Objects and Places in an Inquiry-Based Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and Research in the Humanities | National Humanities Center


Objects and Places in an Inquiry-Based Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and Research in the Humanities

2019 Summer Residency Program for PhD Students in the Humanities

July 15–26, 2019 at the National Humanities Center



Education Programs at the National Humanities Center build bridges between the academic world and the working classroom, addressing both classic and contemporary aspects of the humanities. With a focus on the integration of scholarship and content, inquiry-based pedagogy, and emerging technologies, the Center encourages the growth of education professionals in ways that directly affect the classroom. We employ a project-based approach that supports the development of classroom-ready instructional materials, organize virtual events and learning experiences, and sponsor special events and research opportunities. Further, through our extensive relationships with professional organizations, educational institutions, and scholarly experts, our work reaches beyond the confines of the Center to demonstrate the important role of the humanities in the cultural landscape. Annually, the NHC reaches nearly four million educators at the K–12 and post-secondary level through these initiatives.

Since 2015, the Center has extended these offerings to PhD graduate students as support for career diversification and preparation. Each year, a cohort of students works collectively in small teams to address a relevant theme and create group and individual instructional materials. Focusing on the process of translating research to 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 a much richer network of humanities professionals.


Previous programs have focused on geospatial and mapping technologies, podcasting and storytelling, open educational resources, object-based learning, and project-based learning methodologies. Moving forward, the residency will focus 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 their 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 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 on-going 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
  • provide discipline-specific training in curriculum design and lesson writing
  • integrate emerging technology into the final work design
  • publish and promote final work through the national NHC network, including associated professional organizations

2019 Program Focus

Geospatial literacy is a term that describes the ways in which a person views, understands, and interacts with the world. The geoliterate individual has an understanding of the dynamic physical and cultural forces that interact across the world. He or she has a spatial awareness of the world and is able to see and understand patterns, distributions, and interactions of the physical and human realms.

Teams will be trained in the use of geospatial technology to create inquiry-based maps. Scholars from Triangle-area universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, will mentor on how they add value to their research and teaching using these interactive methodologies. Each team and each individual participant will create and share an instructional resource that is ready for their own teaching in the fall.

Application Process

We are currently accepting nominations of PhD students for the 2019 Summer Residency Program. The selection process will be designed and led by the students’ home institution, and we will accept up to four (4) students per partner institution. NHC staff will work with university representatives to develop recruiting materials, including an orientation meeting with faculty and students. We expect to reach capacity quickly so 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 $1,750 with a residential option for an additional $2,000 to cover lodging for students located out of the central North Carolina area. Tuition covers all programing for the NHC Graduate Student Summer Residency, including materials, books, software, technology support, and lunch and breakfast daily.

2019 Participating Universities

  • Arizona State University
  • Boston University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Louisiana State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma University
  • Rice University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Maryland
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Virginia
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Virginia Tech

Next Steps and Timeline

Institutional partners will complete the following steps:

  • February 15, 2019: University partners commit to sending 1 to 4 participants. NHC works with representatives to develop marketing and recruitment strategies.
  • April 8, 2019: University partners submit nominations for up to four current humanities PhD students for a position in the residency program.
  • April 15, 2019: NHC will establish contact with participants, schedule video orientation, and share expectations and syllabus.
  • July 15–26, 2019: Program will be implemented, including a showcase event to share final work.

Primary Contact

Andy Mink, Vice President for Education Programs
National Humanities Center
7 T.W. Alexander Drive
PO Box 12256
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2256

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.