Summer Institutes for Teachers

We have stopped hosting our Summer Institutes for the time being but hope to resume them at some point in the future.

Jump ahead to

Institute Description|Eligibility|Selection Criteria|How to Apply|Co-Directors




The Center for American Music, part of the University of Pittsburgh' s Library System, offers an NEH Summer Institute for Teachers biennially.  During this five-week Institute, we expand upon the materials and concepts of the resource guide, exploring topics in American music through the lens of music from two distinct yet complementary angles. First, analysis of popular songs as primary source documents offers fresh material to enrich the understanding of social studies and language arts. Second, field trips and authentic performances offer a uniquely engaging evocation of an historical context. Aided by historians, musicologists, and teaching performers, Summer Scholars strengthen their skills as historians and develop innovative strategies to integrate music into their teaching.



NEH Summer Institutes for Teachers are designed for full-time teachers in any discipline including home-schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, such as librarians and administrators, may also be eligible to apply.  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 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.  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. 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 significantly 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.  Selection committees consist of three to four members, 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 (2012, 2013, 2014).  

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.

How to Apply

Detailed application instructions can be found by following the links in the menu to the right.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive an announcement of the next institute, please email Kathy Haines with "NEH Institute" in the subject line.


Institute Co-Directors

Deane Root

Deane is a musicologist, teacher, performer, researcher, author, editor, bibliographer, archivist, librarian, museologist, and administrator for American music. As Director of the Center for American Music and Curator of the Foster Hall Collection at the University of Pittsburgh, Deane has brought one of the largest repositories of musical Americana into the mainstream of academic life through research, teaching, interpretive performance, and conservation of music in the context of its cultural and social roles in the history of the United States of America. Deane is widely known for his work in providing access to information and source materials in American music history. As former chair of the Department of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, Deane has helped promote an integrated curriculum of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, with solid grounding in music research and bibliography skills.

Mariana Whitmer

Mariana is currently Project Director at the Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh, responsible for initiatives related to developing use of the Stephen Foster Collection, bringing American music to scholars and educators. Mariana has consulted on Voices Across Time since early 1999, assisting in the selection of songs, completing the historical research of individual songs, and contributing to the essay and discussion materials. She also has worked with the Department of Education at the University of Pittsburgh in integrating Voices Across Time into the social studies curriculum. Mariana has presented Voices Across Time several times at conferences and seminars. Dedicated to the study of music as it relates to history, she is currently guest editor for a special music issue (July 2005) of the Magazine of History, a publication of the Organization of American Historians.


Each year NEH offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes. For a complete list of the seminars and institutes being offered, visit the NEH's website.


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:





Contact Us