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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Opportunities for Faculty Research and Scholarship

Each year the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers approximately 50 seminars and institutes for the intensive study of important texts and topics in the humanities. These programs are for college and university faculty members, as well as programs for school teachers.

Each seminar includes fifteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants will have access to a major library collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects.

Institutes, usually for a larger group of faculty, provide intensive collaborative study of texts, topics, and ideas central to undergraduate teaching in the humanities under the guidance of faculties distinguished in their fields of scholarship. Institutes aim to prepare participants to return to their classrooms with a deeper knowledge of current scholarship in key fields of the humanities.

Calvin can participate in two ways: 1) faculty can apply to participate in any of the Seminars or Institutes for College and University Teachers and receive a stipend to support their work during the program, and 2) the college itself, under the leadership of an interested faculty member(s), can apply to NEH for funding to be the host institutions for one or more of these humanities programs. Stipends for seminars and institutes range from $2,800 - $3,700. Awards to colleges and universities range from $60,000--$180,000.

The deadline for applications (both for faculty members who wish to participate in a Seminar or Institute and institutions that wish to offer a program) is early March. Further information, seminar and institute topics, seminar directors, and application guidelines are available at

Dr. Michael Poliakoff, the new Director of Education Programs at NEH, is committed to expanding the opportunities to participate in these programs and wishes to encourage more colleges and universities to develop proposals to offer a Summer Seminar or Institute. Following the announcement that President Bush made in September 2002 of NEH's "We the People" initiative, NEH is particularly eager to receive proposals for Seminars and Institutes that explore significant events and themes in America's history and culture. (For more information on this initiative, please visit

Applicants to these programs have a reasonable chance for success. Liberal arts college professors have been well represented at NEH Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers. Of the 3,386 participants since 1996, nearly half came from private colleges and universities, and nearly one-third of them teach at four-year institutions. Preference is given to faculty members who have not yet had the opportunity to participate in an NEH Summer Seminar or Institute.

Liberal arts colleges have had a steady presence in the NEH Summer Seminar and Institutes for School Teachers Program. St. John's University in Minnesota, University of Scranton, Duquesne University, Oberlin College, Illinois College, and the College of Notre Dame in Maryland share the distinction of having received funding over the past five years to host these NEH professional development programs in the humanities for America's K-12 school teachers. CIC encourages all of its members to consider seeking NEH funding to offer a Seminar or Institute. The staff of the Division of Education Program is happy to work with potential applicants and offer advice to help them develop successful applications.

Ed Miller, Spanish, attended an NEH Institute in the summer of 2001. Check with him if you want a first-hand report on its value. It's a great way to enrich your teaching and advance your scholarship.


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