The Stamps School of Art & Design, with generous support from the Stamps Family, friends, and other supporters in the community, proudly offers the Big Idea Award in memory of alumna Penny W. Stamps (1944-2018).
The award provides one Stamps senior or eligible team $25,000 to help launch a major, ambitious project after graduation. The winner will be announced as part of the Stamps Commencement celebrations. A committee of external reviewers nominated by Stamps faculty and representing a wide range of expertise will determine the winner. To date, here is a list of the Big Idea Award recipients:
“What’s your big idea?” Penny Stamps asked graduates in her April 2018 commencement speech. “You have your artistic skills — now develop your ideas, your big idea,” she said. “Imagination has no limits.”
The Big Idea Award aims to motivate students to develop ambitious aspirations that reflect the values of a Stamps education; accelerate progress toward achieving those aspirations; and encourage students to rise to the challenge put forth by Penny W. Stamps.
Start Your Application
Application and reference submission* deadline: February 25, 2024 at 11:59 pm
*As part of the application process, all applicants will request up to two references - one reference from a Stamps faculty member is required. SlideRoom will email the referrers/faculty member(s) with a form to complete; they must submit their references by the application deadline of Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 11:59 pm.
Individual applicants: Any Stamps undergraduate major in good academic standing and graduating in December 2023, May 2024, or August 2024 as established by an academic audit by the SWAPC staff.
Team applicants: Stamps senior(s) who meet the academic audit criteria stated above may submit a project undertaken by a team of students. All team members must be Stamps students. Teams can include Stamps students who are not yet seniors. While the team will be acknowledged in storytelling about the award, the award itself - and the financial disbursement - will only be distributed to Stamps senior(s). If a Stamps senior(s) is considering a team submission, they should be the author of the idea, and be acknowledged amongst their team as the project “lead(s)”. If there is more than one Stamps senior on the team, only one should submit an application. The application will ask that student to specify how the funds should be distributed by percentage to all Stamps seniors on the team.
Applicants may be of any citizenship.
Criteria for Award
Applicants will be evaluated on their ability to clearly and convincingly articulate the following via the application process:
A singular, focused, and ambitious Big Idea
A valued commitment to pursue the Big Idea whole-heartedly, passionately, and successfully
A commitment to pursue the Big Idea after graduation
Additionally, students will need to provide evidence of being able to successfully execute their Big Idea. Items to consider include:
Experience, skills, and preparation relevant to achieving the Big Idea
Ability to gather needed resources
Feasibility of the proposed activities
Feb 25, 2024: Application and reference submission deadline
March 18, 2024: Finalists are notified
April 4, 2024: Applicants notified of results
May 4, 2024: Award announced as part of the Stamps Commencement Celebrations.
Need help brainstorming, drafting and revising your Big Idea application? Stamps Writing Consultants Ali Shapiro and Jennifer Metsker can help with all stages of the process. Learn more and book an appointment for a writing consultation here.
Please contact Stamps-BIA@umich.edu.
This Fund was established to honor the significant contributions of beloved staff member Brian Banks’ exemplary work and energy to create community among students, staff, and alums alike. Since he first joined the School in 1998, Brian was dedicated and passionate in his commitment to student success and unity around shared values. This Fund will annually award the Brian Banks Staff Excellence Award to a current staff member who embodies the characteristics that Brian exemplified during his tenure at Stamps. They will be passionate in their creative voice, inspirational to those in our community, and are chosen on the basis of their exemplary work and achievements.
Recipients will receive:
- An individual cash award of $1,000.
- A framed award certificate.
- Public recognition in the Spring.
The Brian Banks Staff Excellence Award will be received by a current Penny W. Stamps School staff member to recognize the significant contributions to the Stamps School. Recipients of the Brian Banks Staff Excellence Award will be chosen on the basis of their exemplary work and unique achievements in creating community and a sense of belonging. The award is intended to serve as tangible evidence of the Stamps School’s appreciation of its outstanding staff members.
When reviewing nominations, a Selection Committee will look for examples of sustained excellence in an individual’s service. Consideration will be given to nominees who have made significant contributions or possess special qualities and attributes.
- Have a minimum of one year of service to the Stamps School of Art & Design in a regular staff position
- Have a sustained record of superior performance
- Promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for the Stamps community
- Have made a significant, measurable, and attributable long-term contribution to the mission/goals of the school.
Selection of the recipients will be based only on the information provided as part of the nomination process. All nomination materials remain confidential.
Nominations can be received from faculty, staff and students to the Selection Committee. This Committee will make a ranked list of recommendations to the Dean of the Stamps School, who will choose the award recipient. Nominations will be received via online form.
The form includes the following:
- A brief statement describing the characteristics and attributes of the nominee.
- A description of the nominee’s involvement in the Stamps School and U-M community.
- An anecdote or example that illustrates why the nomination is being received.
Click here to make a nomination →
The selection committee will include the Stamps School Chief of Staff (or senior HR staff of the school), the most recent past award recipient, and a staff member at large to be identified by the Stamps dean. The selected staff member should not be a current nominee, though may be a previous nominee or recipient. If no current staff member is eligible to participate, a representative from the school’s Executive Committee will serve in this capacity.
This award is made possible by an anonymous donor. In recognition of their generosity, recipients will be asked to complete a questionnaire and message of gratitude, as well as to consider filming a short video message to share more about themselves. The Selection Committee will inform all nominees of their nomination via email. A slide deck of all nominated individuals will be used at commencement as public recognition of all the nominees.
The Stamps MDes Graduate Program supports a variety of scholarships, presentations at conferences, residencies, individually funded projects and post-graduate opportunities. Recent graduate students are eligible to apply for funding opportunities up to five years after graduation. Post-graduate support is not an obligation of the Stamps MDes Program, it is merit based funding that is reviewed by the Associate Dean’s office and the Program Director. Funds are disbursed as reimbursement.
The Stamps MDes program will help fund conference participation, exhibitions and projects on a case-by-case basis.
Review Timeframe: Proposals are reviewed bi-annually (October 15 and February 15).
The Stamps MFA Graduate Program supports a variety of scholarships, residencies, individually funded projects and post-graduate opportunities. Recent graduate students are eligible to apply for funding opportunities up to two years after graduation. Post-graduate support is not an obligation of the Stamps MFA Program, it is merit based funding that is reviewed by the Associate Dean’s office and the Program Director.
The Stamps MFA program will help fund exhibitions, residencies, and projects on a case-by-case basis.
Partial funding is available for a wide range of fellowships and residencies including support for several residency programs with which Stamps has an ongoing agreement.
Review Timeframe: Proposals are reviewed bi-annually (October 15 and February 15).
To request Stamps funding for conferences, exhibitions, performances, etc., please use the following forms:
Additional fellowships, grants, and scholarships are available through the Rackham Graduate School.
- The Rackham Conference Travel Grant provides opportunities for Rackham graduate students to present papers and/or posters at academic conferences. Students may apply once per fiscal year. Rackham administered.
- The Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant is designed to support Rackham graduate students who need assistance to carry out research that advances their progress toward their degree. Rackham administered.
- The Rackham International Student Fellowship assists outstanding international students, particularly those who may be ineligible for other kinds of support because of citizenship. Rackham administered.
- Rackham Non-Traditional Fellowships assist master’s students who return to graduate school after an extended absence. Rackham administered.
- Center for the Education for Women scholarships are available to assist students who have experienced a lapse in education after graduating from high school of at least 48 consecutive or non-consecutive months (not counting interruptions of less than 8 months).
- Area Studies Centers: The university is home to a number of programs, institutes and centers that provide specialized funding to support research and travel. An example is the International Institute, with 17 area studies centers based on regions around the world.
Use these resources to learn about opportunities for research funding in Art & Design, and guides on how to write for academic journals and book chapters.
The Stamps Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Grant is intended to provide funding to actively-enrolled students pursuing a degree program at Stamps and in good academic standing; Stamps staff; and Stamps faculty/instructors to support student's professional and personal development related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also provides funding to the School’s programmatic efforts and activities aimed at developing an environment that strengthens the School’s commitment to DEI and adopts tangible, sustainable practices that are guided by our organizational mission and values.
Situations eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:
Student DEI professional development and career exploration.
Supporting registration fees for DEI opportunities and defraying costs associated with travel/lodging.
DEI programming supports students' learning, growth, and development.
Subsidizing costs to bring speakers, artists, designers, and creatives whose practice centers on DEI tenets.
Students must be currently enrolled full-time and pursuing a degree program at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and maintain good academic standing.
Stamps staff and faculty/instructors working on student-centered projects, learning, and programming.
DEI grant amounts for students will depend on the activity they are attending. A travel advance would be provided and expenses will be processed as reimbursements following the activity.
Programmatic and/or curriculum funding must support activities that enhance the quality of student learning and specifically target DEI-related content and pedagogy.
It is recommended that you connect with Stamps Lecturers Ali Shapiro and Jennifer Metsker to receive guidance on how to best write a grant submission and answer the application questions: learn more and book an appointment for a writing consultation here.
The Review Committee will use this rubric to assess your submission proposal. Use this rubric as a reference when writing your proposal.
Students can apply online and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Before applying for DEI grants, students are encouraged to speak to Mark Chung Kwan Fan (email@example.com). He may be able to help identify alternative and/or additional sources of financial assistance and/or provide useful advice.
Online applications include the following:
A brief statement describing the professional and/or personal development opportunity and the total dollar amount of DEI funds being requested.
Budget detailing the amount of DEI grants requested and an itemized list of how the funds will be used.
- These funds are made possible by generous donor support. In recognition of donor generosity, students, staff, and faculty/instructors will be asked to complete a questionnaire and message of gratitude to the donor(s). For any questions regarding this portion, please contact Bruni Bezati (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- When completing your proposed initiative, we would like to highlight your accomplishments with a news story on the Stamps website. For any questions regarding this portion, please contact Rebecca Vogel (email@example.com).
The Stamps School Award for Lecturer Excellence recognizes outstanding teaching contributions that engage and inspire the Stamps School community. This yearly award to a member of the Lecturer faculty cohort will be selected from nominations by Stamps students, alumni, lecturers, tenured / tenure track faculty and staff.
The recipient of the Stamps School Award for Lecturer Excellence will receive $2,000.
Stamps School faculty who hold the title of Lecturer I, II, III or Lecturer IV will be eligible for the Stamps School Lecturer Award. To be eligible, a nominee must have successfully completed an interim review and not be on full layoff at the time they are nominated.
- Energetic and sustained commitment to teaching, mentoring and creating an inclusive learning environment
- Impact on students’ creative and personal growth
- Other significant contributions to the school such as service, school climate and curricular innovation
Nomination and Selection Process
Students, alums, lecturers, tenured/tenure track faculty colleagues can nominate a lecturer for the Stamps Lecturer Award with this nomination form.
The Stamps Executive Committee will review all nominations, evaluate each based on the selection criteria noted above, and select the award recipient.
See the nomination form for full instructions, deadlines, and selection process timeline.
Description: The Stamps Professional Development Grant is available for Stamps undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking financial support to expand their creative portfolio, contributing to their growth as an artist or designer. This grant supports the development of skills, knowledge, and frameworks that artists and designers need to advance professionally. Examples of approved grant requests involve attending conferences or workshops, or to help with exhibition-related expenses outside of Stamps. Professional development funds cannot be used for costs associated with meeting the requirements of a degree program. Grants typically do not exceed more than $250 per applicant.
To request funding, please complete this form.
- Any currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student at the Stamps School of Art & Design
- Any currently active student organization registered and in good standing through the Stamps School of Art & Design and the Center for Campus Involvement
- Professional Development requests have to meet the standards set by the Student Life unit at Stamps which reads as follows - Attending conferences or workshops, or to help with exhibition-related expenses
- The professional development opportunity, for which the funds are being requested, has to be completed prior to the student's graduation date
- Funding is only provided once per academic year per applicant
Preparing for Application Process:
- Review eligibility criteria
- Submit an application by completing the application form. Questions within the application process include:
- Applicant or student organization contact information
- If applying as an organization - org name, shortcode, and project grant (for student organizations)
- What professional development opportunity are you looking to fund?
- How does this professional development contribute to your professional development as a creative?
- What is the anticipated completion date of the initiative?
- How much are you requesting? You will be expected to upload a forecasted expense budget.
- Adherence to grant expectations
- Funding decision will be communicated to you via email
Grant recipients are expected to:
- Applications must contain a detailed budget with anticipated expenses for the professional development
- Provide any pertinent updates/changes to the Stamps Student Life staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) about the initiative (i.e. change of date, time, or location; no longer needing the professional development grant; etc…)
- Acknowledge the support of the Stamps School of Art & Design on promotional platforms/materials (as applicable)
- Provide any expense receipts after the professional development opportunity is completed (as applicable)
- Complete the Stamps Professional Development Grant Recipient Survey. As part of this survey, recipients will provide a thank you letter to the donor(s) responsible for supporting the Stamps Professional Development Grant
Failure to meet these requirements may result in the termination of the funding agreement.
Funds cannot be used for:
- Costs associated with meeting the requirements of a degree program
- Costs associated with Stamps hallmark events and exhibitions such as the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, Stamps Senior Exhibition, etc
- Costs associated with classes/courses outside of the Stamps School
- Opportunities that do not comply with the law and/or institutional policies
- Funds cannot be used to directly benefit charity, fundraising efforts, or profit-making initiatives
- Alcoholic beverages and other drugs
- Funding cannot be used to support internships. Please refer to the Funding Support for Internships section
For any questions regarding the Stamps Professional Development Grant, please email email@example.com.
The Stamps School of Art & Design’s Student Emergency Fund is intended to help meet financial needs of Stamps students who encounter an emergency situation or one-time, unusual, or unforeseen expenses during their degree program (award amount will vary, typically up to $2,500). This scholarship is not intended to supplement a student's financial aid package and cannot be awarded beyond what a student’s aid package allows.
Situations eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:
- Medical, dental, or mental health emergencies for the student.
- Major accidents and events such as fire and natural disasters.
- Expenses related to the loss of an immediate family member.
Challenges Related to COVID-19: Requests due to COVID-19–related hardships, even those that fall outside of the categories listed above, are welcomed and will receive full consideration. Such requests will be evaluated individually and could include support for temporary housing needs, emergency travel, or issues related to the need to work off-site or inability to work for an extended period because of self-quarantine, self-isolation, or social distancing. We will be continually monitoring these criteria as the situation evolves.
- Students are typically limited to one (1) Stamps Student Emergency Fund award during their undergraduate and graduate career.
- Students must be currently enrolled full-time and pursuing a degree program at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and maintain good academic standing.
- For students who qualify for need-based financial aid, receipt of this award may reduce the original loan amount or subsidy.
Emergency Funding generally does not cover:
- Expenses due to lack of financial planning
- Outstanding debt (to the university or otherwise)
- Tuition and other university fees
- Legal fees and court costs
- Technology Repair/Purchase
Students can apply online and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Before applying for emergency funds, students are encouraged to speak to their advisors or program coordinator. These individuals may be able to help identify alternative and/or additional sources of financial assistance and/or provide useful advice. Students should also contact the Office of Financial Aid prior to submitting an application for help evaluating their individual circumstances and potential impact to financial aid.
Students who are experiencing financial difficulties that exceed the scope of this fund may request a meeting with an advisor or program coordinator to further explore the difficulties they are experiencing. Staff will be in touch with students to help address needs, concerns and to assist with campus referrals, as appropriate.