As a grant writer, I love helping institutions win NEH awards. This time around, I experienced the joy of co-directing my own NEH summer seminar at Bowdoin College.
What can $98,000 do for at two-week summer seminar? Two visiting scholars, all expenses paid; sixteen participants, flights and books paid; snacks for most days of the seminar; home institutional support from IT, museum, and library; one student intern; one seminar coordinator; two co-director salaries; and sixteen teachers going back to their home states with PowerPoints, articles, images, and teaching modules. Our topic was “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” We have teachers who will now use works of art, photographs, and sculptures in their pedagogy. We taught them how to visually analyze works of art, and how to help students extract meaning from those works. This, in turn, is a skill that the participants can bring to all of their classes — not just to the ones in which they address the Holocaust.
What can your institution’s NEH summer seminar address? Any topic about which your faculty is passionate, and which intersects either high ed or K-12 teaching and/or research. Seminars and institutes can be directed by one person, or co-directed by two people (and one can come from another institution). The world is your oyster (speaking of oysters, our participants were so pleased that they bought us oysters and drinks on our last evening together!).