College of Arts & Science

Geoffrion Family Fellows

The Geoffrion Family Fellowship is the highest honor awarded by the Humanities Center to an undergraduate.  Up to six students are selected annually. They receive extraordinary opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty, interact with distinguished visiting writers and intellectuals, and develop advanced skills in research and public engagement. 

The Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellows Program is part of the annual Altman Program in the Humanities.  It is open to outstanding Miami University undergraduates who seek an opportunity to explore advanced scholarship in the humanities. Geoffrion Fellows join the Altman faculty research community of eight to ten professors from a range of academic disciplines. This faculty group gathers to study an issue of consequence through a special faculty seminar and a series of public lectures, conferences, and other events. Two members of the faculty research group also teach a special 400-level course on the theme of the Altman Program.

The goal of the program is to offer ambitious undergraduates an opportunity to conduct independent inquiry, an introduction to research collaboration in the humanities, and a sense of what it is like to be a professor of history, philosophy, language, literature, or culture. 

Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows are sometimes invited to be guests in the Altman Faculty Research Seminar.  They have opportunities to meet with distinguished visitors and on occasion interview or dine with them.  Working closely with faculty fellows and the Altman Graduate Fellow, each Geoffrion Fellow develops an independent research project, a formal presentation of this project, and a collaborative public humanities project.  Individual research projects may count for departmental honors or Honors Program credit.  Collaborative public humanities projects can include a range of creative projects, including development of a website, blog, archive, podcast, or film; creation of press materials for conferences and visiting scholars; organization of a film series, book club, or community service project; or publication in a non-scholarly magazine or newsletter. 

Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellows earn up to 6 credits: 3 in in the special, team-taught 400-level Altman course during fall, and 3 independent study credits in the spring.

The Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellowship includes a $250 award.

Applications are due, March 3, 2019.

Undergraduate Eligibility:

To apply for a Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellowship (GUF), you must: 

  • Be a declared undergraduate humanities major ready to engage in advanced study.  While there is no class-standing requirement, most GUFs are juniors and seniors in the year of the fellowship. (According to the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, “The humanities include, but are not limited to, the following fields: history, philosophy, languages, literature, linguistics, archeology, jurisprudence, history and criticism of the arts, ethics, comparative religion, and those aspects of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches. This last category includes social and cultural anthropology, sociology, political theory, international relations, and other subjects concerned with questions of value.”)
  • Take the special Altman Undergraduate Course in the fall semester of the program. GUFs are guaranteed a spot in the class, which is team-taught by the two Altman Faculty Fellows.
  • Join the Altman Faculty Seminar, when invited. The faculty seminar meets every 2-3 weeks.  (GUFs are invited to select seminars, depending on the goals of the faculty research group).
  • Be willing to undertake an independent research project and to collaborate on a public humanities project while involved in the group.  This work can take any number of forms and may be used to obtain credit toward any of the following: a major assignment in the Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Course; an independent study; a departmental honors thesis; or Miami University Honors Program requirements. 
  • Attend major Altman Program events, such as conferences, and be willing to help assist with routine organizational tasks during these events (e.g. setting up chairs).
  • Agree not to schedule classes between 11:30a.m.-2 p.m. on Fridays. This is when the faculty seminar meets.
  • Be enrolled at one of Miami's Ohio campuses for both semesters of the fellowship year.  (Study abroad students are not eligible).

To apply, submit an email to by the deadline. Please type “GUF APPLICATION” in the subject line of your message. Your message should contain your application document in the form of a PDF attachment named "[your last name] GUF Application.pdf." Your document should contain the following:

  • Your name, major(s) and minor(s), current year at Miami, current class standing, and GPA. 
  • A statement of no more than one single-spaced page, describing your interest in the program, your qualifications, and anything else that makes you a good candidate for inclusion in next year’s group.  You might, for example, discuss your scholarly interests and their relation to the annual theme of the Altman program, any prior research experience, your career goals, or your idea for an individual project tied to the annual theme.  We do not expect all applicants to have a firm plan of individual study formulated at this time; but strong applications suggest that the applicant has the experience and the capacity to do good work under the guidance of faculty. 
  • The names and email addresses of two faculty members who are familiar with your work and who would be willing to talk to us about you, if asked. You do not need to ask for letters of reference.  
  • A current, unofficial transcript. You can download a copy of your transcript for free from the registrar's website.  If you do not know how to merge this document into your PDF application document, you may include it as a separate PDF attachment. Please label it "[your last name] Transcript.pdf."  

2019-2020 Geoffrion Family Fellows Program. 

Program Topic: “Time & Temporality"

Human experience is fundamentally shaped by the relation to time. We constantly think in, and of, time.  We worry about it, negotiate it, and try to manipulate it.  Humans are embedded in many temporalities: the slowness of plants and seeds, the eons of nuclear waste, the urgency of climate change, the impatience of social injustice, and the slow-burning pain of hope. But what exactly is time?  We sometimes treat it as a commodity, something to trade, exploit, and accumulate.  We also tend to see it as the measure of change across a straight line. But this definition fails to capture the experience of time, the dynamics of natural cycles, and the ways in which human consciousness sweeps from past to future and back again.  To the extent that we construct our experience of time, it is malleable, aesthetic, and artistic. Yet it is also unequally distributed in life spans, prison sentences, and the availability of leisure.  The 2019-20 Altman Program invites faculty, students, alumni, and the public to explore the multiplicity of time and our engagement, both active and passive, in it. How do clock and calendar time relate to natural cycles and lived experience? How has the human sense of temporality changed historically in response to social, economic, political, technical, and cultural forces?  How do the arts and literature express, modify, and conceptualize the complexity of time?  What are the pleasures and pains of time? To the extent that time is a human experience, how might the humanities be positioned to release or create its meanings?  In an era of emphasis on spatial representation and big data, can renewed attention to temporality help us reframe our experience, our world, and the challenges we face?


Special Course: Philosophy 410T/French 430T TR 1:15–2:35 PM 

Geoffrion Fellows must register for the 2019-2020 Altman Program course, “Time & Temporality”  (FRE 430T/PHL 410T).  This small, special course invites students to engage with a wide array of representations and theories of time in literature, philosophy, film, and more.  The course will be team taught by Professor Jonathan Strauss and Professor Elaine Miller.