Application and Expectations

A Dervish, Seated in Contemplation. ca 1650. Karnataka, India. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper. San Diego Museum of Art, Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, 1990.445. Photograph via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, San Diego Museum of Art.

Step 1: Eligibility

The NEH sets basic eligibility criteria for participation in NEH programs. before doing anything else, please check to make sure you are eligible to participate.

Teaching Context

Seminars and Institutes are designed for a national audience of full- or part-time K-12 educators who teach in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, or as home schooling educators. Project directors may admit a limited number of educators who work outside the K-12 classroom and who can demonstrate that their participation will advance project goals and enhance their professional work.

At least three seminar spaces and at least five institute spaces must be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or fewer).

Participant Status

Participants 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. U.S. citizens teaching abroad at U.S. chartered institutions are also eligible to participate. Foreign nationals teaching abroad are not eligible to participate. 


A familial or academic relationship to the program directors and certain types of debt may disqualify you from participating. Read the full Participant Eligibility Criteria document to learn more.

Step 2: Expectations of Participants

This program will be an intensive one-week dive into a rich academic topic. In order to foster a rich, engaging, accessible program, we have set of basic expectations for participants. Please make sure you understand and accept them.

Participant Engagement

This program's success will depend on active engagement during presentations, art analysis practicums, discussions, and project work. This means participants will be expected to:

  • complete all program readings/viewings in a timely manner,
  • arrive punctually to sessions and attend all sessions during the five-day, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM program,
  • take active part in daily discussions and practicums, and
  • meaningfully contribute to the participant project. (See the Program Details page for more information).

Program Evaluation

At the conclusion of the program, each participant will be expected to complete a program evaluation. This evaluation will come from the NEH.

Principles of Civility

The NEH expects all its programs to be spaces for respectful discourse. Presentations and discussions should be

  1. firmly grounded in rigorous scholarship, and thoughtful analysis; 
  2. conducted without partisan advocacy; 
  3. respectful of divergent views; 
  4. free of ad hominem commentary; and 
  5. devoid of ethnic, religious, gender, disability, or racial bias. 

Please review the full NEH statement about principles of civility.


Program participants are paid a stipend of $1300 to defray the costs of participation in this program, including (but not limited to) travel, housing, and food. Stipends are determined according to the format and duration of the summer program, and are taxable as income. The stipend will be paid at the conclusion of the program.

Project applicants who accept an offer to participate are expected to remain during the entire period of the program and to participate in its work on a full-time basis. If a participant is obliged through special circumstances to depart before the end of the program, it shall be the recipient institution’s responsibility to see that only a pro rata share of the stipend is received or that the appropriate pro rata share of the stipend is returned if the participant has already received the full stipend.

Covid Procedures

This program will take place on campus at University of San Diego and at the San Diego Museum of Art. This means participants will need to follow vaccination and masking procedures set by the University of San Diego. As public health regulations change, these procedures may also be altered. When we get closer to the event, we will provide you with more specific guidance.

For information about the most up-to-date policy information, see the University of San Diego Covid FAQ for students.

Dismissal from Program

As mentioned in the sections above, program participants are expected to be present and actively engaged in all program sessions. They are likewise expected to treat program colleagues, guest faculty, program leaders, and all affiliated staff with respect. Egregious or repeated unprofessional or disrespectful behavior will result in dismissal from the program. 

Step 3: Selection Criteria

Next, start thinking about your application. Your completed application will be read by a selection committee that includes both members of the project team and at least one k-12 classroom teacher. The committee will consider several criteria in reviewing applications.

Professional Relevance

Our intent is that each member of the cohort will come to the program with goals for their own learning. We are seeking applicants who clearly:

  • identify specific ways this program is relevant to their teaching situation,
  • articulate the academic curiosity and professional goals they will bring to the program,
  • describe different ways they anticipate using what they learn in their future teaching.

Applicants have the opportunity to provide this information in their responses to three long-form questions. These questions are:

  1. There are many NEH offerings and other summer programs for teachers. How does this particular program meet your needs as an educator?
  2. Please describe the best professional learning experience you've had. What was good about it and how did it change your teaching practice? If you have never had a really great professional learning experience, please describe your ideal imagined experience.
  3. How do you anticipate this program will change your teaching practice? Consider both subject matter and methods. 

Grade-level Focus

This program is designed for middle and high school classroom teachers. However, teachers of younger grades, TOSAs, and curriculum specialists are welcome to apply and - like other applicants - explain the relevance of this program to your particular teaching context.

Teaching Experience

At least five institute spaces will be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or fewer). 

NEH Program Experience

The selection committee is seeking to create a cohort with varied amounts and types of professional learning experience. Educators who have attended other NEH programs are encouraged to apply, with the understanding that the selection committee will consider this professional learning background in the selection process.

Step 4: Covid Disclaimer

Please be aware that this is intended to be an in-person program, hosted at the University of San Diego. We are not currently making any provision for participants to attend remotely.

Depending on public-health guidelines related to COVID-19, plans for a residential offering are subject to change.

Step 5: Equal Opportunity

Please note: 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).