should fulfill a clear, unmet need in the home university’s curriculum. The plan for meeting the need should be innovative and benefit from a semester of intensive design. The home university should have a plan for integrating the course into department requirements and/or the core curriculum.
  • Scale and Likely Impact: There should be demonstrated potential for public impact and a thoughtful balance of breadth, approachability, and rigor. At some institutions, this will mean offering the course to a large number of students. At others this will mean building out a mechanism for the public to engage with and learn from the project.

Apply for a Signature Course Fellowship

Applications for all 2024-2025 Signature Course Fellowships (Fall, Spring, and Summer) are due by Monday, November 6, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

If you have questions about the application process for our Signature Course Fellowships, please direct them to Adam Gustine at