Pamyuaa band members on stage at the Mondavi Center


In 2019, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Mondavi Center, UC Davis, a $600,000 multi-year grant to support a new approach to undergraduate education called SHAPE (Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement).

In partnership with University Honors Program, First-Year Seminars, and the UC Davis Humanities Institute, we developed SHAPE in response to Mellon’s invitation to “create new curricular and research models…demonstrating the significance of the performing arts to the teaching and research mission of your university.” 

Following a successful pilot period, during which grant-funded resources allowed faculty to create a unique series of 11 courses over the 2020‐21 and 21‐22 academic years, the Mondavi Center and First-Year Seminars are pleased to announce the continuation of the SHAPE (Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement) approach to curriculum for the 2023-24 academic year.

Coordination of teaching plans and artists schedules necessitates a one-year lead time, requiring applications for 2023-24 to be submitted in Fall 2022. The application deadline is October 14, 2022.

We are seeking teaching teams composed of one UC Davis science or engineering and one humanities or arts faculty to fully co-teach a newly developed two-unit First-Year Seminar undergraduate courses (or a course previously taught through SHAPE) which address significant issues and subjects, through a multi-disciplinary lens and preferably which contribute to the University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion based on teaching, service, and research. Each member of the teaching team will receive a $3,000 Academic Enrichment allocation.

The Mondavi Center will assist the faculty in identifying a touring performing artist to connect to the course topic. The artist will be engaged by the Mondavi Center to give a public performance in the 2023-24 season. The artist should have a fully produced work ready to perform based on one final dress rehearsal for the performance at the Mondavi Center. Each selected artist will be contracted by the Mondavi Center to actively engage with the students through live and/or virtual residency activities, planned in conjunction with the faculty, throughout the quarter.

First-Year Seminars are an exciting program of small, innovative classes that reflect instructor’s intellectual interests. Limited to 19 students each, these once-in-a-lifetime courses promote intellectual exchange, critical thinking, and community. Any individual member of the Academic Senate with a full-time instructional appointment at UC Davis is eligible to serve as an instructor of record (IOR) for a First-Year Seminar. At the time of this call, Unit 18 Lecturers may submit proposals to teach First-Year Seminars, but final determinations are subject to renewal of the union agreement.

Three SHAPE courses will be selected for 2023-24, with the goal of having one course per quarter pending artists’ schedules.

Course proposal questions? Email Janet Chambers,, and/or Kate Andrup Stephenson,

Associated artist questions? Email Ruth Rosenberg, Director of Arts Education and Artist Engagement, Mondavi Center,

There is no separate category for SHAPE, choose your category and begin your course title with ‘SHAPE 2023-24’ (i.e. SHAPE 2023-24: Impact of Climate Change).

Apply here: