Application Info

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 "" or "" 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' 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 Workshops Programs.

Selection Criteria

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, 2009).

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:

  • 1. effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
  • 2. intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the project;
  • 3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;
  • 4. commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the project;
  • 5. 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 will receive $3,300. 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 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.

Application Instructions

To apply to attend Picturing Early America: People, Places, and Events 1770-1870 you must complete the online cover sheet located at You should then print out the form and mail three copies of it, along with three copies of your resume and application essay (as outlined below). Please send all in triplicate to:

Patricia Johnston
Art Department MH314
Salem State College
352 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA 01970

Phone inquiries to Pamela Poppe at 978.542.2230

We also require two letters of recommendation in support of your application. Please note that all applications must be postmarked by March 2, 2010 to guarantee consideration. Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1, 2010, and will have until April 5 to accept or decline the offer.

Checklist of Application Materials

A completed application consists of three copies of the following collated items:

  • 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:

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 responsibilities.

Reference Letters

The two referees may be from inside or outside the applicant' 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).