Field Institute in Environmental & Borderlands History

2009 NEH Summer Institute
for University and College Teachers

June 14-July 11




Application Instructions

A detailed account of the institute is available on this website. This includes a “Dear Colleague Letter” from the project director that contains detailed information about the topic under study; project requirements and expectations of the participants; the academic and institutional setting; and specific provisions for lodging, subsistence, and extracurricular activities.  Please review this information before you attempt to complete and submit an application.  All application materials must be sent to the project director.  Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.

Checklist of Application Materials
A completed application consists of three copies* of the following collated items:

  • the completed application cover sheet,
  • a detailed résumé, and
  • an application essay as outlined below.

(*If you are submitting your application electronically, you only need to send one copy.)

In addition, it must include

  • two letters of recommendation as described below.

The application cover sheet
The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address:  <> Please fill it out online as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click on the “submit” button.  Print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package.  At this point you will be asked if you want to apply to another project.  If you do, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project.  Note that filling out a cover sheet is not the same as applying, so there is no penalty for changing your mind and filling out cover sheets for several projects.  A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to a project director.      
Please include a detailed résumé (not to exceed five pages).

The Application Essay
The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages.  This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information.  It should address reasons for applying; the applicant's interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant's professional responsibilities.  Applicants may wish to elaborate on the relationship between institute activities and their responsibilities for teaching and curricular development.

Reference Letters
The two referees should be chosen carefully.  They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the institute.  They should specifically address these issues in their recommendations.  Letters from colleagues who know the applicant's teaching and from those outside the applicant's institution who know his or her scholarship can be particularly useful.  Referees should be provided with the director's description of the institute and the applicant's essay.  If an applicant has previously participated in an NEH summer seminar or institute, a recommendation from the director or lead scholar of that program would be useful.  Please ask each of your referees to sign their name across the seal on the back of the envelope containing their letter, and enclose the letters with your application. If you are submitting your application electronically, referees may send their letters as attached email files to or mail them to the address listed in the next column and on the contact page.