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Creating an Accessible Classroom and Inclusive Curriculum

July 17–21, 2023 at the National Humanities Center

Passionate Teaching in a Research Environment
Visual notes by Wendi Pillars from the 2022 Graduate Student Summer Residency.

Since 2015, the National Humanities Center has offered graduate students in humanities doctoral programs an opportunity to learn about and experience best practices in teaching and learning.

Each year, a cohort of students working in small teams creates group and individual instructional materials. Focusing on translating research into practice, students are given guidance on how to create meaningful learning experiences for any level audience in sessions led by prominent scholars, master educators, and technology experts. Most importantly, the design of the residency requires direct and collegial work among students from different universities and disciplines, creating opportunities to engage with a much broader network of humanities professionals.

Program Overview

This five-day, in-person residency will model best practices for undergraduate teaching in the humanities classroom. Our focus will be on effective instructional strategies that emphasize accessibility and inclusivity in curriculum planning, classroom teaching practice, and grading and assessments. Graduate student cohorts will interact and learn from university professionals, and participants will also have opportunities to work with each other through interactive sessions and projects.
Topics will include:
  • Open Education Resources (OER)
  • Universal Design Practices and Instruction
  • How to Build Community and Relationships
  • Accessibility Practices
  • Student Assessments
  • Class Evaluations
The Graduate Student Summer Residency program is also designed to address issues for early career scholars and educators to consider in life after the PhD program. Topics will include:

  • Understanding Copyright in Publication and Instruction
  • Finding Support for Work-Life Balance
  • Job Market to First Job

Program Goals

Students at work in the Commons The Graduate Student Summer Residency program focuses each year on a specific pedagogical theme paired with an emerging instructional technology tool. Participants are also introduced to learning science theory to better inform their instructional design and lesson writing.

Throughout the program, participants will work in cross-university and interdisciplinary teams to create instructional materials for their teaching portfolio by applying these skills. Sessions will be designed and led by established scholars in the humanities who can model innovative uses of instructional technology in their research and teaching. Workshops will provide participants with hands-on experience in connecting their own research to practice.

The primary goals for this program include:

  • Working with a diverse team to identify and map solutions to an instructional challenge
  • Identifying a compelling topic from research and scholarship to develop instructional materials
  • Training participants on the development of classroom-ready materials for the university classroom, including familiarizing them with the most recent research on learning sciences
  • Providing structured feedback on the practice and implementation of writing for a broader audience rather than solely an academic one
  • Writing, revising, and publishing classroom-ready lessons in the Center’s digital repository. These materials will be freely and openly disseminated to the full network of NHC educators. Student authors will receive full citation.
  • Developing skills that are marketable and valuable in the job search
  • Bolstering participants’ CVs through selection to and completion of the National Humanities Center’s Graduate Student Summer Residency program

More than simply developing a strong pedagogical understanding, this program will also provide a broader introduction to the Center and its work in humanities education and outreach. These activities will aim to:

  • Integrate the work of the internship to provide more access to ongoing Center initiatives and workplace culture
  • Identify a theme with strong cross-disciplinary opportunities that encourages advocacy and outreach at the school, university, and national level

Application Process

We are currently accepting nominations of PhD students for the 2023 Graduate Student Summer Residency. The selection process will be designed and led by the institution, which can nominate up to four students annually. NHC staff are available to work with university representatives to develop recruiting materials, including an orientation meeting with faculty and students. We expect to reach capacity quickly, so we urge participating institutions to indicate their interest and submit applications as soon as possible. Once selected, students will work with NHC staff to finalize travel plans, complete all required paperwork, and prepare for the residency program. Participants will also participate in a short welcome orientation video conference and receive a detailed syllabus.

The tuition cost per participant is $2,100 and covers all programming for the NHC Graduate Student Summer Residency, including materials, lodging, local transportation, and lunch and breakfast daily. The tuition per participant without lodging is $1,375.

For more information, contact Andy Mink, Vice President for Education Programs.

Next Steps and Timeline

Institutional partners will complete the following steps:

  • March 31, 2023: University partners commit to sending one to four participants. NHC works with representatives to develop marketing and recruitment strategies.
  • April 28, 2023: University partners submit nominations for up to four current humanities PhD students for a position in the residency program.
  • By May 5, 2023: NHC will establish contact with participants, schedule video orientation, and share expectations and syllabus.