What is the LEID Fellowship? 

The Leadership in Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (LEID) Fellowship rewards Ph.D. candidates who have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and/or social justice through scholarly activity and/or climate enhancing initiatives. In addition, it provides financial support for those with insufficient funding as a consequence of COVID-19. The award offers Ph.D. candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

Approximately twenty fellowships are available. The award includes a stipend of $33,000 over 12 months (September-August), tuition for up to 14 credits each semester (fall & spring), and subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan.

Download flyer (PDF)

Who Is Eligible? 

  • Students who have passed the written and oral preliminary examinations by the application deadline, July 20, 2021 and have an anticipated degree completion date of August 2022, or approximately one year from the start of the fellowship.
  • Students who will have completed all required program coursework by the end of summer session 2021. Exceptions apply for students completing required internships. 
  • U.S Citizens, Permanent Residents, Indigenous/First Nations, and International graduate students 

Competitive applicants are those who demonstrate a longstanding commitment to DEI work. Preference will be given to Ph.D. candidates who currently lack sufficient funding as a consequence of COVID-19. 

The temporary LEID Fellowship program is no longer being offered.

Further Information

If you have any questions related to this award, contact the Graduate School Diversity Office.

Expand all


Application Form

For a detailed explanation of the electronic application form, please review the instructions below.

  1. Create a Program Login to access the application form.
  2. Complete the electronic application form.
  3. Complete the required fields and upload your LEIDership Statement and current CV. Select either SAVE/UPDATE or SUBMIT.
  • SAVE/UPDATE - You will remain in the form and may continue editing.
  • SUBMIT - You will exit the form. A confirmation email will be sent to you and the Graduate School Diversity Office (GSDO)
    • Both options will save the application, overwriting any previously saved/submitted information, and enable GSDO staff to access the information.
    • Both options will allow you to continue editing the application until the deadline.
    • The review committee will ONLY view submitted information after the application deadline.
    • Confirm Receipt of the Submission: log in and select SUBMIT at the bottom of the form. An email will be sent to you and the GSDO.

Application Materials

  • LEIDership Statement (800 word limit)
    • The LEIDership Statement is a compelling description of the applicant’s experience within the DEI space. Specifically, the statement describes how the applicant’s academic and personal experiences at the University of Minnesota have contributed to their thinking about issues of equity, diversity, inclusion and/or social justice. It should provide a detailed description of an initiative, research project, or other scholarly pursuit that illustrates the impact of the work and the applicant’s longstanding commitment to the space of diversity, equity, inclusion and/or social justice. If an initiative is described, the statement should include the key players and stakeholder groups, challenges, goals, outcomes, and how long ago it occurred. If a research project is described, the statement should describe the project or scholarly contribution and include what the applicant and any collaborators view to be the expected impact of that work. Applicants who can report on both an initiative and scholarly endeavor are encouraged to do both, within the established word limit. 
  • Current Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • One Letter of Recommendation
    • Signed letter from an academic or community leader addressing the value and impact of the applicant’s DEI initiatives and/or research. 
    • Please do not submit more than one letter of recommendation. 
  • Reallocation Statement from the Director of Graduate Studies 
    • If the applicant is currently funded, Directors of Graduate Studies are asked to submit a short statement detailing how the applicant’s current funding could potentially be reallocated to support another graduate student or diversity initiative.

Instructions for the Recommender and DGS

One Letter of Recommendation

The letter of recommendation from an academic or community leader should entail the following information:

  • Relationship to LEID Applicant
  • Address the value and impact of the applicant’s DEI initiatives and/or research

The recommender should send the letter as an email attachment to gsdo@umn.edu by 12:00 p.m. (CST), Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

Reallocation Statement from Director of Graduate Studies

If the applicant is currently funded, a signed statement from the Director of Graduate Studies should be submitted detailing how the applicant’s current funding could be reallocated to support another graduate student or diversity initiative.

Visit the
LEID FAQ page for additional information about the Reallocation Statement. 
The statement should be sent as an email attachment to gsdo@umn.edu by 12:00 p.m. (CST), Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

Review Criteria

Graduate students who have demonstrated impressive achievement and leadership in at least one of the following areas:

  • Scholarship and engagement with the chosen field of study
    • The applicant’s academic discipline need not be in the area of equity, diversity, ethnic studies, GLBT studies, etc., but the research or scholarly contribution must focus on issues related to diversity and equity. Scholarly contributions can be defined as, but are not limited to journal publications, conference presentations, or the use of media to engage in critical discourse.
  • Community building, outreach and/or activism
    • Students should demonstrate an exceptional commitment to and engagement with a particular issue of diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or social justice within their academic unit, community and/or organization. Such community activism can take place on or off any of the University of Minnesota's campuses. In addition, all LEID Fellowship recipients will demonstrate a deep understanding of and commitment to issues of equity, diversity, and/or social justice through their climate enhancing initiative and/or service to the community.

A longstanding commitment is quantified as at least one academic year

Expand all


Am I eligible to apply if I am an international student?

Yes, the LEID Fellowship is open to both domestic and international students.

Am I eligible to apply if I already have a 50% appointment this fall?

Fellows may hold concurrently up to quarter-time (25%) internal assistantship or other employment during any semester without reduction in the LEID Fellowship stipend. However, no part of the LEID Fellowship may be used to supplement other full support awards. For example, concurrent funding from the LEID Fellowship and the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) is not permissible. 

Am I eligible to apply if I am not in a Ph.D. track program?

No. The LEID Fellowship is an award for Ph.D. candidates only.

Am I eligible to apply if I am on a leave of absence for any part of the academic year?

No. Applicants must maintain an enrolled and registered status throughout the 2021-22 academic year.

What is considered “a consequence of COVID-19?”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted graduate students in a multitude of ways, the following are provided as examples of possible hardships imposed on students as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • Lack of funding from the academic unit for 2021-2022 academic year, due to delayed graduation date because of the pandemic, i.e., impact of travel restrictions or lab access due to pandemic safety precautions
  • Loss of employment
  • Significant decrease in pay 
  • Limited access to other financial resources  
  • Reduced access to resources to support mental health and well-being 
  • New or existing challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, i.e., reduced internet access, unstable housing, food insecurity, reduced/lack of childcare, care for loved one or dependents, etc. 

I will complete my oral prelims in Fall 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Can I apply for this award cycle?

No. Applicants must have successfully defended their oral prelims by the application deadline, Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. CST.

I have completed all my required coursework. Can I “cash out” the tuition allocation of my award?

No. Fellowship recipients can use up to 14 credit hours to enroll in courses toward a minor, certificate program, or other electives to further their learning. Tuition balances will be reallocated to the 2021-2022 award cycle. 

Note: Fellowship recipients are responsible for all other fees, charges and tuition beyond 14 credits (general graduate rate).

How is LEIDership defined?

LEIDership is defined as having the capacity to identify a challenge, assume responsibility for a process or task and navigate complex situations to fulfill the intended goal. A LEIDer is one who exhibits the ability to influence others and inspire change despite the inevitable hardships and emotional labor endured.

Who should write my letter of recommendation?

The review committee will be evaluating based on scholarship and engagement of the chosen field of study, and/or community building, outreach and/or activism; therefore, it would be best to select an individual who can compellingly convey the value and impact of your DEI initiatives and/or research and speak to your long-standing commitment to and leadership in the DEI space.

In regard to the LEIDership Statement, what would be considered a diversity initiative?

Diversity initiatives refer to unpaid service to a student’s program, department, college, university, or community.  This may include, but is not limited to, serving on a diversity committee, participating in the development and/or delivery of a diversity climate assessment, redesigning new student orientation with enhanced faculty participation, providing diversity-related guest lectures, volunteering for diversity recruitment efforts, etc.

What is the Reallocation Statement and what should be included?

The Reallocation Statement from the applicant's Director of Graduate Studies should describe if the applicant has any funding for either fall 2021 or spring 2022, and if it will be possible to reallocate this support to another graduate student or diversity initiative if the applicant receives a LEID fellowship. If the applicant has not been awarded any funding for the 2021-2022 academic year from their department, then a confirmation of that funding status is sufficient for the Reallocation Statement. All applicants should have a Reallocation Statement submitted on their behalf, whether funded or not by their academic program/department. Reallocation Statements can be emailed directly to gsdo@umn.edu

When will students be notified of the fellowship decision?

Every effort will be made to inform applicants of the results  by early August.

Can my LEID Fellowship be deferred?

No. The LEID Fellowship may not be deferred to another semester or academic year.

Will the LEID Fellowship be offered every year?

The LEID Fellowship was created to reward Ph.D. candidates for their leadership in the DEI space and to provide financial support for those with insufficient funding as a consequence of COVID-19. At this time, offering of the LEID Fellowship will not extend beyond the 2021-2022 award cycle.