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Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad NEH Summer Seminar for School Teachers

Colgate University, July 7-26, 2019

Graham Russell Hodges, Director

Letter From the Director

National Endowment for the Humanities 50th AnniversaryGraham Russell Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History, is the director of the seminar. Read his letter describing the program and inviting applications.

Letter from the director

About the NEH Seminars and Institutes

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes allow K-12 teachers an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their teaching through the study of humanities topics that bear upon K-12 education. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program, but the programs are not intended to duplicate graduate- level courses.

Each seminar provides an intimate and focused environment in which sixteen participants (NEH Summer Scholars) study a specific humanities topic under the guidance of one or two established scholars. Seminars have few, if any, visiting faculty. They emphasize sustained interaction among the participants and director(s) through discussion of common readings, conversations about teaching, and advising on independent projects.

Each institute allows twenty-five to thirty-six participants (NEH Summer Scholars) to pursue an intensive program of study under a team of scholarly experts, who present a range of perspectives on a humanities topic. Participants and scholars mutually explore connections between scholarship and teaching of the topic.

In any given year, an individual may apply to two Seminars or Institutes, but may attend only one.   


Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes as an NEH Summer Scholar.

Selection Criteria

A selection committee is comprised of the project director and two or more colleagues, at least one of whom is a K-12 teacher. They evaluate all complete applications to select a group of NEH Summer Scholars and identify alternates.

Application essays should explain how the specific program will benefit the participant professionally. They should, therefore, address the following:
  1. your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
  2. your intellectual interests as they relate to the topic of the seminar or institute;
  3. your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the program; and
  4. evidence that participation will have a long-term impact on your teaching.
Three seminar spaces and five institute spaces must be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or less). First consideration is given to those who have not previously attended an NEH Seminar or Institute. When choices must be made between equally qualified candidates, preference is given to those who would enhance the diversity of the program.

Stipend, Tenure, and Conditions of Award

Each participant will receive a stipend according to the duration of the Seminar or Institute, whether one ($1,200) two ($2,100), three ($2,700), or four ($3,300) weeks. The stipend is intended to help cover travel, housing, meals, and basic academic expenses. Stipends are taxable.

Seminar and institute participants must attend all meetings and engage fully as professionals in the work of the project. During the project, participants may not undertake teaching assignments or professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Those who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project will receive a reduced stipend.
At the end of the project's residential period, NEH Summer Scholars are expected to submit online evaluations of the seminar or institute.

Housing and Meals

Participants will have a choice of renting apartments locally or housing on campus in one of the smaller residence halls. These residences are equipped with full kitchens and laundry facilities. I recommend that you shop for less expensive rental opportunities in the village and will provide a list of landlords to those accepted into the program.

Summer scholars may purchase meals at the Colgate dining hall, there will be no meal plan. Coffee and light fare will be delivered to the classroom during the morning break. The summer 2019 fee for room and facilities charges will be about $28 per day, inclusive of fees. In addition to the academic resources, all of the recreational resources of campus are included in the common campus fee. The facilities are excellent and include tennis courts, racquetball / squash courts, a state-of-the-art fitness center, swimming pool, and boating on nearby Lake Moraine.

Application Instructions

Prior to applying to this specific seminar, please study the "Dear Colleague Letter" from the project director, Graham Hodges, and carefully consider this project’s requirements. A complete application consists of the following three items:

1. The Application Cover Sheet

  • Compete the cover sheet online.
  • Follow the prompts.  
  • Before you click the “submit” button, print the cover sheet and add it to your application package.  Then click “submit.”  
  • You will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for a second project.  If you do, repeat the process.
  • Do not use the same cover sheet for different projects

2. A Résumé and References

Please include a résumé or curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages). Include the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two professional references.

3. Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double-spaced pages. It should address your interest in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip you to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to the learning community; a statement of what you want to accomplish by participating; and, if appropriate, description of an independent project and its relation to your professional responsibilities.

Submission of Applications and Notification Procedure

March 1, 2019: Deadline to submit your application

How to Submit Your Application

Applications must be submitted to the project director, not the NEH, and must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2019. Applications sent to the NEH will not be reviewed.

Send your application to: Professor Graham Hodges, Department of History, Colgate University,13 Oak Drive,  Hamilton NY 13346  or to ghodges@colgate.edu

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Friday, March 29, 2019. They will have until Friday, April 5, 2019 to accept or decline the offer.

Note: Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar or Institute), 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, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202/606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).