Henry Mandelbaum Fellowship Q & A

Q: Can I apply if I am not a student from an OCUFA affiliated university?
A: You have to be a student from one of the OCUFA affiliated universities  listed below:

  • Algoma University
  • Brescia University
  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • University of Guelph
  • Huron University College
  • King’s University College
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Nipissing University
  • Northern Ontario School of Medicine
  • Ontario College of Art and Design
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • Queen’s University
  • Renison University College
  • Royal Military College
  • Ryerson University
  • Saint Paul University
  • St. Jerome’s University
  • University of Toronto
  • Trent University
  • University of Waterloo
  • Western University
  • Windsor University
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • York University

Q: How important is service work/leadership?
A: The selection committee greatly values the service work candidates perform. This portion of the application is emphasized considerably in the selection of award winners and therefore should be given adequate attention when preparing your application. Henry Mandelbaum was driven by social justice goals. He was interested in supporting young academics who are truly interested and involved in their communities – particularly in the ways that they grapple with how the academy and activism might intersect. The type of service, leadership, or community work applicants undertake does not need to be related to their academic interests.

Q. Can I submit my application in French? What about reference letters? Do you translate everything?
A. Ideally the applications and the letters will be in English. The staff support for the committee has a working knowledge of French but it is not strong enough to adequately review technical letters, complex research questions and similar documents. There is not a budget to translate applications at this time.

Q. Can you clarify the financial need aspect of the award? Is it necessary to be in financial need to apply?
A. Financial need is not a requirement to win this award – in cases where two applications are of equal merit, and one of those applications also cited financial need, financial need would be given preference. We invite applicants to speak to how the award might help them advance their studies in relation to their financial need.

Q: If I have funding to complete my studies. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes. Having outside funding does not influence an applicant’s eligibility for the fellowship.

Q: What is the difference between the plan of study and the report to the Board?
A: PhD candidates are asked to provide both a plan of study and an outline of a report to the OCUFA Board of Directors. MA candidates need only submit a plan of study. The plan of study should outline the context in which a project is situated, and the type of work the candidate intends to undertake. The plan of study is not unlike the plan of study write-ups for an award like OGS or SSHRC. Students can note where they are in their degree, but should not outline all courses and comprehensive areas of study in this section. The proposed presentation to the Board should outline what you would want to present to the OCUFA Board of Directors if selected. The successful applicant for the PhD fellowship is expected to come to the May Board of Directors meeting (one year after they are awarded the fellowship) to make a short presentation to the Board about an aspect of their own work that they believe the Board will be interested in. There is no expectation about whether this material will have been presented previously . The Board is comprised of a faculty association representative from each of OCUFA’s 28 member associations (Ontario faculty associations). These directors are from all disciplines and would welcome the opportunity to hear about work that PhD candidates are undertaking.

Q: Do I need to have academic references?
A: Ultimately, your references are a personal choice but it is worth noting that this is an award that celebrates academic excellence. Your references provide the committee with a sense of your capabilities. In some situations, it is necessary and beneficial to have a community member or past employer act as a reference, but it may be worthwhile to make sure that non-academic references are used judiciously, and only when an academic reference would not be able to speak to that aspect of your skillset.

Q: Will you provide instructions to my references?
A: Your references will be emailed a link to the site where they can upload their reference letter. They will be asked to fill in a form that outlines their position and how long they have known you and in what capacity. Referees will not be given any other instructions so you will need to speak to your reference about your project, about what you are hoping they can speak to, and about what to do if they have trouble with submitting the paperwork. It is recommended that applicants follow up with their references to remind them about upcoming deadlines.

Q: I have applied to an MA program and I will not find out if I have been accepted until after the application deadline. Can I apply?
A: Applicants must be current graduate students in order to be eligible to apply for the fellowship.

Other helpful tips when completing the application package:

  • Remember the email address and password you created for the award site as you will need this to login and complete your application
  • You can access a PDF of the entire application to help you prepare your package. Only online applications will be accepted.
  • Due to the high volume of applications, and the rigour involved in assessing the files, successful applicants will be notified in mid April. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified once the successful applicants have accepted the fellowship. The committee will not give personalized feedback about unsuccessful applications.
  • Additional information (such as reading lists, published materials etc.) will not be passed on to the committee.
  • Please name your files with your last name, your first initial, and the corresponding number for each section. For example, hypothetical applicant Stella Zu would call her first document “ZuS1.doc”