NEH SUMMER SEMINARS & INSTITUTES FOR SCHOOL TEACHERS
APPLICATION INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS
Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers are offered by the
National Endowment for the Humanities to provide teachers an opportunity
for substantive study of significant humanities ideas and texts. These
study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not
intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs. On
completion of a seminar or institute, participants will receive a
certificate indicating their participation. Prior to completing an
application, please review the letter/prospectus from the project
director (available on the project’s website, or as an attachment) and
consider carefully what is expected in terms of residence and
attendance, reading and writing requirements, and general participation
in the work of the project.
A seminar for school teachers enables 16 participants
to explore a topic or set of readings with a scholar having special
interest and expertise in the field. The core material of the seminar
need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of
the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to
expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading,
discussion, writing, and reflection. An institute for school teachers,
typically led by a team of core faculty and visiting scholars, is
designed to present the best available scholarship on important
humanities issues and works taught in the nation's schools. The 25 to
30 participants compare and synthesize the various perspectives offered
by the faculty, make connections between the institute content and
classroom applications, and often develop improved teaching materials
for their classrooms. Please note: The use of the words “seminar” or
“institute” in this document is precise and is intended to convey
differences between the two project types.
These projects are designed for full time teachers including
home-schooling parents, but other K-12 school personnel, such as
librarians and administrators, may also be eligible to apply, depending
on the specific seminar or institute. Substitute teachers or part-time
personnel are not eligible. Applications from teachers in public,
private, and religiously affiliated schools receive equal consideration.
New this year: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are
available for current full-time graduate students who intend to pursue
careers in K-12 teaching.
Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions
or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of
the students are American nationals are eligible for this program.
Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S.
jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United
States or its territories for at least the three years immediately
preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad
at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.
Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all
the information requested below to be considered eligible. Individuals
may not apply to study with a director of a seminar or institute who is
a current colleague or a family member. Individuals must not apply to
seminars directed by scholars with whom they have previously studied.
Institute selection committees are advised that only under the most
compelling and exceptional circumstances may an individual participate
in an institute with a director or a lead faculty member who has
previously guided that individual’s research or in whose previous
institute or seminar he or she has participated.
New this year: An individual may apply to up to three projects in any
one year (seminars, institutes or Landmarks workshops), but may
participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ
significantly between the Seminars and Institutes and the Landmarks
A selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed
applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to
identify a number of alternates. (Seminar selection committees
typically consist of the seminar director, a school teacher who is
usually a participant in a previous NEH seminar, and a colleague of the
director. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to
five members, usually all drawn from the institute faculty and staff
members.) While recent participants are eligible to apply, project
selection committees are directed to give first consideration to
applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar,
institute or Landmarks workshop in the last three years (2007, 2008,
The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the
likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and personally.
This is determined by committee members from the conjunction of several
factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay.
These factors include:
- effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
- intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the project;
- special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;
- commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the project; and
- the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching.
When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several
additional factors are considered. Preference is given to applicants
who have not previously participated in an NEH seminar, institute, or
Landmarks workshop, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of
the seminar or institute.
STIPEND, TENURE, AND CONDITIONS OF AWARD
Teachers selected to participate in six-week long projects will receive
a stipend of $4,500; those in five-week projects will receive $3,900;
those in four-week projects will receive $3,300; those in three-week
projects will receive $2,700; and those in two-week projects will
receive $2,100. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to
and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and
living expenses for the duration of the period spent in residence.
Stipends are taxable. Applicants to all projects, especially those held
abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where
the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.
Seminar and institute participants are required to attend all meetings
and to engage fully in the work of the project. During the project's
tenure, they may not undertake teaching assignments or any other
professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project.
Participants who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of
the project must refund a pro-rata portion of the stipend.
At the end of the project's residential period, participants will be
asked to submit online evaluations in which they review their work
during the summer and assess its value to their personal and
professional development. These evaluations will become part of the
project's grant file and may become part of an application to repeat the
seminar or institute.
These general application instructions from the NEH should be
accompanied by a “Dear Colleague Letter” from the project director that
contains detailed information about the topic under study; project
requirements and expectations of the participants; the academic and
institutional setting; and specific provisions for lodging, subsistence,
and extracurricular activities. If you do not have such a
letter/prospectus, please request one from the director of the
project(s) in which you are interested before you attempt to complete
and submit an application. In many cases, directors have websites for
their projects and the “Dear Colleague” letter may be downloaded. All
application materials must be sent to the project director at the
address listed on the program poster. Application materials sent to the
Endowment will not be reviewed.
A completed application consists of three copies of the following
- the completed application cover sheet,
- a résumé, or brief biography, and
- an application essay as outlined below.
In addition, it must include two letters of recommendation as described below.
The application cover sheet
The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address:
Please fill it out
online as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to
click the “submit” button. Print out the cover sheet and add it to your
application package. At this point you will be asked if you want to
fill out a cover sheet for another project. If you do, follow the
prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet
for that project as well. Note that filling out a cover sheet is not the
same as applying, so there is no penalty for changing your mind and
filling out a cover sheet for several projects. A full application
consists of the items listed above, as sent to the project director.
Please include a résumé or brief biography detailing your educational
qualifications and professional experience.
The Application Essay
The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages.
It should address reasons for applying; the applicant's interest, both
academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and
experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the seminar or
institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a
statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating;
and the relation of the project to the applicant's professional
The two referees may be from inside or outside the applicant’s home
institution. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional
accomplishments or promise, teaching and/or research interests, and
ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the seminar
or institute. Referees should be provided with the director's
description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay.
Applicants who are current graduate students should secure a letter from
a professor or advisor. Please ask each of your referees to sign their
name across the seal on the back of the envelope containing their
letter, and enclose the letters with your application.
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATIONS AND NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE
Completed applications should be submitted to the project director and
should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2010.
Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1,
2010, and they will have until April 5 to accept or decline the offer.
Applicants who will not be home during the notification period should
provide an address and phone number where they can be reached. No
information concerning the status of an application will be available
prior to the official notification period.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY STATEMENT: Endowment programs do not discriminate on
the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For
further information, write to NEH Equal Opportunity Officer, 1100
Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506. TDD: 202/606 8282
(this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).