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Funding Priorities

The History Department has identified six funding priorities that reflect our needs and opportunities to sustain and expand our teaching and research, to produce new historical knowledge that changes the shape of history nationally and internationally, and to impart this knowledge to succeeding generations of students.

Explore the priorities below or download a printable version (PDF). To discuss other giving opportunities, including bequests, estate, or planned gifts, please contact Wendy Day (LSA Development; 734.904.6650;

Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies

The EIHS mission is to create a world-class forum for historical scholarship (teaching, research, and publication) that anchors the intellectual community of U-M historians, conveys new historical knowledge to a wide audience, and promotes a broad recognition of the benefits that historical studies offer to contemporary life. Examining the course of human action in the past enhances understanding of the present and informs the imagination of better futures.

At the Eisenberg, we address a public audience that includes the students and faculty of the U-M campuses; local, state, and regional residents; as well as public opinion nationally and globally. The EIHS offers an exciting range of events that support historical research and stimulate learning. Contributors to EIHS can help support the following programs that are integral to the ongoing success of the Institute. Learn more about EIHS. Current priorities include:

  • Postdoctoral fellowship supporting a year-long residency at EIHS to be awarded to a recent recipient of a PhD in history
  • Public programs featuring popular lecturers, historical museum exhibits, film exhibitions, town-hall debates, and events that promote historical understanding for undergraduates, the U-M community, and residents of our region.
  • Residential fellowships for young academic historians from underrepresented groups in the profession to foster scholarly collaboration among junior professors working to complete major books and achieve tenure at their home institutions.

Link to make a gift to the Eisenberg Institute or contact Robin Colgan (734.615.6317) to make a gift to this fund or for more information. 

Program in Science, Technology, and Society

The STS Program is at the forefront of interdisciplinary exploration of many of the world’s most pressing problems. These include such issues as the tension between expertise and democracy in environmental regulation; increasing costs and inequality associated with life-saving medical innovations; social media and potentials for surveillance and democratization of information; and other global problems that require the consideration of scientific and technical problems simultaneously with questions of value, social justice, politics, ethics, and aesthetics.

STS uses a wide range of humanistic and social scientific methods to study the knowledge and practices of science, technology, and medicine in their social context. Faculty members and graduate students from across the university travel around the world to conduct innovative research, collaborate on global STS initiatives, and serve as consultants for government and industry. Learn more about STS. Current funding priority:

  • Fellowships for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty and visiting scholars: Gifts will make it possible for national and international connections among faculty and graduate students here and elsewhere to blossom into full-scale collaborations. Students would also have the opportunity to work with these visitors, thereby deepening their engagement with global problems.

Contact Robin Colgan (734.615.6317) to make a gift to this fund or for more information.

Visiting Professorship in the History of Law and Minor in History of Law and Policy

Legal history is a growing subfield in the discipline of history. Michigan has an exciting team of scholars teaching the history of law, not just in the U.S., but also in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, China, and the Middle East. Law is a common destination for undergraduates majoring in history. We propose to strengthen our commitment in this direction by 1) creating a Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Legal History, and 2) supporting the minor in History of Law and Policy to build on the presence of faculty already in the U-M History Department as well as drawing on Law School expertise. Such a program would serve a wide range of undergraduates while catalyzing study of law in our department.

Contact Robin Colgan (734.615.6317) to make a gift to this fund or for more information.

Public History Initiative

Over the last half century, history in the academy has too often set itself apart, reflecting a larger trend toward professionalization and specialization in both research and teaching. But at Michigan that is changing due in part to the university’s long tradition of contributing to the public good. We are creating opportunities for greater contact and cooperation between academic historians and communities across the country. U-M is well positioned to be a leader in the growing field of public history, which aims to “put history to work in the world.” 

With an exceptionally strong history department and a wealth of programs and resources on campus, U-M can serve as an anchor for community and regional partnerships with museums and historic sites, libraries, local cultural organizations, and other educational institutions. Establishing a Center for Public History would incorporate all of the following public history programming, courses and internships, workshops, and partnerships, and would leverage existing strengths on campus to develop a vision for the field of public history in which U-M plays an integral part. Our location in southeast Michigan would enable a Center to advance historical perspectives and insights regarding the economic, political, and environmental challenges facing our state and region. Funding priorities include:

  • Creating a Usable Past: Gifts would support a team of faculty members and students working to create archives of documents and oral history interviews centered on a particular issue, event, or community. U-M has the capacity to catalog and house the materials so that they are available to future researchers. Students can collaborate with communities through such means as digital technologies and public programming to ensure continuing accessibility.
  • Our Own Backyard: Research funds are needed for faculty to investigate local history topics collaboratively with community history organizations and practitioners. Such support would promote scholarly rigor in local history, call attention to the importance of place in history, and deepen relationships between the university and area residents.
  • On the Road: Collaboration requires time and travel. Students and faculty engaged in public history need resources to go beyond the campus and engage directly with organizations and communities—locally, nationally, and even internationally. We seek funds to support travel and lodging, as well as stipends for students and faculty involved in public history projects.
  • Graduate Student Internship: Graduate students need to develop a wide array of skills to work as historians both inside and outside the academy. Formalizing an internship program would help ensure breadth in their training. For example, U-M has a successful partnership with the National Historic Landmarks Program of the National Park Service that provides history graduate students with valuable experience in historic preservation, community collaboration, and public speaking, along with research and writing. Establishing a regular internship would ensure this type of opportunity is available to students on a continuing basis.
  • Summit to Develop Public History Leadership: Funding is needed to bring to campus experts in the field of public history, community organization leaders, and business and civic leaders to facilitate collaboration with our faculty and graduate students. Hosting such a summit would place U-M at the forefront of this growing field.
  • Reciprocal Faculty Exchange: We seek funding to invite public history professionals—such as museum curators, cultural resource managers, or preservationists—to campus to co-teach a course, and also to have our faculty serve as scholars-in-residence at public history organizations.

Contact Robin Colgan (734.615.6317) to make a gift to this fund or for more information.

Career Development for Undergraduate History Majors

Studying history develops critical analytical skills students need to achieve in a wide variety of careers. To prepare our students to pursue career options, the Department has implemented new programs that provide history majors with concrete advice and essential resources. We seek funding to help us build on our success with History Department Career Day and expand our support for student career exploration and networking. Gifts for this initiative could help to create:

  • History Career Week to provide hands-on, skill-building sessions for undergraduate majors and minors to learn to showcase their marketability along particular professional tracks.
  • Online forums to connect current students with history alumni.
  • Specialized pre-professional career panels with alumni from fields such as law, public policy, medicine/public health, journalism/ new media, business/finance, and education.
  • Workshops with recent graduates on resume-building, interviewing, networking and more that are paired with presentations by history professors whose work provides important insights into dynamics of interest to each professional realm so that students can articulate the connections.

Contact Robin Colgan (734.615.6317) to make a gift to this fund or for more information.

History Strategic Fund

The strength of our strategic fund is critical to our ability to pursue new opportunities and supplement whenever gaps appear. Contributions to the History Strategic Fund can help support crucial activities such as:

  • New course development
  • Faculty- and student-led conferences and symposia
  • Undergraduate events and workshops
  • Recruiting efforts that keep our faculty among the finest in the country.

Make a gift to the History Strategic Fund or contact Robin Colgin (734.615.6317) for additional information.