From the Directors: We appreciate the fact that four weeks is not nearly enough time to incubate a full research or pedagogical project, so the premise is for each Summer Scholar to bring working projects (in whatever stage) from their home campuses / communities to be further developed over the course of the Institute. Our hope is that Summer Scholars will use the Institute’s framework and resources to deepen their project/practice as these relate to their teaching and/or research. During the Institute, there are days devoted to independent research, as noted on the Daily Schedule. But applicants should propose projects that already have some preliminary groundwork behind them that can be developed further during the Institute, and that will continue to be developed after Summer Scholars have returned to their home college/community. We are not looking for projects that recap the Institute or that necessarily highlight institutions in Washington, DC. Instead we are looking to cross-pollinate ideas and practices across a variety of campuses and communities. Comparative (regional, pedagogical, methodological, etc.) frameworks will be welcomed. For instance, if a Summer Scholar is a director of a campus art museum or on the faculty at a rural university, his or her project might be framed in terms of how similarly-sized campuses and communities can develop collaborative curatorial approaches, public-facing curricular initiatives, or fill-in-the-blank. Given the Institute’s overall aim to go beyond one-off projects and “pay it forward,” a less compelling proposal would be adding a single curricular unit to an existing syllabus (although this is extremely important and could be developed as a side-project through the Institute).
Summer Scholars’ independent projects will be presented in the final week of the Institute in a series of moderated colloquia, both to ensure the collaborative aims of the Institute and to provide a forum for thinking about innovative applications and adaptations. As projects evolve after the Institute, we hope that the Summer Scholars will stay in touch to share developments and resources, provide support, and/or collaborate across platforms. Depending on interest (and with Summer Scholars’ permission), we will find ways to share independent projects as resources through the NEH institute website.