The John W. Adams Summer Scholars Program in Socio-legal Studies provides opportunities for students to work in close collaboration with faculty members as full participants in the design and execution of a socio-legal studies research project. A primary component of the program is the public presentation of the summer scholar's work at the conclusion of the research project.
Dates & Deadlines
The deadline for proposal submissions is Monday, March 1, 2021. Students must submit proposals to Professor Ric Sheffield using this form no later than 4:30 p.m. Faculty mentors should complete this form.
Guidelines for Preparing Research Proposals
1. The proposal must contain a clear and concise statement of the research questions and focus of the research. Explain clearly what it is that you are attempting to investigate and why your question is important. This might include a statement about your field or discipline's approach to your question or related issue;
2. The proposal should contain a statement about the sources of information, data or literature about your research topic. Here you will want to talk about what materials or sources you think exist to advance your work as well as how you expect and intend to access these sources. You might also discuss why your project requires funding and cannot be accomplished through a class assignment (e.g. it requires travel to archives, it involves field work or interviews of subjects, etc.);
3. The proposal should articulate your goals and objectives in pursuing the research. Ask yourself what you hope to have achieved or accomplished when you have finished your work. Further you might reflect upon how you will assess or evaluate whether your project was successful;
4. The proposal must contain a statement about the methodology you expect to employ in your research. Indicate why you have chosen this approach as opposed to others; and
5. The proposal must contain a well conceived timetable for the research, indicating the anticipated calendar of tasks week-by-week; this is where you will show that you have realistically calculated the time it should take to accomplish the phases of your work. If you are enrolled in an individual study course or some other class during the spring semester (e.g. LGLS 371 "Exploring Law") through which you can prepare for the summer research, you should discuss this in your proposal. If you expect to enroll in such a course in the fall to continue the research (e.g. Honors, INDS, senior seminar, etc.), this should be discussed as well. Of course, projects that involve human subjects will require Kenyon IRB approval, so your proposal's timetable should reflect your planning and intentions in this regard.
A good proposal will be clear and understandable to a reader who is not an expert or even particularly knowledgeable in your field of inquiry. It will avoid unnecessary jargon in favor of demonstrating a sophisticated and nuanced approach to the issues presented therein. Be sure to proof-read it and submit it in a form that shows that you appreciate the fact that your receipt of an award is based largely upon the impression that your proposal will make upon the selection committee.
1. The proposal begins with a letter from a faculty member inviting the applicant to serve as a research assistant on a specific research project. While the faculty member's brief letter of invitation should explain the project sufficiently for the student to be able to have a general understanding about the type of work that they will be doing for the summer, the applicant's proposal must contain a clear and concise statement of why the research appeals to the student and how participation in the project may enhance her or his understanding and appreciation for the operation of law in society. This might include a statement about any law related course(s) you have taken or plan to take as well as your experience with and preparation for doing the type of research to be pursued; and
2. The proposal should articulate your goals and objectives in pursuing the assistantship. Ask yourself what you hope to have achieved or accomplished when you have finished your work. Further you might reflect upon how you will evaluate whether your project was successful or assess the contribution that you will make to the mentor's project.
A good proposal will demonstrate that the applicant has given substantial thought to the faculty member's invitation and taken reasonable steps to inquire about and investigate what the assistantship would entail. The proposal should show that you are a good match for the opportunity and will clearly benefit from it. Be sure to proof-read it and submit it in a form that shows that you appreciate the fact that your receipt of an award is based largely upon the impression that your proposal will make upon the selection committee.
1. The proposal must propose a host placement or nonprofit entity with which to work; it should contain a clear and concise statement of the mission and focus of the nonprofit's activities. Articulate how the work of the organization involves or is influenced by legal institutions or agents. Explain clearly what policy question or issues will guide your socio-legal research during the internship, indicating why your question is important as well as how it might contribute to the work of the organization. Attach a copy of the letter of agreement or understanding from an authorized representative of the nonprofit confirming that you will be accepted as a summer intern along with a brief outline or statement regarding the types of assignments that you will be given as well as the name and contact information of the person(s) who will serve as your “on site” supervisor/mentor. This person will be responsible for completing the assessment or evaluation of your summer internship certifying that you successfully completed your work, so she or he should have direct contact with you and exposure to your work;
2. The proposal should contain a statement about the potential sources of information, data or literature about your research topic and whether your internship may provide you access to some of these sources. Here you will want to talk about what materials or sources you think exist to advance your work as well as how you expect and intend to access these sources.
3. The proposal should articulate your goals and objectives in pursuing the research. Ask yourself what you hope to have achieved or accomplished when you have finished your work. Further you might reflect upon how you will assess or evaluate whether your project was successful.
4. The proposal must contain a statement about the methodology you expect to employ in your research. Indicate why you have chosen this approach as opposed to others.
5. In addition to the consent of the agency mentor/supervisor, each applicant must have a Kenyon faculty mentor who will advise and assist the student during the internship. Normally, the expectation is that the student and faculty mentor will have telephone or electronic meetings on a weekly or every other week basis. The primary letter of faculty support should come from this person, acknowledging this expectation and agreeing to provide regular counsel through the term of the internship.
6. The proposal should contain a well-conceived timetable for the internship, indicating a proposed or anticipated calendar of tasks week-by-week; this is where you will show that you have realistically calculated the time it should take to accomplish the phases of your work. If you are enrolled in an individual study course or some other class during the spring semester (e.g. LGLS 371 "Exploring Law") through which you can prepare for the summer research component of the internship, you should discuss this in your proposal. If you expect to enroll in such a course in the fall to continue the research (e.g. Honors, INDS, senior seminar, etc.), this should be discussed as well. Of course, projects that involve human subjects will require Kenyon IRB approval, so your proposal's timetable should reflect your planning and intentions in this regard.
A good proposal will be clear and understandable to a reader who is not an expert or even particularly knowledgeable in your field of inquiry. Assume that members of the selection committee have no knowledge about the nonprofit with which you hope to do an internship. Your proposal should inform the committee of the reasons that your application should be favorably received and this opportunity funded for you. Be sure to proof-read it and submit it in a form that shows that you appreciate the fact that your receipt of an award is based largely upon the impression that your proposal will make upon the selection committee.
The current fellowship award is $4,000 per student plus provision of on-campus summer housing. Recipients of the fellowship may not pursue or accept other employment during the 9 week research term.
Selection of recipients for the competitive summer fellowships will be made by a committee comprised of the Director of the John W. Adams Summer Scholars Program and other faculty teaching within the Law & Society program as appropriate.
The four primary criteria for selection are;
1. Merit of the project;
2. Qualifications of the applicant (prior relevant coursework, research or methodological training);
3. Overall academic performance;
4. Strong faculty recommendations or support
Proposals are to be written and submitted by the student member of a student/faculty research team. Complete applications for a summer research award must include the following:
• Completed cover sheet
• A clear description of the project (in 2 to 4 pages);
• A statement about the qualifications of the student researcher (e.g. relevant coursework, research skills, etc.);
• A schedule for the project indicating tasks or objectives to be pursued over the 9 week period of the fellowship;
• A letter of support from the faculty mentor, including a statement about the qualifications of the student to successfully complete the project; if the research is part of a project undertaken by the faculty member, the letter should indicate whether the faculty member has grant funding to cover the student stipend and any necessary equipment; faculty mentors should submit their letters directly to the Director of the Summer Scholars Program;
• An expense budget and budget narrative (e.g. travel, postage, copying, transcripts, etc.) if one is being sought or is likely to be sought.
The Adams Summer Legal Scholars Program is unique in that it was designed to encourage original socio-legal research and scholarship by undergraduates in a liberal arts setting. The program pursues this goal by funding summer fellowships for Kenyon College students in a variety of academic contexts. There are three distinct tracks through which potential Summer Legal Scholars may participate in the Program.
Track 1 funds students who undertake a comprehensive project examining a socio-legal topic under the guidance and direction of a member of the Kenyon faculty. This track has been the route that some students pursuing departmental honors projects have taken; it gives them hands-on experience utilizing social science research methods as well as a head start in compiling data for their projects.
Track 2 funds students who are invited to serve as research assistants for faculty undertaking research that has some socio-legal component or dimension. Students gain research experience working on the faculty member's project, performing the customary tasks assigned to capable undergraduate research assistants.
Track 3 funds students who serve as interns at a nonprofit agency or organization in which the student will examine the role or impact of law upon the mission and effectiveness of the nonprofit.
In addition to the $4,000 fellowship paid to each Summer Legal Scholar, the program provides stipends to the faculty mentors up to $2,500 depending upon the track that the student follows as well as the number of students mentored. Those faculty members who have been invited to serve as a mentor or are otherwise considering making such a commitment should become familiar with the following list of expectations and responsibilities.
1. Prospective faculty mentors are expected to provide advice and assistance to the applicants in preparing their research proposals. Guidelines for preparing successful proposals are available on the program's webpage.
2. Complete proposals require that the prospective mentors submit a "letter of support" endorsing the project. The letter should state why the faculty members thinks that the project has scholarly merit and, thus, deserving of funding; whether in the faculty member's judgment the student has the qualifications and skills to successfully complete the project; and confirming that the faculty member is willing and available to provide individual guidance over the course of the project. If the faculty member has separate grant funding to sponsor the student's participation in the mentor's research, such information should be conveyed in this supporting letter. In the case of proposals for a research assistant position, the faculty member must provide a description of the research project being undertaken, specifying its socio-legal component or dimension as well as the types of work or assignments that the research assistant is expected or likely to undertake. See an example letter. In the case of proposals to serve as a summer intern with a nonprofit entity, the faculty letter should indicate any familiarity that the faculty member may have with the organization and whether the student is likely to gain access to the types of information she or he will need to complete the planned research.
3. Faculty mentors have found that the most successful projects have been the result of weekly meetings or conferences with the summer scholars; the expectation is that the mentor will be available to meet weekly and perhaps more often if and when required. Mentors should ask and schedule time for periodic updates to ensure that the summer scholars are staying on task. Mentors for students pursuing summer internships should plan to meet electronically (e.g. via phone, Google Meet, Skype, etc.) bi-weekly during the term of the internship.
4. Faculty mentors are expected to edit and critique the final research paper that will be produced at the conclusion of the research or internship as well as provide assistance should the student choose to submit the paper for publication in a journal for undergraduate research. The final product for students serving as research assistants will be determined by the faculty mentor in consultation with the Director, including whether a public presentation is to be given. Mentors should assist the student in preparing for, as well as attend the public presentation of the student's work in the fall semester following the summer fellowship.
• Mentoring Track 1 students pursuing a research project: $2,500
• Mentoring Track 2 students serving as research assistants: $1,500
• Mentoring Track 3 students pursing an internship: $1,000
LGLS 371 Exploring Law: Understanding Socio-legal Methods
"Exploring Law" has been designed as a discussion course with a series of mini-research assignments. This course focuses upon the role and contributions of sociology and the social sciences to the conceptualization of law and legal policy-making. The course materials will draw upon research performed primarily within the context of the American civil and criminal justice system. We will also examine some prevalent notions about what "law" is or should be, "legal" behavior and practices, and justifications for resorting to law to solve social problems. This course, while stimulating students' thinking about the relationships between and among individuals, social agencies, and the legal institutions and actors who are empowered within societies to make and enforce law, is intended to provide exposure and insight to a variety of research methodologies employed within the law and social science field. Through the use of mini-research assignments, it is hoped that students will gain an appreciation for the complexity and far-reaching impact that the social sciences have upon social policy and legal policy making as well as the difficulty of determining or "measuring" "law" and its impact. This course is highly recommended for students selected for the Summer Legal Scholars program.
Students may apply for assistance in meeting the costs of research, including presenting results at a conference. If these requests are funded, any materials, supplies, and equipment will become the property of the College and remain with the sponsoring faculty member's department or the Law and Society Program. An estimated budget must be prepared and submitted with each proposal. Costs for equipment and materials, travel for meetings and interviews, access to archives, cost for copying, or conference travel, if appropriately invoiced and receipted in the Accounting Office and approved by the faculty mentor, may not exceed $500.
Students awarded fellowships for the preceding summer are required to submit an electronic copy of the final comprehensive paper that serves as the research project's concluding report. Submit the paper electronically to Ric Sheffield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Legal Scholars, depending upon their mentors' preferences, will present their research at a public talk before the end of the semester immediately following their summer research experience. Ordinarily these presentations will occur during Family Weekend.
The students are encouraged to submit their final papers for publication in an undergraduate journal for legal studies. Some possible venues for submission include the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, culr.weebly.com and the Dalhouse Journal of Legal Studies, www.djls.org.
Students who successfully complete a summer socio-legal research project in accord with program and project requirements and who are endorsed by their faculty mentor will have this summer research experience specially noted on their transcript.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Students awarded a summer research scholarship whose research involves the use of human subjects, must apply to the Kenyon College IRB for review of their research protocol. Information about IRB application may be found on the IRB web page. IRB applications should be submitted well in advance of the start dates of your program and research.