Mapping Nature Across the Americas: Eligibility and Selection Criteria | Newberry

Mapping Nature Across the Americas: Eligibility and Selection Criteria


This institute is designed for college-level teachers. Twenty applications will be chosen, including three full-time graduate students in the humanities. While scholars specializing in the history of cartography, environmental history, environmental studies, and the geography and history of North America or Latin America will find the institute especially attractive, it should appeal to anyone interested in the connections between mapping, nature, and history, regardless of their disciplinary, chronological, or regional interests.

We will not require that participants have extensive prior knowledge of environmental history or cartographic history, or that they have previously incorporated study of nature or cartographic culture in any of their courses or research. However, successful applicants should have knowledge of the subject sufficient to allow them to articulate concrete ways in which five weeks of concentrated work will enhance their teaching and/or research. The ideal institute participant will bring to the group a fresh understanding of the relevance of the topic to their teaching and research, but will have had little opportunity to conduct a research and reading program that would support pedagogic innovation or new scholarly publications.

For more information on eligibility requirements, click here to view the NEH Summer Institute Eligibility 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. (Seminar selection committees typically consist of the project director and two colleagues. Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.)

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 the application essay. These factors include:

  1. Quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities;
  2. Intellectual interests, in general and as they relate to the work of the seminar or institute;
  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 seminar or institute;
  5. The likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant’s teaching and scholarship; and
  6. For seminars, the conception and organization of the applicant’s independent project and its potential contribution to the seminar.

Recent participants are eligible to apply, but selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop in the last three years (2011, 2012, 2013). 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.

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