Newberry Teachers’ Consortium

Front cover of song and march written about the 1900 presidential election.

Front cover of 1900 Campaign March, featuring photographs of presidential hopefuls William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan, from the Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music.

The Newberry Teachers’ Consortium offers a series of intellectually stimulating, content-based seminars led by scholars from area universities and colleges. The seminars aim to reconnect teachers with the world of scholarship in their content areas and re-inspire them to model the love of learning for their students.

The Newberry is pleased to offer dozens of seminars on topics as diverse as contemporary poetry, sports history, ancient China, the European Union, and Shakespeare. Participating teachers represent more than 60 schools and 25 school districts in the Chicago area. Over 820 teachers signed up to participate in the 2014-15 Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars.

Subject Groups

NTC offers seminars in eight subject areas:

  • American history
  • American studies
  • European history
  • Geography and environmental studies
  • Literature and drama
  • Political science and economics
  • World history
  • World language

Seminar Format

Seminars are three hours long and take place on weekdays during the school year at the Newberry. Seminars are scheduled from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, unless otherwise indicated, and are followed by a catered lunch. Participants earn up to three ISBE professional development credit hours for attending an NTC seminar.

Participating in NTC

NTC is a subscription-based program that requires the purchase of an annual membership. School districts, schools, departments, and individuals are welcome to purchase any level of membership to fit their professional development needs. Districts, schools, and departments that are current NTC members use a central contact person to coordinate seminar requests, track seminar participation, and monitor membership status.

Individual educators not affiliated with a current NTC member, including retired teachers, are welcome to participate. A group of individual educators registering through one contact may purchase slots together for a volume discount.

Registration is limited to 20 participants per seminar and is processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration for the 2015-16 school year begins Wednesday, September 2, 2015. Each NTC member may send up to two teachers to any given seminar.


  • Individual Membership: $140 per seminar for 1–5 slots
  • Department Membership: $690 for 6 seminar slots / $115 per additional seminar up to 11 slots
  • School Membership: $1,200 for 12 seminar slots / $100 per additional seminar up to 19 slots
  • District Membership: $1,700 for 20 seminar slots / $85 per seminar for each additional slot

Members that would like to purchase additional seminar slots above their membership level will be billed a prorated rate for each additional seminar up to the next membership level (e.g. a member at the School level wishing to purchase 18 slots would purchase their School Membership at the rate of $1200 plus $100 for the additional 4 seminars, for a total of $1600).

Download the current NTC Membership Form.

For more information about the Newberry Teachers’ Consortium, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

View past Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars

Upcoming NTC Seminars

Friday, October 9, 2015
Poet of Faith and Doubt
Full, wait list available
Emily Dickinson lived and wrote at a turning point in her culture’s religious life.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
An Introduction to its Urban Geography of Migration, Settlement, and Change in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Full, wait list available
The city of Chicago presents a rich subject for visual study, and such an approach can offer a perspective that a traditional classroom text might not, especially with regard to the patterns of human migration and settlement that have characterized the city throughout its history.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Framing, Ratification, and the Documentary Record
Full, wait list available
What do we know about the creation of the Constitution and how do we know it? Anchored in the world of late eighteenth-century politics, this seminar will explore the making of the text, the process of ratification, and the wide public debate over its meanings.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Our modern industrial food production system is energy and resource intensive, relying on fossil fuels and large machinery, tremendous quantities of water and synthetic fertilizers. Increasing population growth, urbanization and globalization have resulted in the creation of large corporate industrial farms, resulting in the disenfranchisement and de-coupling of people from food production.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Full, wait list available
The World History survey poses challenges to both teacher and student.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Performing Identities
Full, wait list available
In this seminar, we’ll look at Titus Andronicus, the Merchant of Venice, and The Tempest through the lens of race to think about what’s both familiar and strange about Shakespeare’s treatment of racial identity, especially as it gets entangled with gender, sexuality, religion, and nationality.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Full, wait list available
Presidential election campaigns exemplify that for democracy and rhetoric to flourish they need each other. This seminar is designed to encourage the teaching of the 2016 presidential election from a rhetorical perspective by introducing participants to the basic skills and theory of rhetoric as it applies to a national election in the United States.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
In recent years both scholars and pundits have poured their energies into understanding the religious underpinnings of the modern conservative movement. Yet religion has motivated any number of campaigns for social justice as well. This seminar will introduce participants to the history and legacies of social gospels in American life.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Daniel Burnham and Richard J. Daley
Full, wait list available
This seminar will delve into the ways that Chicago has been shaped by two monumental figures: architect and planner Daniel Burnham, and Mayor Richard J. Daley. While Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago (written with Edward Bennett) is often treated as a sort of Chicago Bible, the actual 20th and 21st Century city was much more profoundly shaped by son of Bridgeport, Richard J. Daley.
Friday, October 30, 2015
From humble beginnings in 1951 as a common market for coal and steel among six countries, the European Union today has 28 member states, an elected parliament, and a common currency used in 19 of those states. It is widely viewed as fostering postwar peace and prosperity in Western Europe and later in guiding the democratization of the post-communist states in Eastern Europe after 1989.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Full, wait list available
Presidential election campaigns exemplify that for democracy and rhetoric to flourish they need each other. This seminar is designed to encourage the teaching of the 2016 presidential election from a rhetorical perspective by introducing participants to the basic skills and theory of rhetoric as it applies to a national election in the United States.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Often cited as an early version of the novel, captivity narratives have remained immensely popular from the sixteenth century to the present.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Full, wait list available
The idea of progress, the notion that human society will continually advance in a positive direction, is largely a recent, modern concept. This seminar will examine, from a historical perspective, how the idea of progress was applied to scientific, technological, political, and social thought. It will largely concentrate on Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Friday, November 20, 2015
Full, wait list available
Economists have a variety of tools used to address what we call “market failures,” cases where competitive markets fail to lead to socially efficient outcomes. These tools include taxes, subsidies, use quotas, bans on particular behaviors, and other types of regulation. These can be applied to producers, manufacturers, and consumers in a variety of ways.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Grand Strategy and the Second World War: Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt
Full, wait list available
In recent surveys, historians and the general public rank these four leaders—for ill and good—as among the most important in the twentieth century. How did such leaders come to power? How did they exercise it? Why did they decide to act as they did? What were their goals? How did their world views affect their actions? What did this mean for their countries and the world?
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
“If we accept the unprovable assumption that a complete education requires the reading of certain books, and the well nigh universal belief that good books, plays, and art lift the spirit, improve the mind, enrich the human personality, and develop character,” the Supreme Court declared in 1973, then a legislature reasonably can assume that some other books “have a tendency to exert a corruptin
Friday, December 4, 2015
“If we accept the unprovable assumption that a complete education requires the reading of certain books, and the well nigh universal belief that good books, plays, and art lift the spirit, improve the mind, enrich the human personality, and develop character,” the Supreme Court declared in 1973, then a legislature reasonably can assume that some other books “have a tendency to exert a corruptin
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Ce cours offre une introduction sur l’origine des concepts du mouvement francophone dans le cadre de la littérature française. Par la suite il explore des développements plus récents dans le contexte de la littérature francophone.
Friday, December 11, 2015
Change and Continuity
Full, wait list available
We often hear that China enjoys a rich history spanning 5000 continuous years, but how much change was paired with that continuity? During the seventh to ninth centuries, China came under significant Turkic influence. During the 14th century it was part of the Mongol empire. Finally, during the Qing dynasty it was ruled by foreign conquerors from Manchuria.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Contemporary Poetry in the U.S., 2000–2015
This seminar will examine some very recent poetic projects (conceptual, computer-generated, collage, concrete) that seek to locate the limits of the genre at a moment when the genre can be imagined to have no limits. To borrow from the title of a famous essay by Stanley Fish, how do we know a poem when we see one, if a poem can seemingly take any shape at all?
Friday, January 29, 2016
Full, wait list available
This seminar will look at how European interests and African actions intersected to inform the economic, cultural, and political histories of colonial Africa from 1880-1975. In particular we will look at how Africans experienced, resisted, and influenced colonial systems in contrast to how Europeans imagined the meaning and operation of colonialism.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Rangos y Rasgos Sociales
Figuras de varios estamentos sociales—cada uno con sus correspondientes características, preocupaciones, y concepciones del honor—poblan las páginas de la literatura del llamado “Siglo de Oro” español. ¿Cómo es el contexto histórico del que surgen tales ideas e imágenes?
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Full, wait list available
Even though borders are frequently located at the peripheries of empires and nations, they nevertheless shape how centers of national power—cities, national capitols, etc.—have defined their relation to issues such as territorial expansion, sovereignty, defense, immigration, labor, community formation, difference, and race and ethnicity.
Friday, February 5, 2016
A Social and Cultural Assessment (1500–1800)
Was there a revolution in science in early modern Europe? If so, just what was revolutionized and by whom? In this seminar we will explore the nature of the “Scientific Revolution” in Europe during the period from 1500 to 1800. The focus will fall on where and how science was practiced as well as who the practitioners were.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Africa and the Middle East
Full, wait list available
Over 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes on account of conflict, persecution and environmental disasters as of the end of 2014, the highest number on record. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Trends Report, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Full, wait list available
This discussion-oriented seminar will combine intellectual and pedagogical reflections on the uses of history in important recent works in American film. We will explore large philosophical and intellectual issues related to truth, fiction, facts, storytelling, and representation. At the same time, we will talk about how to best use film in the history classroom.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Civic Engagement among Millennials
Full, wait list available
This seminar explores the politics of the Millennial generation. We will discuss their entry into the political scene, their effect on the contemporary political landscape, and various predictions of their future political engagement.
Monday, February 22, 2016
Colonialism, Decolonization, and Their Legacies
Full, wait list available
Historians used to think of French colonialism as something that happened “over there”—beyond the borders of the hexagon and distinct from the territory of the nation. Now historians are reconceptualizing French empire as a single field comprising the metropole and its colonies.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
From Broad Shoulders to Third City
Full, wait list available
This seminar examines the fundamental changes that have occurred in Chicago since the era of Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Full, wait list available
This seminar will examine some of the exciting and innovative Latina/o literary works produced since the beginning of the new millennium, including short stories by Daniel Alarcón and Junot Díaz, poems by Rigoberto González, Rosa Alcalá, and Cynthia Cruz, and essays by Ruben Martínez and Carmen Giménez-Smith.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Full, wait list available
What is American Studies? Is it the study of “America” (a notoriously slippery and porous category) or an interdisciplinary methodology that puts literary and cultural studies in rich dialog with history and the social sciences—and therefore can be transposed to the study of other national cultures?
Monday, February 29, 2016
Full, wait list available
Comics, along with YA literature, have become the target—or scapegoat—yet again for those who decry the downward spiral of American culture.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Reconstruction and the Right to Vote
This seminar will explore Reconstruction as a crucial moment in the long and complicated history of the right to vote in the United States. We will look at Congress’s 1867 Reconstruction Acts, the first measures to enfranchise African American men in the former Confederacy.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
How Sports Inform World Politics
This seminar explores the role that sports play in international politics.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Full, wait list available
This seminar will invite participants to explore and understand Hollywood movie stars and stardom as vehicles for American beliefs, myths, anxieties, hopes, wishes, and fears.
Friday, April 15, 2016
The United States and Latin American Independence
The half-century that followed U.S. independence was an age of American revolutions. By 1825, most of the Western Hemisphere had broken away from Europe, including Brazil and the entire Spanish American mainland. We will begin our discussion by examining how and why Latin American independence occurred. How did it compare to—and was it influenced by—the U.S. struggle for independence?