Frequently Asked Questions About

the Summer Institutes for Teachers



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Application| Acceptance| Stipend| Travel| Housing|University Life |Institute



Where can I get an application?

Please see our application information page.

Am I eligible to apply?

Please read carefully the NEH’s regulations about eligibility. Preference will be given to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-sponsored seminar or institute in the past three years. Substitute or part time teachers are not eligible to apply.

What needs to be included in my application?

  • three copies of a detailed résumé
  • three copies of your four-page application essay (described in the Letter to Potential Applicants)

  • we encourage you, if possible, to include a letter of recommendation from your principal or supervisor


Can I send my application materials electronically?

No. Send them by first class or Priority Mail and make sure they are postmarked no later than March 2, 2015. Earlier would be better. You will need to provide three copies each of the participant application and cover sheet, your resumé, and your application essay, collated please, so that we can get them to members of the selection committee in a timely fashion.

Letters of recommendation must be in sealed envelopes with the referee's signature across the seal. They should be mailed with your application.

If you are concerned about the safe arrival of your materials, feel free to contact Kathy Haines to check on their status.

What is the mailing address for application materials?





Mariana Whitmer

Center for American Music

106A Stephen Foster Memorial

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh PA 15260


If I apply, when will I hear?

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Monday, March 30th via email and phone. They will have until Friday, April 3rd, to accept or decline the offer.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by letter by about mid-April. If anyone who is accepted cannot attend the Institute, we will notify alternates on or before

Monday, April 6th.

If I'm accepted, when do I need to accept or decline the invitation?

You have until Friday, April 3rd, to accept or decline the offer via email or phone. If you have been accepted to multiple institutes, please notify the directors from the other institutes if you are declining their offer.

What paperwork will I need to send in if I accept your invitation to attend the Institute?

You will need to sign the “appointment” letter we send you which stipulates the length of the Institute and your stipend and provide us with your current address and social security number.  We suggest you fax the information to 412-624-7447, or mail them to our address


How much will I receive for my stipend check?

The total amount of your stipend is $3900. Half will be paid upon your arrival in Pittsburgh, the other half will be paid to you half way through the institute. Please note that if you are staying in the dorms, your housing costs will be deducted from your stipend check.

Will we have a chance to exchange our stipend checks for traveler's checks, or what is the usual process Institute Summer Scholars follow?

You may use the financial institution of your choice. A list of banks in the area may be found here.

Is the stipend taxable by the IRS?

Yes, the full amount of $3900 is considered taxable income. You will be required to fill out a W9 and the University will send you a 1099 for tax filing purposes. The University of Pittsburgh will withhold no taxes from your check. You may wish to talk to your own tax advisor, or see IRS Publication 970. Neither the NEH nor the University of Pittsburgh can advise you on your tax situation; the IRS will know about the full amount of your stipend.

Will the amount of my stipend be enough to cover all of the costs associated with the seminar?

The stipend should be sufficient to cover your travel, food, and lodging. However, please note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.

What happens if I can't be there for the entire Institute?

If you cannot stay the entire 5 weeks of the Institute, or if you have to miss a day at any point during the Institute, you will be asked to return a pro-rated portion of your stipend, per NEH regulations.

When would I need to plan to arrive, how can I get there and when can I think about returning home?

You should plan to arrive by Sunday afternoon, June 28, 2015.  On Sunday evening we look forward to meeting you at a welcoming event.  Please plan to be there to meet your colleagues.  Stay tuned for more details concerning this event.

Check-in for Bouquet Gardens is at Panther Central, which is located at main lobby of Litchfield Towers (please see the map here to locate Litchfield towers. Their number is (412-648-1100). Panther Central is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 seven days a week.

The Institute will end on Friday, July 31st, at 12:00PM. 

You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Below are suggestions on how to get here:

By Plane:





Pittsburgh International Airport is located 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, about 30-40 minutes drive from the University of Pittsburgh.

From the Pittsburgh airport the least expensive way to get to Oakland is by bus.  The Airport Flyer 28X leaves from outside the baggage claim area every 20 minutes (even Sundays) and will bring you directly to Oakland for a mere $3.75 (exact change required).

Super Shuttle will take you to Bouquet Gardens for approximately $30.  Reservations can be made online at or by calling 1-800-258-3826.

Reservations are not required.

Taxis from the airport are about $50, without tip. 

By Car:





From the East take I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike; toll road) exit at Monroeville (exit 57), connecting onto I-376, following signs to Pittsburgh.  Take the Oakland exit (exit 3A, marked University of Pittsburgh; Glenwood, Route 885), turn right at the end of the ramp.  Continue on Bates until it ends at Bouquet Street.  Turn left on Bouquet. Turn right on Forbes Avenue, which leads to the campus.

From the South Follow I-79 North to the I-279 North Exit. Take 279 through the Fort Pitt Tunnels and across the bridge to the I-376 Monroeville Exit (first exit on the right). Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue leads into the Pitt campus.

From the North Take I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

From the West Cars traveling from the west via the PA Turnpike (I-76) should take Exit 3 and follow I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

By Train:





The station address is 1100 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.  The Amtrak station is in downtown Pittsburgh. 

The trains that serve this station are the Capitol Limited (Washington, DC to Pittsburgh and Chicago), the Pennsylvanian (from New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), and Three Rivers (also New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).  Check the Amtrak web site ( for schedule information.

By Bus:





The Greyhound bus terminal is located in downtown Pittsburgh, at 55 11th St.  It is open 24 hours per day.  Information concerning schedules can be obtained at  Upon your arrival at the station, you should arrange to take a taxi to your final destination.

What should I bring with me?

You can expect the weather to be quite warm, although at times in the evening it may cool down (highs are typically in the 80s, lows in the 60s).  Dress for the Institute is informal, though you may want to bring a sweater as the room might be chilly. You should bring rain gear (umbrella, raincoat) in case of inclement weather.  Bring comfortable walking shoes for the field trips. You will need pens, paper, and other classroom implements. If you forget items, they may be purchased at the University Store, located on campus on Fifth Avenue at Thackeray Street. While you will have access to the University's computer labs, it would be very convenient to have your own computer and, if possible, printer.

If you are staying at Bouquet Gardens, you will need to bring your own blanket and kitchen tools. Sheets, pillow, and towels will be provided.


Where will I be staying during the Institute? What will it cost?

We have made arrangements for you to stay at Bouquet Gardens, apartment style dorms at the University of Pittsburgh, in the Oakland section of the city (the various units are located on South Bouquet Street and Oakland Avenue). Each air-conditioned unit is furnished and includes four single bedrooms, a kitchen with refrigerator, stove and microwave, a living room and dining area, and two bathrooms. Bouquet Gardens is about half a mile from the Frick Fine Arts Building, where the Institute will be taking place.

Please note that the kitchens at Bouquet Gardens are not stocked with any equipment, nor do the rooms have TVs or landlines. You will need to provide your own plates, cookware, and utensils. You will be given sheets, a pillow, a pillowcase, and towels for use in your room, but no additional linens.

For more information on the rooms, please visit:

Bouquet Garden costs :

  • $31.00 per person/per night for 3 or 4 persons in an apartment

    $54.00 per person/per night for 2 persons in an apartment

    $104.00 per person/per night for 1 person in an apartment

All utilities are included. Once housing forms are sent out, rooms will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Please note: pets are not permitted at Bouquet Gardens and there is no dedicated parking area. You are not permitted to have family stay with you there. If you are planning on driving, you may purchase a parking permit for the Posvar Hall Garage at Panther Central. This garage is conveniently located halfway between Bouquet Gardens and the Frick Fine Arts building.

Payment for housing will be deducted from the amount of your stipend. We encourage all Summer Scholars to stay at the same location to help foster a learning community. We also encourage you to room with someone to keep your costs down.

Are accommodations available for people with disabilities?

We have reserved apartments at Bouquet Gardens that are wheelchair accessible and have accessible bathrooms. The building has an elevator, but accommodations are available on the first floor. Please make sure you let Kathy Haines know if you require an accessible room.

When do I need to decide if I'm staying at Bouquet Gardens?

In order to reserve your room at Bouquet Gardens, we must have your housing form by April 29th.

Where can I do laundry?

Laundry is available in the building for$1.00 per load Wash or Dry; Panther Funds are needed to use the laundry; monies can be loaded on to their room card at Panther Central.  

How can I be contacted while I'm in Pittsburgh?

There are no phones in the Bouquet Gardens rooms. You will need to use your cell phone for all calls.

Please note that in the Pittsburgh area you need to dial all ten digits (including area code) regardless of whether it is a local or long distance call.

If you need to receive something via U.S. Mail you may have it sent to:





The Center for American Music

106A Stephen Foster Memorial

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh PA 15260

If you need to mail something or purchase stamps, the main U.S. Post Office for Oakland is located on Bouquet Street, four blocks south of Forbes Avenue.

How do I arrange to have a roommate?

If you are interested in being paired up with a roommate, once housing forms are sent out please let Kathy Haines know and she'll do her best to match you up with other folks seeking joint housing arrangements.

Can I bring my family and pets?

You are neither encouraged nor discouraged to bring family members with you to Pittsburgh, or to entertain them at any point during the Institute. However, they will not permitted to attend the institute nor to accompany you on any field trips and family members are not allowed to stay with you at Bouquet Gardens.

Pets are not permitted at Bouquet Gardens. If you have a pet you cannot leave behind, please contact Kathy Haines who will suggest arrangements for you.

Should you want to look into alternative arrangements that would allow your family to stay with you, the Residence Inn by Marriott on Bigelow Blvd. offers affordable rooms with fully equipped kitchens, free breakfast, and a complimentary shuttle. Contact Kathy Haines for more information.

Where can I buy groceries?

There is an IGA market on Forbes Avenue near Bouquet Gardens.   You can also travel by city bus or car to Whole Foods at 5880 Centre Avenue, the Giant Eagle Market District at 5550 Centre Avenue, or Trader Joe's at 6343 Penn Avenue.

Where can I workout?

The weather will be quite warm in June and July, so there will be lots of opportunities for walking or running outside.  There are also walking trails, bike routes, and tennis courts, a pool, and public golf course at nearby Schenley Park.

Where can I attend religious services?

For information on religious services on and around campus, check out the University of Pittsburgh Association of Chaplaincies web site:  This site contains links to individual churches and organizations, including schedules for services.

What banks are in the area?

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are located conveniently on campus at the William Pitt Union, the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning and at the banks listed below; however, they will likely charge a fee for out of state customers.  You may want to bring travelers checks.  Banks in the near vicinity to the University include:

    Citizen's Bank
    One Mellon Bank Center, 500 Grant St, Downtown (412-227-5053)
    Call for other locations.

    Dollar Bank
    3714 Fifth Ave., Oakland (412-621-3178)
    Call for other locations.

    Eureka Federal Savings and Loan
    3455 Forbes Ave., Oakland (412-681-8400)
    Call for other locations.

    Fifth Third Bank
    5600 Walnut St., Shadyside (412-363-5302)
    Call for other locations.

    First Commonwealth
    2501 E Carson St. Southside Works (412-690-3910)

    Parkvale Savings & Loan
    4300 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill (412-422-6700)
    Call for other locations.

    PNC Bank
    4022 Fifth Ave., Oakland (412-621-0300)
    Call for other locations.


What if I get sick?

    CVS Minute Clinic
    4725 Centre Ave., Oakland (412-683-8827)

    East Liberty Family Health Care Center
    6023 Harvard St., East Liberty (412-661-2802)

    MedExpress Urgent Care
    5201 Baum Blvd., Bloomfield (412-687-3627)
    Call for other locations.

    1691 Washington Rd., Mt. Lebanon (412-835-6900)

    UPMC Urgent Care
    5231 Centre Avenue

    Walgreens Take Care Clinic
    5956 Penn Circle S., East Liberty (412-362-6328)

The nearest hospital emergency room is UPMC Presbyterian






200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582


How do I get around if I don't have a car?

Information on the Port Authority Transit (public transportation) is available  at their web site: .  Reloadable Port Authority Connect Cards may be purchased at Giant Eagle grocery stores. Along the two major streets in the Oakland area, Fifth Ave. and Forbes Ave., there are many buses that run frequently.  For other routes, you can call PAT at (412) 442-2000 and let them know where you are and where you would like to go.

Port Authority now has a real time app to let you know when a bus is coming. You can view it through their website.

Pittsburgh, despite its hills, is a very bike friendly city. Oakland and many other neighborhoods now have dedicated bike lanes. If you don't bring a bike with you, no problem! You can now rent them through Bike Pittsburgh's bike share program Healthy Ride. There are multiple bike stations in Oakland, including one just outside the Carnegie Library.

Additionally, many Port Authority busses will allow you to put your bike on a rack so that you can travel on the bus "with" your bike.

Yellow Cabs are plentiful, but you need to call them at (412) 321-8100.

How much time will there be for seeing the sights?

You will have the majority of your evenings and weekends free. We will be offering extracurricular activities for after class and on the weekends. These are not mandatory, but will be designed to enhance your stay in Pittsburgh.  Based on interest, these may include a Pirates baseball game, theatre performances, a trip to Fort Ligonier, a walking tour of the city, a tour of WQED (home of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood), etc.  We are also planning some additional excursions to local restaurants for those who would like to participate.  If you have ideas or special requests for activities, please let us know. 

What is there to do while I'm in Pittsburgh?

If you are looking for something to do, a good place to start is with the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper.  This free publication is issued each Thursday and may be found in most local eateries and University buildings.  It contains movie schedules, theatre reviews, and a large number of listings for entertainment activities taking place in the city.

Another place to find activities in and around the city is on the University web site.  If you visit you will be treated to a thumbnail tour of the city with lots of links to additional sites. 

Check out the Pittsburgh Convention & Visitor's Bureau 2015 digital guide to the city. You can view it here.

Other good sites for interesting information about the city include,, and the Carnegie Library’s site,


What is the University of Pittsburgh campus like?

The University of Pittsburgh is a lovely urban campus.  There are lots of open green spaces. For more information about Pitt, including maps of the campus, visit the University's website at

Please note: Pittsburgh is a green city. Recycling bins for paper, bottles, and cans are located in the Frick Fine Arts building.

What is my status while on campus?

You will receive a special borrower's card that will permit you to check out books from any of the campus libraries as well as use the library's electronic resources. You will also have access to the University's computer labs, but you will not be provided with a printing allowance.

How can I access the internet?

You will be given guest access to the University's wifi, which you can access anywhere on campus.

The computer HELP Desk is staffed 24 hours a day, call 412-624-HELP for assistance.

You have been assigned a log-in ID and password, which will be given to you on the first day of class so that you may use the University’s computers. You will have to pay for printing at the computer labs If you only require a few pages to be printed, please see Kathy for assistance.


A list of lab locations and hours is available here.

Copy machines are located in all University libraries. Most photocopiers operate using either cash or Panther Funds (a vendacard system where you preload a card with funds), although some may only accept Panther Funds.  Prices for copying and printing are as follows:
• Photocopying fee is $0.15 per page with cash
• Photocopying and printing is $0.10 per page with Panther Funds.
Additionally, UPS copy stores are located on Forbes Avenue near the 7-Eleven and on S. Craig near Subway; a Fedex Kinko’s is located further down Forbes Avenue near the McDonald’s.

To keep down the amount of paper changing hands and to facilitate file sharing, we will provide each of you with a USB jump drive pre-loaded with some files from our lecturers. The information has been organized according to the week of the institute and the lecturer's last name. We will also provide you with a link to a folder on to download additional files and to upload any files you may wish to share with your colleagues.

Where will the Institute be held?

The Institute sessions will take place in room 202 of the Frick Fine Arts Building on the University of Pittsburgh Campus (a campus map is available here).  The room is air conditioned, so dress accordingly.

The room is located on the second floor of the building. Elevators are located toward the rear of the building.


What libraries can I use while in Pittsburgh?

Institute Summer Scholars will have borrowing privileges at the University of Pittsburgh Libraries and will have access to materials at the Center for American Music (just let Kathy know if there is something you would like to use from that collection). University of Pittsburgh library hours are listed here.

We will also be providing you with a borrower’s card for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh if you don’t have one already.



Who are the Institute Staff?

Deane L. Root, Co-Director

Mariana Whitmer, Co-Director

Kathryn Miller Haines, Assistant Director

Where can I park at the University?

To view a parking map of the University, visit and follow the link to Parking. (Be aware that the City of Pittsburgh cleans the streets and prohibits parking on one side of the street each weekday.  Always check the signs where you park to make sure you are not at odds with the schedule.  A good clue is if the parking is easy and you are only one of two or three cars parked along that street.) Do not park in handicap spaces without a handicap tag or permit; fines are steep.

On street parking is available around Frick Fine Arts with pay stations that accept either credit cards or quarters for $3.00 per hour. Reduced fee parking is available further up Schenley Drive near Phipps Conservatory. You might also want to consider parking in the Carnegie Museum's lot. Their rates are listed here.

If you are staying at Bouquet Gardens, you may purchase a parking permit for the Posvar Hall Garage (which is between Bouquet Gardens and Frick Fine Arts Building) at Panther Central. Only those Summer Scholars staying at Bouquet Gardens will be permitted to park there.

What will our daily class schedule be like?

A preliminary agenda may be viewed here.  A final agenda will be provided with the reading materials on the first day of class.  The Institute will start each day at 9:00 am with a “homeroom” period.  This half-hour will allow everyone to get settled as well as provide some time to answer questions or address comments.   

Breakfast will not be provided; however, you are welcome to bring coffee or a favorite beverage in a covered container to class. Coffee shops are located on the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning, on Forbes Avenue at Atwood, and through the walk-up window at The Porch Restaurant at Schenley Drive (right across from Hillman Library).

The lunch hour is free time, except when we are on field trips.  You may use this time to eat a packed lunch, peruse the libraries or catch up on errands.  There are a large number of restaurants within walking distance of Bellefield.

We will typically end our day around 3:00 to allow for research time at the libraries.

Will I need to bring a lunch every day or will it be provided?

You are responsible for all of your own meals, including lunch.

Arrangements for food will be made in advance for field trips, however you will have to pay for these meals as well. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. You are welcome to bring your own food.

How much walking will be required?

A fair amount of walking will be involved during our field trips. If you have physical limitations, please let us know so that we can make arrangements to assist you.


What sort of assignments and homework will we be asked to do during the Institute?

Summer Scholars will share in the discussions demonstrating an acquaintance with the songs. Recordings of all the songs, along with lyrics and background information, will be made available to Summer Scholars for this purpose. Nominal readings will be assigned before the Institute and throughout its five weeks to facilitate and reinforce the connection between music and history. Summer Scholars will read selected short, non-technical articles and chapters that deal with popular songs as they relate to cultural and social history. Additional readings may be assigned by visiting lecturers; these will be provided prior to or at the Institute but with sufficient time to complete them.

Summer Scholars will also complete a final project to synthesize the content and strategies they have learned throughout the Institute. This will be explained during the first week of the Institute. To ensure that your work attains a level of scholarship and educational effectiveness, your group will work with the Institute faculty, and will have ample time for research and consultation with scholars, advisors, and peers. Time will be set aside daily for you to work in the library or to meet with advisors. Your completed project will facilitate the application of the Institute’s theories and activities into the classroom. Finished projects will be presented to the group at the end of the Institute and will be posted on the Voices Across Time website.

Should I read anything prior to attending the Institute?

Any reading materials will be given to you in advance on a jump drive provided by the Institute.  The anticipated readings will be short and designed to complement the lectures and field trips by enhancing your understanding of the topic. 



Do I need to be able to read music or play an instrument in order to attend the Institute?

While the enjoyment of music is absolutely necessary, you are not required to have any practical knowledge of music. Be warned though -- we will be singing (and possibly dancing).  If you do play a (portable) instrument, feel free to bring it along.



Closing Dinner
On Thursday, July 29th, we will be hosting a closing dinner to celebrate the end of the Institute. Location and time, TBA.

Ruth Bergad Award
At the conclusion of the institute we will be presenting a monetary award to one teacher, provided by the Ruth Bergad Memorial Fund and presented in honor of Ruth, who had a long and distinguished career as an educator of pre-school children and is the author of Early Childhood Units for Music and Children and Music: An Instructional Guide for Teachers.

Will I get continuing education credit for attending the Institute?

Prior to leaving the institute, we'll be asking you to give us contact information for the administrator at your institution who should receive notification of your participation and the number of hours we calculate you spent in the classroom. All Summer Scholars will receive a letter at the close of the Institute stating these credit hours.  This letter should be sufficient to prove continuing education equivalency; however, if you require further certification, please let us know.  You do not get University credit for attending the Institute. 

What do I do if I have questions that don't appear on this list?

Please contact Mariana Whitmer or call her at 412-624-3031.

You may also contact Kathy Haines or call the Center between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday - Friday at 412-624-4100.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



NEH Summer Institute for Teachers:

2015 Application

2015 Agenda (PDF)

2015 Institute Staff & Lecturers

Frequently Asked Questions:





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last updated June 12, 2015 9:35 AM.

Copyright 2007-2015 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System