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Shepherd’s July NEH Summer Institute accepting applications from teachers

ISSUED: 3 January 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Public school teachers from all disciplines and grade levels—elementary, middle and high school, as well as librarians and theater arts instructors from across the country—are encouraged to apply to the 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at Shepherd University titled “Voices from the Misty Mountains: The Power of Storytelling,” July 8-28. This is the fourth NEH Institute for Teachers that Shepherd University has hosted on its campus.

Teachers will explore the culture, literature and storytelling, music, and history of the Appalachian region, and carry their knowledge back to their classrooms to enhance their teaching and to shatter many of the myths and stereotypes about the region. The NEH Institute is designed to coincide with Shepherd’s Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) and offers an array of exciting theater, cultural, historic, and arts experiences for teachers.

Twenty-five teachers, whose disciplines include social studies, language arts, music, science, theater and teaching arts, will be selected to come to Shepherd to explore the seminar topic.

The artist-in-residence this year will be writer Denise Giardina, whose “Storming Heaven” was one of the earliest stories to address social and ethical issues in the region and explore the union wars in Appalachia and Battle of Blair Mountain. Other scholars and artists will also work with teachers, including CATF founding director Ed Herendeen, master storyteller Adam Booth, novelist Silas House, and Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker.

Serving as NEH teachers are Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history; Dr. James Broomall, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War; Rachael Meads, director of the Performing Arts Series at Shepherd; and Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, 2006 West Virginia Professor of the Year and director of the summer institute.

Some of the programs planned for the NEH teachers will be open to the public, including a CATF stage reading of Denise Giardina’s original play “Ted and Robert.” The Affrilachian poets will present a reading along with Frank X Walker, and some of the lectures will be open to the public.

For information about application procedures, go to the NEH Summer Institute link at or contact Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt at

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