ISSUED: 30 June 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is hosting a National Endowment for the Arts Summer Institute for Teachers in July, the only university in West Virginia hosting an NEH institute. Elementary, middle school, and high school teachers from across the country will attend the Voices from the Misty Mountains institute and explore Appalachian writers and mountain culture.
The public is invited to join the institute participants for the following free programs:
- July 9, 6 p.m.–“The Power of Place,” Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education
- July 16, 7 p.m.–An Evening of Appalachian Storytelling with Adam Booth, Erma Ora Byrd Hall
- July 18, 6 p.m.–Staged Reading with Nikki Giovanni, “Chasing the Revolution: A Poet Revealed,” Marinoff Theater
- July 20, 1 p.m.–Lecture “Appalachians and the Civil War,” Dr. James Broomall, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education
- July 27 and 28, 1-5 p.m.–NEH Teacher Project Presentations, Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education
The 25 teachers participating in the institute, whose academic disciplines include social studies, language arts, music, science, and theater arts, come from Tennessee, Maryland, California, Illinois, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Texas, and West Virginia.
Instructors for the institute include poet Nikki Giovanni; storyteller Adam Booth; Ed Herendeen, founding director of the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF); novelist Silas House; Rachael Meads, director of Shepherd’s Performing Arts Series; Dr. James Broomall, director of Shepherd’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War; Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, 2006 West Virginia Professor of the Year and Shepherd Appalachian studies coordinator; and actors from the Contemporary American Theater Festival.
Institute participants will select an NEH project to complete as they study contemporary literature, history, music, and culture of Appalachia. Their projects can be creative, scholarly, or pedagogical. At past sessions, teachers have created lessons and teaching units for their own classrooms, selected web, craft, or dramatic arts projects, or written essays and creative pieces for publication.
Many of the teachers from the last two seminars at Shepherd have called the experience life changing, and a 2016 participant wrote, “The seminar was well-organized, and we were given many opportunities for growth. The participants were outstanding teachers from many regions of the country and therefore provided diversity of thought and experience. I feel so fortunate to have had this experience.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities will feature Voices from the Misty Mountains in their fall publication, and the National Humanities Alliance also plans a summer feature on the July Summer Institute at Shepherd University.
— 30 —