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Summer Seminars for College and University Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide college and university faculty members and independent scholars with an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their understanding of significant humanities ideas, texts, and topics. These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs, nor will graduate credit be given for them. Prior to completing an application, please review the letter from the project directors 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. This seminar includes 15 participants working in collaboration with two leading scholars. Participants will have access to a major library collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects.


These projects are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the seminar. 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 outside the U.S. are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all of the information requested below to be considered eligible. Candidates for degrees are only eligible to apply if they are employed by an institution other than the one at which they are degree candidates and if their participation is intended to enhance their teaching of American undergraduates. Degree candidates can never use their participation in an NEH seminar or institute to meet a degree requirement, including work on masters’ theses or doctoral dissertations. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Adjunct and part-time lecturers are eligible to apply. 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. An individual may apply to no more than two projects in any one year.


A selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a small number of alternates. (Seminar selection committees consist of the project directors and one colleague.) While recent participants are eligible to apply, selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar or institute in the last three years (2005, 2006, 2007). Recent participation in NEH’s Landmarks of American History and Culture Program does not negatively affect eligibility or competitiveness.

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally. 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. quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities;
  2. intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the seminar or institute;
  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 seminar or institute;
  5. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching and scholarship; and
  6. for seminars, the conception and organization of the applicant's independent project and its potential contribution to the seminar.

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 or institute, or who would significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.


The NEH provides participants with a stipend of $4200.00. This stipend is meant to help cover the costs of travel, housing, and meals; many people will find this amount ample. Anyone who anticipates that the stipend will not cover all costs is encouraged to apply for support from his or her home institution. Participants who elect to take advantage of the housing provided by Wesleyan will (with written permission) have the sum of $1340 deducted and submitted to the University on their behalf. One-half of the remaining stipend will be distributed to participants at the first meeting. The second half of the stipend will be distributed at the beginning of the fourth week. Participants will need to make their own travel arrangements.

Seminar 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 on-line 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.


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, please request one from the director of the project in which you are interested before you attempt to complete and submit an application. In some cases, directors have websites for their projects and the “Dear Colleague” letter may be downloaded from their website. All application materials should be sent to the project director. Sending application materials to the Endowment will result in delay.


A complete application includes:

  • an Application Cover Sheet which must be filled out online at the NEH web address:
    <http://www.neh.gov/online/education/participants/>. Please fill it out on line as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click on 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 apply to another project. If you do, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project. 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 cover sheets for several projects.

and three copies of each of the following, which should be sent to the address below:

  • the printed Application Cover Sheet;
  • a detailed curriculum vita;
  • an application essay;
  • and two letters of reference (Please ask each of your referees to sign their name across the back of the sealed envelope containing their letter).

Curriculum Vita

Please include a detailed résumé (not to exceed five pages).

The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages. This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information. 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. Applicants to seminars should be sure to discuss any independent study project that is proposed beyond the common work of the seminar.

Reference Letters

The two referees should be chosen carefully. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the seminar or institute. They should specifically address these issues in their recommendations. Letters from colleagues who know the applicant's teaching and from those outside the applicant's institution who know his or her scholarship can be particularly useful. Referees should be provided with the director's description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay. If an applicant has previously participated in an NEH summer seminar or institute, a recommendation from the director or lead scholar of that program would be useful. 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.


Completed applications should be submitted to the following address and should be postmarked no later than March 3, 2008:

  • Stephen Angle, Philosophy Department, Wesleyan University, 350 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1, 2008, and they will have until April 15 to accept or decline the offer. Applicants who will not be home during the notification period are advised to provide an address and phone number where they can be reached. No information on the status of applications will be available prior to the official notification period.


Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506. TDD: 202/606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).

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