Eligibility and Selection Criteria | Newberry

Eligibility and Selection Criteria


Making Modernism is designed for college-level teachers. Twenty-five applications will be chosen, including at least five non-tenure-track/adjunct faculty members.  Scholars specializing in American literature, American studies, twentieth-century American art, African American studies, urban history, and women’s studies will find the institute especially attractive. The institute will not require that participants have extensive prior knowledge of twentieth-century culture in Chicago. However, successful applicants should have knowledge of the subject sufficient to allow them to articulate concrete ways in which four weeks of concentration on the topic will enhance their teaching and research. The ideal institute participant will bring to the group a fresh understanding of the relevance of the topic to their work, and will welcome the opportunity to conduct a program that would support pedagogic innovation and scholarly publications.

For more information on eligibility requirements, consult the NEH Summer Eligibility Criteria.


Applications will be reviewed by a committee of three panelists, including the director, and institute faculty.  The committee will evaluate the applications primarily on the basis of the likely impact of the institute upon the applicant’s teaching and research, the originality of proposed projects, and their appropriateness to the institute’s themes. To every extent possible, the selected scholars will represent a range of disciplines and geographic regions.  Special consideration is given to the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally.  It is important, therefore, to address each of the following factors in your application essay:

  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. The likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant’s teaching and scholarship

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 or Institute in the last three years (2014, 2015, 2016).  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 or Institute, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the institute.