Call for Proposals

Faculty members are invited to submit proposals for the 2018 Mountaintop Summer Experience (MTSE). Mountaintop projects are interdisciplinary deep dives where faculty, students, and external partners come together and take new intellectual, creative, and/or artistic pathways that lead to transformative new innovations, new expressions, and new questions. We expect students to take radical ownership in the projects and envision faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible, and sustainable impact: impact which builds the skillsets, mindsets, and portfolios of pioneers and change-makers in a rapidly-changing world; impact which stands on the shoulders of giants and contributes to the world’s cumulative knowledge base; impact which advances praxis and delivers solutions to the most compelling challenges facing the world today. We invite faculty to define impact in their own ways, in a multiplicity of ways, and inspire us to join their dreams.

Mountaintop projects offer a distinctive integrated pathway to learning, research, and engagement. Students are often amazed at what they are able to accomplish, and how their inquiries and intellectual journeys strengthen their agency and self-efficacy and inspire new personal and professional identities. For faculty, these projects offer opportunities to work with the highest caliber of self-motivated students at Lehigh and other partner universities. Faculty can leverage the MTSE to pursue inquiries that emerge from their own research as long as students have substantive intellectual and creative freedom and contribution to the project.

The 2018 Mountaintop Summer Experience runs from May 29 – August 3. Students who are accepted onto Mountaintop teams will earn a stipend of $410 per week (total of $4,100 for the summer) for undergraduates and $560 per week (total of $5,600) for graduate students. Lunch will be provided in Building C this summer, to facilitate continued work during the daytime hours as well as strengthen the MTSE community. Teams can request funds for project expenses, not to exceed $1,500 per student. Faculty mentors will be given an “innovation dissemination fund” of $750 per student, with additional funds available to advance the project into the Fall semester and beyond. Additional funding is available through The Langer Grant for International Creative Inquiry Projects, to cover student expenses related to international project-related travel.

Two-page proposals are due on February 19 with decisions made by March 15. Each proposal will be reviewed by 4-7 evaluators, who will provide feedback on five equally-weighted criteria: Creative Inquiry; Convergence; Continuity; Community; and Commitment to Impact. Evaluators will provide open-ended comments on the proposal’s viability and feasibility. External evaluators, whether they are subject matter experts or actors in the relevant ecosystem (e.g. Bethlehem city officials), may be consulted when appropriate. Based on evaluations, proposals may be returned for further revision and resubmission. Final selections will be made by the Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry, in consultation with the Provost.

We seek citizens in our community of doers, thinkers, and creators who encourage, critique, and challenge one another on the path to excellence…and impact. In the history of the world, how will your Mountaintop project in the Summer of 2018 be regarded as the moment that changed it all? Let’s dream a little!

2018 Evaluation Form
Practical Insights on crafting successful proposals (based on the 2017 review cycle)
2017-2018 Inquiry to Impact Projects
2017 Mountaintop Summer Experience Projects

Proposal Format and Submission Process

Proposals for 2018 Mountaintop projects must be submitted by the faculty member who will serve as lead mentor for the project. Submit proposals in a PDF document, attached to an email sent to, with the subject line “Mountaintop Summer 2018 Proposal: <Project Title>.”

Deadline for proposal submission is 11:59pm EST on Monday, February 19, 2018.

Proposals should be 1-2 pages (at single-spaced 12-point font) and should include the following sections:


  • Project title (to be used in all communications and marketing materials)
  • Name of lead faculty mentor
  • Names of partnering faculty/other mentors if applicable (and if multiple faculty mentors, please designate a primary faculty contact)
  • Administrative contact for the project (for managing budget, etc.)
  • Names of students are already committed to the project, if any
  • Types of students who would be ideal for this project…majors, skillsets, competencies, interests, etc.

Dream and Impact

  • What is the dream? What is the topic/question/possibility/mode of inquiry you will employ?
  • How will you pursue this dream?
  • What is the project’s potential for real impact? What disciplines, fields, or spheres can you influence?
  • How is this project collaborative, and what communities of practice would be involved in seeing it through?

Project Scope

  • What are you inspired by, what are you building on, and how are you standing on the shoulders of giants?
  • What is the new intellectual/creative pathway you are taking?
  • Why is this a game-changer?
  • Who cares and why? What are the communities of practice that you are contributing to and calibrating against?

**Faculty and staff: if you are interested in being an evaluator for 2018 Mountaintop proposals, please contact Bill Whitney at**

"If you give a Lehigh student a problem, they’re going to find a way to solve it. If you give 100 Lehigh students a problem, they’re going to find a really interesting way to solve it."
- Alex Derish, '15


If you have an idea for a Mountaintop project, please approach a faculty member to learn more about the proposal process.