Eligibility / Selection Criteria
Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.
You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.
Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.
THE IDEAL APPLICANT?
If there is such a thing, the ideal applicant might be a high school teacher of AP English or U.S. history or art history or biology, who takes an interdisciplinary, American Studies approach to teaching. An interest in birds and/or zoology is desirable, but not a must. We welcome teachers from all grade levels (including librarians) and backgrounds, new teachers and veterans. It is up to you to make the case that you have something to offer the program and have a reasonable and realistic expectation of taking something important from it, in return. Even more than the resume or letters, your personal essay is the place to do this. We (a committee consisting of the director, a former participant, and a member of the core faculty) look forward to reading them.
A selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a small number of alternates. (Seminar selection committees 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 consist of three to five members, usually all drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.) While recent participants are eligible to apply, project selection committees are directed to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar or institute in the last three years (2006, 2007, 2008). Recent participation in NEH's Landmarks of American History and Culture Program does not negatively affect eligibility or competitiveness.
The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and personally. 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:
- effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;
- intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the project;
- special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;
- commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the project; and
- 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 seminar or institute, or who significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.