Fellowship in Ideas

Harrison Middleton University Fellowship in Ideas

Harrison Middleton University is a great ideas, great works, great conversations, distance-learning university that offers graduate education in the humanities with concentrations in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social science. Harrison Middleton University promotes student-faculty scholarship through research, discussion, and the development of collaborative publications.

The HMU Fellowship in Ideas is a writing and discussion project in the humanities designed for a recent university graduate from any field who has an interest in the humanities, interdisciplinary dialogue, and intellectual and professional enrichment. The Fellowship offers emerging scholars exposure to the history of ideas in Western civilization, networking opportunities amongst an array of academicians, lifelong learners, readers, and thinkers from a broad range of disciplines, and credited authorship in two university publications. Except for conference attendance, all activities of the HMU Fellowship in Ideas may be carried out from any location with adequate telephone and internet access.

Over the course of nine months, the HMU Fellow in Ideas will:

  • Participate in Socratic discussions with university faculty.

  • Contribute two entries to the Harrison Middleton University Blog.

  • Attend Great Books Chicago 2019 on May 3-5, 2019

  • Publish a book review in HMU: Dialogues, Harrison Middleton University’s biannual newsletter.


The successful applicant to the HMU Fellowship in Ideas will enjoy the following benefits:

  • A stipend to cover travel, registration, and related expenses for attendance at Great Books Chicago.

  • The opportunity to participate in Socratic discussions with university faculty.

  • Networking opportunities with the Great Books Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization in Chicago since 1947 that developed the Shared Inquiry Method (a variation of Socratic discussion) and offers K-12 and lifelong learning programs nationwide.

  • Online publication in the HMU Blog and HMU: Dialogues.

  • At the conclusion of the Fellowship term, a complimentary library of five Great Books Foundation publications.

Application Requirements

The successful applicant must:

  • Have received a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (in any field) since 2016.

  • Have an interest in the humanities and the great ideas of Western civilization.

  • Have outstanding reading, writing, and communication abilities.

  • Be able to attend Great Books Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, on May 3-5, 2019.

  • Commit to writing two blog entries for the HMU Blog and one book review, based on a Great Books Foundation publication to be determined, for HMU: Dialogues.

Application Process

Please provide the following:

  • A completed application form.

  • A biographical statement of no more than 500 words that addresses your background as a student, your interest in the humanities, and your interest in the HMU Fellowship in Ideas.

  • An appropriately cited expository essay of no more than 1500 words plus a works cited page, applying your interest to a great idea in the humanities related to one of these concentrations: imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social science.

Submit your application and writing samples as attached Microsoft Word-compatible documents to Information@hmu.edu. The deadline for applications is October 1, 2018.

Shortlisted candidates will be requested to participate in an interview, either by telephone or Skype. The successful applicant will be notified by Harrison Middleton University on or before December 1, 2018.


The HMU Fellowship in Ideas is a great opportunity for anyone interested in thinking deeply and engaging productively with great works and a community of fellow thinkers. Through the online discussions and most especially the opportunity to engage in person at Great Books Chicago, you will meet people from across the country who truly think big about the world around us. You will also get the opportunity to share your writing through a university-based medium with the world. If you are looking for an early career enhancement as a writer or academic, or simply want to expand your knowledge and perspective on the world, don't hesitate to apply.

-Carter Vance, 2018 Fellowship in Ideas Recipient


The Fellowship in Ideas at Harrison Middleton University exposed me to outstanding thinkers, new ideas, and innovative ways to think about, enjoy, and discuss literature. I was thrilled to write and think with the support of caring and thoughtful faculty. This is a fantastic opportunity for innovative scholars and thinkers.

-Matt Phillips, 2018 Fellowship in Ideas Recipient


2019 Fellowship in Ideas Recipients


Ned Boulberhane

Ned Boulberhane is a recent graduate from California State University: Dominguez Hills. He has worked as an English teacher in Russia, China, the USA, and volunteered in Algeria. His academic background centers on African and Near Eastern Political History. In addition to education, he has been involved with creative writing and the arts for the last 20 years. Ned is a proud believer in the power of ideas and their ability to unite humanity as well as the entirety of the Planet Earth from the forests to the oceans. It is a pleasure to participate in the Fellowship of Ideas.


Laken Brooks

Laken Brooks is a current English graduate student and teaching assistant at the University of Florida. Originally from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Brooks adopts an interdisciplinary interest in diversity in literature and education. Laken Brooks is a certified 6-12 English teacher, and she hopes to take on a career in publishing or teaching to ensure that more students -- especially queer students and young women -- see themselves represented in their curriculum. Currently, Brooks is interested in building her digital humanities knowledge through coding, archiving, and editing. 


Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor is a teacher and artist from Ontario, Canada. She holds a BAH in Visual Arts and French Language from the University of Guelph, and a BEd from Queen’s University. As the daughter of two teachers herself, she strongly values a lifelong pursuit of learning. Currently, she teaches French as a Second Language to high school students, and through the Fellowship in Ideas she hopes to explore how the Shared Inquiry Method can be effectively implemented in Secondary classrooms.


2018 Fellowship in Ideas Recipients

writing center.jpg

George L. Hickman

George L. Hickman works as a paralegal near Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a Masters degree in English from Ball State University and a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Classics from Bucknell University. His current work in fiction explores characters who have moved away from their birth country and characters who have moved away from their gender assigned at birth. Through the Fellowship of Ideas, George plans to explore the relationship between architecture, landscape, and characterization in art. His fiction has recently appeared in The Louisville Review, The Copperfield Review, and SAND Magazine.


James Keller.jpg

James Keller

James Keller received his BA in Philosophy and Religion from Harrison Middleton University in 2015. Currently, he is studying with Harrison Middleton University in pursuit of his MA, also in Philosophy and Religion. James is a proponent of The Great Books program and the process of shared inquiry.

Ben Peterson.jpg

Benjamin Peterson

Ben was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the son of a fisherman. He holds degrees in Film Studies and Russian Studies, and maintains that he had no involvement in the 2016 elections outside of his personal ballot. He currently travels around the country, housesitting, watching movies, and occasionally writing.

Matt Phillips.JPG

Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips has studied at North Carolina Central University, The University of Texas-El Paso, and Antioch University-Los Angeles. He earned his MFA in creative writing at UTEP, and won the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize in 2016. He also writes crime and noir fiction. His books include Accidental Outlaws, Three Kinds of Fool, Bad Luck City, Redbone, and a forthcoming comedic noir called The Bad Kind of Lucky.

Sam Risak.jpg

Sam Risak

A graduate from the University of South Florida with a dual degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Creative Writing, she questions those who are traditionally granted epistemic authority and any claims of universal or objective truths. She explores topics such as the social construction of gendered bodies to research whether women are biologically predisposed to require fewer calories than men or if the desire to maintain women as passive in a patriarchy informs such nutritional recommendations. In her writing, she undermines essentialist claims to illustrate why no results are unclouded from the lens of their founder.

Carter Vance.JPG

Carter Vance

Carter Vance is a Masters candidate at the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University. He holds a Honours Bachelor of Social Work from Algoma University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Vance has worked in the offices of several members of Canada's Parliament and as a policy analyst for governmental and non-profit organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom. His writing has appeared with such outlets as Jacobin, C2C Journal and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is also a published poet, whose first collection, Songs About Girls, is currently available from Urban Farmhouse Press.

"The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read."
~ Abraham Lincoln