Abolitionism and Underground Railroad - Colgate Summer Seminar Skip Navigation

Seminar for School Teachers on Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad

There is space for 16 NEH Summer Scholars in an exciting teachers’ seminar on Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in upstate New York.

The seminar will take place July 5–24, 2015. Applications must be postmarked by March 2, 2015.

Letter From the Director

National Endowment for the Humanities WordmarkGraham 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

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide teachers an opportunity for substantive study of significant humanities ideas and texts. These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs. On completion of an NEH Summer Seminar or Institute, participants will receive a certificate indicating their participation. Prior to completing an application to a specific seminar or institute, please review the letter/prospectus from the project director 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.

A seminar for school teachers enables 16 NEH Summer Scholars to explore a topic or set of readings with a scholar having special interest and expertise in the field. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

An institute for school teachers, typically led by a team of core faculty and visiting scholars, is designed to present the best available scholarship on important humanities issues and works taught in the nation's schools. The 25 to 30 NEH Summer Scholars compare and synthesize the various perspectives offered by the faculty, make connections between the institute content and classroom applications, and often develop improved teaching materials for their classrooms.

Please note: The use of the words “seminar” or “institute” in this document is precise and is intended to convey differences between the two project types.

Eligibility

These projects are designed for full-time teachers including home-schooling parents, but other K-12 school personnel, such as librarians and administrators, may also be eligible to apply, depending on the specific seminar or institute. Substitute teachers or part-time personnel are not eligible. Applications from teachers in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools receive equal consideration.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current full-time graduate students who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. 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 abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all the information requested below to be considered eligible. Individuals may not apply to study with a director of an NEH Summer 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.

Please note: An individual may apply to up to two projects in any one year (NEH Summer Seminars, Institutes, or Landmarks Workshops), but may participate in only one. Also please note that eligibility criteria differ between the Seminars and Institutes and the Landmarks Workshops programs.

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 seminar director, a school teacher who is usually a participant in a previous NEH seminar, and a colleague of the director. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually all drawn from the institute faculty and staff members. Recent participants are eligible to apply, but project selection committees are directed to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2010, 2011, 2012).

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and personally. Committee members consider several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay. These factors include:
  1. effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
  2. intellectual interests, in general and as they relate to the work of the project;
  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 project; and
  5. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching.
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

Teachers selected to participate in five-week projects will receive a stipend of $3,900; those in four-week projects will receive $3,300; those in three-week projects will receive $2,700; and those in two-week projects will receive $2,100. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and living expenses for the duration of the period spent in residence. 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, participants 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 and may become part of an application to repeat 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 2013 fee for room and facilities charges will be about $35 per day, inclusive of fees. Seminar participants who live off campus will be charged $7.50 per day for the facilities fee. 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

Before you attempt to complete an application, please obtain and read the "Dear Colleague Letter" from the project director, Graham Hodges. The letter 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 in the “Dear Colleague Letter.” Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.

NEH Summer Seminars Application Information and Instructions

Application Checklist

A complete application consists of three copies of the following collated items:
  • the completed application cover sheet,
  • a résumé or brief biography, and
  • an application essay as outlined below.
In addition, it must include two letters of recommendation as described below.


Application cover sheet
The application cover sheet must be filled out online.

Please fill it out online as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click 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 fill out a cover sheet for another project. If you wish to, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project as well. 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 a cover sheet for several projects. A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to the project director.

Résumé
Please include a résumé or brief biography detailing your educational qualifications and professional experience. Be sure the résumé provides the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two professional references (see further instructions for references below).

The application essay
The application essay should be no more than four double-spaced pages. 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.

Reference letters
The two referees may be from inside or outside the applicant’s home institution. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, teaching and/or research interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the seminar or institute. Referees should be provided with the director's description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay. Applicants who are current graduate students should secure a letter from a professor or advisor. Please ask your referees to sign across the seal on the back of the envelope containing the letter. Enclose the letters with your application.

Submission of Applications and Notification Procedure

Completed applications should be submitted to Graham Hodges, not the NEH, and should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2015.

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Monday, March 30, 2015, and they will have until Friday, April 3 to accept or decline the offer.

The seminar will take place July 5–24, 2015

Once a successful applicant has accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar, Institute, or Landmarks Workshop), he or she 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 NEH Equal Opportunity Officer, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202/606 8282 (this is a special telephone device for the deaf).
NoteAny views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.