Summer Institutes for College and University Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide college and university faculty members and independent scholars with an opportunity to enrich their understanding of significant ideas, texts, and topics in the humanities. Institutes focus on an intensive study of texts, topics, and ideas central to undergraduate teaching in the humanities under the guidance of faculties distinguished in their fields of scholarship. They aim to prepare participants to return to their classrooms with a deeper knowledge of current scholarship in key fields of the humanities.


These projects are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the institute. 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.

Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all the information requested below to be considered eligible. Applicants must have completed professional training by the application deadline. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Candidates for degrees are generally not eligible. Adjunct and part-time lecturers are eligible to apply.  Individuals must not apply to study with a director of a seminar or institute who is a current colleague or a family member. An individual may apply to no more than two NEH seminars or institutes in any one year.

Selection Criteria:

A selection committee will evaluate all complete applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a small number of alternates. The Institute selection committee consists of the project directors and one or two colleagues. 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.

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally. This is determined by committee members from the conjunction of several factors, each of which should be addressed in an application essay of no more than 3-4 pages. These factors include: 

  1. quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities; 
  2. intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the institute; 
  3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the institute; 
  4. commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the institute; 
  5. and the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching and scholarship

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 would significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute. 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.

Stipend, Tenure, and Conditions of Award:

Individuals selected to participate in five-week projects will receive $3,600. Stipends are intended to help defray 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. Adjustments in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses are not possible. Especially in consideration of the decline in the value of the dollar in relation to the pound sterling, Institute participants are encouraged to apply to their home institutions for additional funds to help with living or study expenses in England.

Institute participants are required to attend all meetings and to engage fully 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 evaluations in which they review their work during the summer and assess its value to their personal and professional development. Special forms for this report will be made available on-line and submitted directly to the Endowment. They will become part of the project's grant file and may become part of an application to repeat the institute.

Application Instructions:

Before completing an application, please read the letter from the project directors that contains information about the topic under study, and project requirements and expectations of the participants. Information pertaining to the the academic and institutional setting, specific provisions for lodging, subsistence, and extracurricular activities, will be found there and in more detail on this web site. If you cannot open this letter, please request a copy from the director before you attempt to complete and submit an application. With the exception of the application cover sheet, all application materials should be sent directly to project co-director Irven M. Resnick. The application cover sheet will be completed on-line and submitted to the Endowment (see below, Application Cover Sheet). Your résumé and application essay should be submitted directly to the project co-director as an e-mail attachment sent to, either as an MS Word document or a pdf file. If you cannot send these materials as an e-mail attachment, please send three copies of the documents by mail to the following address:

Professor Irven M. Resnick
Department of Philosophy and Religion (Dept. #2753)
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
(423) 425-4446 (voice); (423) 425-4153 (FAX)

Checklist of Application Materials: 

The following items constitute a completed application to the summer institute: 

  • the completed application cover sheet, 
  • a detailed résumé (not to exceed 5 pages), 
  • an application essay as outlined below, and 
  • two letters of recommendation (sent separately).

The Application Essay:

The application essay should be no more than four double-spaced pages. This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information. 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. Applicants to institutes may need to elaborate on the relationship between institute activities and their responsibilities for teaching and curricular development.

Reference Letters:

Two referees should be chosen carefully. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the institute. They should specifically address these issues in their recommendations. Letters from colleagues who know the applicant's teaching and from those outside the applicant's institution who know his or her scholarship are often more useful than letters from college or university administrators. Referees should be provided with copies of the director's description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay. If an applicant has previously participated in an NEH summer seminar or institute, a recommendation from the director or lead scholar of that program would be useful. It is the applicant's responsibility to send their referees’ letters in sealed envelopes directly to the project director and to make certain that the letters are mailed to arrive not more than one week after the March 3 deadline. Please also ask your referees to send a copy by e-mail to or by FAX to (423) 425-4153 by the March 1 deadline.

Submission of Applications and Notification of Award:

Completed applications should be submitted to the project director and should be postmarked no later than March 3, 2008. Successful applicants will be notified of their selection by April 1, 2008, and they will have until April 15 to accept or decline the offer. Applicants who will not be home during the notification period are advised to provide an address and phone number where they can be reached. No information on the status of applications will be available prior to the official notification period.

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 the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506.  TDD:  202/606‑8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).

Application Cover Sheet

The application cover sheet must be filled out on line at this address: Please fill it out on line as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click on the “submit” button.  Print out the cover sheet and keep a copy.  At this point you will be asked if you want to apply to another project.  If you do, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project.  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 cover sheets for several projects.  A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to a project director.