Teacher Programs

The NJCH Teacher Institute provides professional development programs for New Jersey K-12 educators and recognizes outstanding work by teachers of humanities disciplines. Questions relating to Teacher Institute programming should be directed to Mary Grace Whealan at mwhealan@njch.org.

Applications available under each program tab AND in the “Applications” tab.

Teacher Institute programs include:

Applications are editable Microsoft Word documents.  They may be either printed and mailed or electronically sent to MaryGrace Whealan at mwhealan@njch.org.  Please note, applications must be submitted in full with all signatures included (if required).  

RTTP Application Sept 2014

Teacher Seminars


Call with questions: 609-695-4838  or e-mail: mwhealan@njch.org.


Teacher Institute seminars are three-day tuition-free courses; lunch is provided. Activities at the seminars include lectures, discussions,  films, writing workshops, curriculum planning, and opportunities to network with scholars and teaching colleagues.


 Changes to the New Jersey Landscape: The Historical and Cultural Geography of the Garden State

Wednesday-Friday (July 16-18)
Seminar Leader: Andrew Urban, Rutgers University
This seminar will explore the cultural, economic and historical geography that has provided different New Jersey landscapes with their meanings, and the ways in which the categories of race, ethnicity, gender, and class can be understood in spatial terms.
  • What do abandoned factory complexes tell us about the historical changes to the economies of cities like Camden, Perth Amboy, and Paterson?
  • What can be learned about the history of US immigration policy from examining the “little Indias” that have sprouted up throughout central New Jersey towns like Edison since 1965?
  • What can ongoing disputes over affordable housing – and the implementation of the Mount Laurel decisions – tell us about tensions over race, class, and the residential landscape of New Jersey today?

The goal for participants in this seminar is to come away with skills that can be applied to their own classrooms and communities, in order to explain changes to the buildings, spaces, and populations that constitute their own New Jersey backyards.

Get a sense of what’s in store by looking at a draft syllabus: Changes to the New Jersey Landscape_DRAFT

Literature of Revolution

Wednesday-Friday (July 23-25)
Seminar Leader: Cynthia Paces, The College of New Jersey

This seminar will explore the concept of “revolution” from several disciplinary perspectives: political, historical, sociological, and literary. Using case studies from the American Revolution to the Arab Spring, we will explore the conditions that inspire individuals and groups to rise up against their governments. We will use primary sources including political tracts, artistic and literary representations, music and film, as well as scholarly analysis of revolutions. The following questions will be among those we consider as a group:

  • What defines a “revolution”? Must it result in a complete overthrow of an existing government?
  • Can we isolate shared characteristics of revolutions, independent of time or region?
  • How does technology shape revolutionary movements?
  • What is the role of the individual in mass movements? How do race, class, gender, religion, and other characteristics affect the participation of individuals in political upheavals?

Participants in this seminar will develop skills and content knowledge that can be used to enhance the curriculum in several fields including world and American history and literature, social studies technology, gender, art, and cultural studies.





1. Complete application form
2. A brief résumé
3. In two pages or less, describe why you are applying to the seminar. Briefly note NJCH seminars attended
4. A letter of recommendation from your principal or department chair

Please send a complete copy of your application packet (application, résumé, statement & letter of recommendation) to:

Mary Grace Whealan, Program Officer
28 West State Street, 6th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608

Applications (in full) may also be scanned and emailed to mwhealan@njch.org.

For the past eighteen years, the New Jersey Council for the Humanities has recognized the best of our state’s K-12 public school teachers and their outstanding achievements in teaching the humanities to our young people.

What kind of teacher do we look for?

An elementary, middle school or high school teacher who understands the complexity, value and richness of the humanities, including such subjects as history, literature and language arts, the theory and history of the arts, comparative religion, world cultures and ethics. Teachers who explore these subjects with their students often use an interdisciplinary approach. Such teachers are creative and help others to see new perspectives. They frequently serve as role models for other teachers. They are, simply, the best of teachers.

The Teacher of the Year receives a $500 prize; his or her school receives $500 for the purchase of humanities resources that are chosen by the Teacher of the Year.

We encourage your participation in the Teacher of the Year awards program in 2014!



Continuing Education for New Jersey Teachers


The New Jersey Council for the Humanities professional development seminars for New Jersey K-12 teachers bring educators together for an intellectually stimulating exploration of new scholarship in history and literature that enriches their lives and their curriculum.

2 Programs for Spring 2014!

Poverty, Affluence and the American Dream (working title)

Weekend Workshop – May 3 and May 10
Camden County location to be announced soon!

Workshop Leaders: Matthew Ruben and Raymond Ricketts, Bryn Mawr College

Whether dramatized by images of the Great Depression and post-Katrina New Orleans, or by the number of Americans lacking health insurance or facing foreclosure, poverty is one of the most persistent problems and controversial issues in the United States. Along with its obvious economic dimensions, poverty has a wide variety of political and cultural meanings, meanings which have both shaped and been shaped by larger historical trends.

Through a selective, critical examination of scholarly and popular works addressing the related themes of poverty, wealth, and class inAmericafrom the 1860s to the early 2000s, this workshop will explore the historical, sociological, and literary ebbs and flows of the American Dream. It will look at how poverty and poor people have been discussed and represented in theUnited Statesat various points during the last 150 years, and it will provide an opportunity to explore the many ways the issue of poverty affects how we see the meaning ofAmerica.


Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape Our Communities

One-day workshop – 7 hours of Continuing Education Credit

May 13 (Tuesday) – 9AM – 4PM

Workshop Leader: Tom McCabe, New Jersey State Scholar for the traveling Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibition

Learn more about Hometown Teams HERE.


Our Winter 2014 program:


FEBRUARY 8-9, 2014 (Back-up dates: February 22-23)

Attention Teachers in Essex, Morris, Hudson, and Passaic Counties!

Connect with core content standards in new ways, and get your school and community excited that the Smithsonian is coming to a town near you in 2014!

A two-day workshop related to Sports in Our Communities.  This Smithsonian-inspired two-day workshop helps teachers of all levels and disciplines bring sports into the classroom.  Studying how sports have shaped America offers a fertile ground for students to explore historical themes, write creatively, make art, and problem solve. The workshop includes lectures on national and local sports history, a tour of the Hometown Teams exhibit, a guest panel discussion, interaction with the host institutions of the traveling exhibit, and planning sessions on how to bring sports into your lesson plans. Join the Hometown Team to learn more about what sports mean to us, as individuals and as a community, and how they shape who we are and how we live our lives.

Using informational texts, discussion, and brainstorming unit plan development, some topics to be covered include:

  •  The turn of the century and the emergence of modern sports
  •  The Civil Rights era and baseball integration – Jackie Robinson’s ordeal
  •  Title IX and women in sports..and the controversy that surrounds it
  •  Sports and technology today
  • Rivalries – the balance between it and sportsmanship
  •  Sports, values and character development
  •  The role of oral history in community building
  •  How do we talk about sports? (tentative — panel with sports writers)
Participants in this 2-day course earn 16 hours of professional development credit. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

Questions? Please contact MaryGrace Whealan at mwhealan@njch.org or by phone at 609-695-4838.


* Please note: Priority is given to teachers who have not attended any Teacher Institute seminars previously. Teachers who have attended a Teacher Grant Fund workshop but not a Teacher Institute seminar are eligible to apply.

October 24, 2014.

Pioneered by historian Mark C. Carnes, Reacting to the Past (RTTP) has been implemented at over 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. RTTP consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas.

Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. It seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills.

This one-day workshop will train high school teachers in an innovative pedagogical approach called Reacting to the Past.  Developed at Barnard College, Reacting to the Past calls on students to play out the part of historical actors in key moments of great change.  Through intensive interactive role-playing games, students, in essence, “become” historical actors, acting out and reacting to these historical episodes as though they were genuinely inhabiting that space.

This opportunity, traditionally designed for use in college classrooms, is open to high school social studies teachers. On Friday, October 24, join us at The College of New JErsey (TCNJ) for a game designed specifically for New Jersey American social studies teachers: Paterson, 1913: The Silk Strike. Attendees will both participate in the contentious world of labor politics and learn how to bring the game into their own classrooms. Workshop sponsored in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission.

Paterson, 1913: The Silk Strike

Led by Abigail Perkiss and
Mary Jane Treacy

7 Professional

Development Hours

Must be Middle or High School Social Studies teacher to attend. Lunch will be provided.

Questions? Contact MaryGrace Whealan at mwhealan@njch.org.


Humanities in the Hallways


Professional Development Programs


How to plan a program for your school:
Choose from these topics for the 2012 – 2013 school year:


The Civil War in American History and Culture


The Civil War was a critical moment in the construction of the American nation. When examined through the multiple lens of politics, military strategies, economic and technological transformation, and what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom, the Civil War at once illuminates and complicates what Americans believe about their nation and themselves.  Options for this workshop give participants the chance to examine the Civil War’s standing in American History and historical sensibilities from the 1830s through the traumatic years of the War itself, focusing on the causes of the War, its impact on New Jersey, and new scholarship on women and African Americans during this period.

Narratives of Immigration: Latino/a Lives

Seminars examine the United States–a nation of immigrants–as defined by the narratives of its Latino/a population. Through novels, short stories, films and music, stories of arrival and belonging are explored as conceptualizations of national, racial and ethnic communities.

Narratives of Immigration: Asian American Communities and Conflicts

The United States is increasingly defined by the narratives of its immigrant populations. Options for this workshop give participants the chance to take up the novels, short stories, films and music that tell the stories of Asian immigrants’ arrival, sense of belonging, and the difficulties they have faced upon settling. Teachers examine how Asian conceptualizations of national, racial and ethnic communities are formed, and how the idea of “community” relates to issues of immigration, colonialism, exile, integration and assimilation, political presence, religion, criminality, and “back home” nationalism.

…or a topic of your choice


A workshop can be tailored to your school’s needs and/or interests.


How to prepare an application to Humanities in the Hallways:


  • Contact NJCH Teacher Institute Program Officer Mary Grace Whealan at 609-695-4838 to discuss planning a Humanities inthe Hallways educational program and identify leaders on the topic.
  • Choose dates and times. NJCH will contact potential leaders to determine availability.
  • Fill out the attached application form and send it to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Authorizing Officialfrom the school or district must approve the application and payment.
  • Upon receipt of contract, consult with the leader to select readings or other educational materials for participants toreview in advance of the program. Also, provide leader with directions and confirm date and time as the program dateapproaches.
  • Fee is due seven days in advance of the program. Checks made payable to the New Jersey Council for the Humanities may bemailed to the NJCH office at the address below.


NJCH Humanities in the Hallways Fees:


$800 for a 2 hour program $900 for a 3 hour program
$1100 for 4 hour program $1500 for a 6 hour program


Final steps to completing the application for a Humanities in the Hallways program:


Please fill out the attached application form. Be sure the authorizing official signs the first page and project director signs the application on page 2.

Keep a copy of the completed application for your own records, and send the original to:
New Jersey Council for the Humanities
Humanities in the Hallways
28 West State Street, Sixth Floor
Trenton, NJ 08608


Download the Application and Guidelines.


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