What are Mountaintop Projects?
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 their projects, and envision faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible, sustainable impact: impact which builds the skillsets, mindsets, and portfolios of pioneers and change-makers in a rapidly changing world.
The MOUNTAINTOP SUMMER EXPERIENCE:
from Inquiry to Impact
Call for Abstracts for Summer 2020 program
Abstract due date: December 18, 2019
Full Proposals due (by solicitation only): February 16, 2020
Lehigh University faculty members are invited to submit proposal abstracts to inaugurate projects in the 2020 Mountaintop Summer Experience program (MTSE20). 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 their projects, and position faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible, sustainable impact: impact which builds the skill sets, 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 way, 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 2020 Mountaintop Summer Experience program will begin on Monday, June 1st and end on Friday, August 7th. Students who are accepted into Mountaintop teams will earn a stipend of $400 per week (total of $4,000 for the summer) for undergraduates and $550 per week (total of $5,500) for graduate students. Lunch will be provided to MTSE participants in Building C this summer (Monday-Friday), to facilitate continued work during the daytime hours as well as strengthen the MTSE community. Faculty mentors can request project expense budgets, not to exceed $1,500 per student on the team. Faculty mentors will also be given innovation dissemination funds of $750 per student. Additional funding is available when projects continue into the fall semester and beyond.
One-page (maximum) abstracts are due by 11:59pm EST on December 18, 2019 and should be submitted via email (PDF files preferred) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts will be reviewed by the Office of Creative Inquiry and full proposals (of not more than three pages) will be solicited by January 20, 2020, with a due date of February 16.
Submitted abstracts should include, at minimum, the following: key personnel (including the faculty PI and any co-PIs, plus any students who may already be involved); a 1-2 paragraph summary of the project’s goals, scope, areas of study, and potential for impact; and, an estimate of how many students you would request for your team and an estimated project budget.
Full proposals will be reviewed by 4-7 evaluators, who will provide feedback on five equally weighted criteria, the “5 C’s”:
Creative Inquiry - does the project propose to forge new ground, create new knowledge, or advance praxis in some field?
Convergence - does the project allow for a plurality of disciplinary approaches, methodologies, cultural perspectives, ways of knowing, doing, being?
Continuity - does the project have sufficient scope and intention to continue into the academic year and allow for multiple teams of students to participate over multiple semesters and years?
Community - does the project offer to contribute to a broader community of innovation in Building C over the summer, and will its participants be active members of that community?
Commitment to Impact - does the project propose to advance the world forward, solve a new question or problem, or otherwise create sustainable, lasting impact in some way?
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.
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 2020 be regarded as the moment that changed it all? Let’s dream a little!
2019 Mountaintop Summer Projects-- Click Image for Website or Abstract!
Summer 2019 Mountaintop Images
Get Inspired! Past Mountaintop Projects
Please note that at this time, participation in the Mountaintop program is limited primarily to Lehigh University students, with the following exceptions: 1) students from institutions with which Lehigh has a formal partnership or MOU; 2) students from other area colleges who do not need Lehigh housing; or 3) students participating in an REU experience related to a specific project who are doing their research work at Lehigh over the summer.