Bridging National Borders in North America: Application Instructions

Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars and Institutes.

The application essay is the most important part of the application.  It should be no more than four double-spaced pages.

Summer Seminars and Institutes 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. On completion of a seminar or institute, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.

Prior to completing an application to as specific seminar or institute, please review the project website 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.

Each seminar includes 16 NEH Summer Scholars working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants will have access to a significant research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects.

Please note: An individual may apply to up to two projects (NEH Summer Seminars, or NEH Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one.

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 project director and two colleagues. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.)

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, in general 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.

Recent participants are eligible to apply, but selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2011, 2012, 2013). 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 Summer Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.

Stipend, Tenure, and Conditions of Award

Individuals selected to participate in this seminar will receive a stipend of $3,300, which will be disbursed in two checks, one on arrival and the other in the second half of the project. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and ordinary living expenses. 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 as professionals 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, NEH Summer Scholars 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.

Sending Your Application

Before you attempt to complete an application, please study the project website, which 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 and subsistence. All application materials must be sent to the project director at the address listed below. Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.

Checklist of Application Materials

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

  • the completed application coversheet
  • a detailed résumé, curriculum vitae, or brief biography with contact information for two professional references
  • an application essay as outlined below

The Application Cover Sheet

The application cover sheet must be filled out online at the National Endowment for the Humanities website.

Please follow the prompts. Before you click the “submit” button, print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package. Then click “submit.” 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 to select the other project and repeat the process.

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. A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to the project director.

You must submit a separate cover sheet online for each project to which you are applying in order to generate a unique tracking number for each application. Do not copy and paste a new cover sheet.

Résumé and References

Please include a detailed résumé, curriculum vitae, or brief biography (not to exceed five pages). Be sure the résumé provides the name, title, phone number, and email address of two professional references.

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.

Submission of Applications and Notification Procedure

Completed applications should be submitted to:

Benjamin Johnson via email: johnsobh@uwm.edu
(Please email as a single PDF. Merge the NEH online cover sheet, your resume, and your application essay into one document.)

Or mailed:
Benjamin Johnson
Dr. William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture
Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

They should be emailed or postmarked no later than March 4, 2014.

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Monday, March 31, 2014, and they will have until Friday, April 4 to accept or decline the offer.

Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.

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 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).

Return to main event page: