Frequently Asked Questions About

the Summer Institutes for Teachers


Jump ahead to:

Application| Acceptance| Stipend| Travel| Housing|University Life |Institute


Where can I get an application?

Please see our application information page.

Am I eligible to apply?

Please read carefully the NEH’s regulations about eligibility on the NEH Application Information and Instructions. Preference will be given to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-sponsored seminar or institute in the past three years. Substitute or part time teachers are not eligible to apply.

What needs to be included in my application?


  • three copies of a detailed résumé
  • two letters of recommendation (sent separately)
  • three copies of your four-page application essay (described in the Letter to Potential Applicants)

Can I send my application materials electronically?

No. Send them by first class or Priority Mail and make sure they are postmarked no later than March 4, 2013 . Earlier would be better. You will need to provide three copies each of the participant application and cover sheet, your resumé, and your application essay, collated please, so that we can get them to members of the selection committee in a timely fashion.

Letters of recommendation must be in sealed envelopes with the referee's signature across the seal.They should be mailed with your application.

If you are concerned about the safe arrival of your materials, feel free to contact Kathy Haines to check on their status.

What is the mailing address for application materials?


Mariana Whitmer

Center for American Music

106A Stephen Foster Memorial

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh PA 15260

If I apply, when will I hear?

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1, 2013. They will have until April 5, 2013, to accept or decline the offer.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by letter by about mid-April. If anyone who is accepted cannot attend the Institute, we will notify alternates on or before April 6, 2013.

If I'm accepted, when do I need to accept or decline the invitation?

You have until Friday, April 5, 2013 to accept or decline the offer. 

What paperwork will I need to send in if I accept your invitation to attend the Institute?

You will need to sign the “appointment” letter we send you which stipulates the length of the Institute and your stipend and provide us with your current address and social security number.  We suggest you fax the information to 412-624-7447, or mail them to our address

How much will I receive for my stipend check?

The total amount of your stipend is $3900. Half will be paid upon your arrival in Pittsburgh, the other half will be paid to you half way through the institute.

Will we have a chance to exchange our stipend checks for traveler's checks, or what is the usual process Institute Summer Scholars follow?

We have made arrangements with a local bank to cash your stipend checks during your time in Pittsburgh. You may also use the financial institution of your choice. A list of banks in the area may be found here.

Is the stipend taxable by the IRS?

Yes, the full amount of $3900 is considered taxable income. The University of Pittsburgh will withhold no taxes from your check. You may wish to talk to your own tax advisor, or see IRS Publication 970. Neither the NEH nor the University of Pittsburgh can advise you on your tax situation; the IRS will know about the full amount of your stipend.

Will the amount of my stipend be enough to cover all of the costs associated with the seminar?

The stipend should be sufficient to cover your travel, food, and lodging. However, please note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.

What happens if I can't be there for the entire Institute?

If you cannot stay the entire 5 weeks of the Institute, or if you have to miss a day at any point during the Institute, you will be asked to return a pro-rated portion of your stipend, per NEH regulations.

When would I need to plan to arrive, how can I get there and when can I think about returning home?

You should plan to arrive by Sunday afternoon, June 23, 2013.  On Sunday evening we look forward to meeting you at a welcoming event.  Please plan to be there to meet your colleagues.  Stay tuned for more details concerning this event.

Check-in at the Shadyside Inn (where we have arranged lodging for your stay) begins at 4:00, however if you need to check in earlier, you can call them and make arrangements (412-441-4444). The Shadyside Inn staff will be happy to assist you with your check-in from their office, located off the courtyard.

The Institute will end on Friday, July 26th, at 12:00PM.  Due to late afternoon traffic, we advise that you arrange your departure for no earlier than 6:00 pm that evening, or that you delay your departure until Saturday.

You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Below are suggestions on how to get here:

By Plane:


Pittsburgh International Airport is located 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, about 30-40 minutes drive from the University of Pittsburgh.

From the Pittsburgh airport the least expensive way to get to Oakland is by bus.  The Airport Flyer 28X leaves from outside the baggage claim area every 20 minutes (even Sundays) and will bring you directly to Oakland for a mere $3.75. 

Express Shuttle will take you to the Shadyside Inn for $30.95.  The shuttle leaves the Airport every half hour Sunday - Friday: 7am - 11:30 pm and Saturday: 7 am - 9 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the desk.  For more information call (412) 321-4990 or visit their website at

Reservations are not required.

Taxis from the airport are about $50, without tip. 

By Car:


From the East take I-76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike; toll road) exit at Monroeville (exit 57), connecting onto I-376, following signs to Pittsburgh.  Take the Oakland exit (exit 3A, marked University of Pittsburgh; Glenwood, Route 885), turn right at the end of the ramp.  Continue on Bates until it ends at Bouquet Street.  Turn left on Bouquet, follow Bouquet to Forbes Avenue (they meet at a traffic light), and turn right on Forbes. 

From the South Follow I-79 North to the I-279 North Exit. Take 279 through the Fort Pitt Tunnels and across the bridge to the I-376 Monroeville Exit (first exit on the right). Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue leads into the Pitt campus.

From the North Take I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

From the West Cars traveling from the west via the PA Turnpike (I-76) should take Exit 3 and follow I-79 South to I-279 South. (You exit to the left off I-79.) Follow 279 into the city, to the I-376 Monroeville Exit. Follow 376 to the Forbes Avenue/Oakland Exit. Forbes Avenue then leads right into the Pitt campus.

By Train:


The station address is 1100 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.  Amtrak runs one train into Pittsburgh.  The Amtrak station is in downtown Pittsburgh. 

The trains that serve this station are the Capitol Limited (Washington, DC to Pittsburgh and Chicago), the Pennsylvanian (from New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), and Three Rivers (also New York to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).  Check the Amtrak web site ( for schedule information.

By Bus:


The Greyhound bus terminal is located in downtown Pittsburgh, at 55 11th St.  It is open 24 hours per day.  Information concerning schedules can be obtained at  Upon your arrival at the station, you should arrange to take a taxi to your final destination.

What should I bring with me?

You can expect the weather to be quite warm, although at times in the evening it may cool down (highs are typically in the 80s, lows in the 60s).  Dress for the Institute is informal. You should bring rain gear (umbrella, raincoat) in case of inclement weather.  Bring comfortable walking shoes for the field trips.  Because much of what we’ll be doing will involve music, it’s a good idea to have access to a personal CD player.  You will need pens, paper, and other classroom implements. If you forget items, they may be purchased at the University’s Book Center, located on campus on Fifth Avenue at Thackeray Street. While you will have access to the University's computer labs, it would be very convenient to have your own computer and, if possible, printer.

Where will I be staying during the Institute? What will it cost?

We have negotiated a special rate with the Shadyside Inn, located in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, a charming area full of old homes, upscale shopping, and great restaurants. The Inn is one mile (a very level walk) from the Music Building, where the Institute will be taking place. The Shadyside Inn includes everything you will need for your stay, including bed linens and a fully equipped kitchen.They also have maid service, free off-street parking, and a complimentary shuttle that will drop you off at the Institute each morning and return each afternoon. The city bus system ($2.25 each way) also picks up in front of the Shadyside Inn and within a block of the Institute.

Additional features at the Shadyside Inn, including diagrams of the rooms, are listed on their website at

Shadyside Inn costs:

  • studios ( $2444.05 for five weeks; $69.83 per day )
  • one bedroom suites ( ($3027.50 for five weeks; $86.50/a day )
  • two bedroom suites ( $3377.50 per month, or $1688.75 per person per month, $48.25 per person per day )

All utilities are included. Rooms will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. Please note that studio apartments are in a different building from the one and two bedroom units across Fifth Avenue.

Please note that you will be expected to pay the full amount of your housing upon check in. We encourage all Summer Scholars to stay at the same location to help foster a learning community. We also encourage you to room with someone to keep your costs down.

When do I need to decide if I'm staying at the Shadyside Inn?

In order to reserve your room at the Shadyside Inn, we must have your housing form, including a credit number to hold the room, by Friday, April 26th, 2013.

Where can I do laundry?

There are Maytag coin-operated laundry facilities located at the Shadyside Inn.There is also a laundromat, Relax and Wash, at 3407 Forbes Ave, which is open 24/7.It is 1.7 miles from the Shadyside Inn, and about 1 mile from the Music Department.

How can I be contacted while I'm in Pittsburgh?

(412) 441-4444 is the main number at the Shadyside Inn.Their fax number is (412) 687-7312.You will be assigned your own telephone number when you check in to your suite.

Please note that in the Pittsburgh area you need to dial all ten digits (including area code) regardless of whether it is a local or long distance call.

Mail should be addressed to you at:

Shadyside Inn

5405 Fifth Avenue

Pittsburgh PA 15232

It may also be sent in care of you to the Center.

How do I arrange to have a roommate?

If you are interested in being paired up with a roommate, please let Kathy Haines know and she'll do her best to match you up with other folks seeking joint housing arrangements.

Can I bring my family and pets?

You are neither encouraged nor discouraged to bring family members with you to Pittsburgh, or to entertain them at any point during the Institute. However, they will not permitted to attend the institute nor to accompany you on any field trips

Pets are permitted at the Shadyside Inn, but may require additional fees. Please contact them directly for more information.

Where can I buy groceries?

There is an IGA market on Forbes Avenue near the University.   You will probably want to stock up on items from the Whole Foods at 5880 Centre Avenue, the Giant Eagle Market District at 5550 Centre Avenue, or Trader Joe's at 6343 Penn Avenue.

Where can I workout?

The weather will be quite warm in June and July, so there will be lots of opportunities for walking or running outside.  There are also walking trails, bike routes, and tennis courts nearby at Frick Park and a pool and public golf course at Schenley Park, near the University.

Where can I attend religious services?

For information on religious services on and around campus, check out the University of Pittsburgh Association of Chaplaincies web site:  This site contains links to individual churches and organizations, including schedules for services.

What banks are in the area?

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are located conveniently on campus at the William Pitt Union, the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning and at the banks listed below; however, they will likely charge a fee for out of state customers.  You may want to bring travelers checks.  Banks in the near vicinity to the University include:


Parkvale Savings
3520 Forbes Ave/Oakland

Dollar Bank
5822 Forbes Ave/Sq. Hill

PNC Bank
4022 Fifth Ave/Oakland


Citizens Bank
Fifth and Oakland Avenue


National City Bank
4612 Forbes Ave/Oakland


What if I get sick?

The closest pharmacy to campus is Eckerd Drugs, Forbes Avenue & Atwood St., (412) 681-1332.

The nearest hospital emergency room is Shadyside Hospital, 5230 Centre Ave., (412) 623-2121.  More information can be obtained at

How do I get around if I don't have a car?

If you stay at the Shadyside Inn, they provide a complimentary shuttle to and from the Institute each day.

Information on the Port Authority Transit (public transportation) is available at their web site: .  Monthly bus passes can also be purchased at a reduced rate. Along the two major streets in the Oakland area, Fifth Ave. and Forbes Ave., there are many buses that run frequently.  For other routes, you can call PAT at (412) 442-2000 and let them know where you are and where you would like to go.

Yellow Cabs are plentiful, but you need to call them at (412) 321-8100.

How much walking will be required?

A fair amount of walking will be involved during our field trips. If you have physical limitations, please let us know so that we can make arrangements to assist you.

How much time will there be for seeing the sights?

You will have the majority of your evenings and weekends free. We will be offering extracurricular activities for after class and on the weekends. These are not mandatory, but will be designed to enhance your stay in Pittsburgh.  Based on interest, these may include a Pirates baseball game, theatre performances, a trip to Fort Ligonier, a walking tour of the city, a tour of WQED (home of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood), etc.  We are also planning some additional excursions to local restaurants for those who would like to participate.  If you have ideas or special requests for activities, please let us know. 

What is there to do while I'm in Pittsburgh?

If you are looking for something to do, a good place to start is with the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper.  This free publication is issued each Thursday and may be found in most local eateries and University buildings.  It contains movie schedules, theatre reviews, and a large number of listings for entertainment activities taking place in the city.

Another place to find activities in and around the city in on the University web site.  If you visit you will be treated to a thumbnail tour of the city with lots of links to additional sites. 

Other good sites for interesting information about the city include,, and the Carnegie Library’s site,

What is the University of Pittsburgh campus like?

The University of Pittsburgh is a lovely urban campus.  There are lots of open green spaces.  You can get to campus from the Shadyside Inn by walking (1 mile west along Fifth Avenue), Shadyside Inn shuttle, or PAT (Port Authority Transit) bus. For more information about Pitt, including maps of the campus, visit the University's website at

What privileges will I have on campus?

Information to come.

How can I access the internet?

You will not be provided with a University of Pittsburgh email account, so please make certain you know how to access your personal email accounts remotely. Your University ID will allow you to use the computers located in Hillman Library and in the Music Library, as well as in the lab located in the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning.There is free wireless available in Schenley Park.

All rooms at the Shadyside Inn are also equipped with complimentary high-speed internet.

Where will the Institute be held?

The Institute sessions will take place in room 132 of the Music Building on the University of Pittsburgh Campus located at the corner of Fifth and Bellefield (a campus map is available here).  The room is air conditioned, so dress accordingly.

One day of each week will be devoted to a field at a site related to that week’s topic. Some of these sites require extensive walking.  If you have any physical or dietary limitations, please let us know in advance.

What libraries can I use while in Pittsburgh?

The Music Library is located in the basement of the Music Building.  A tour will be provided the first day.

Institute Summer Scholars will have borrowing privileges at the University of Pittsburgh Libraries, including the Center for American Music.

You may also use the Carnegie library, however you will not have borrowing privileges there unless you are a resident of Allegheny County.

Who are the Institute Staff?


Deane L. Root, Co-Director

Mariana Whitmer, Co-Director

Kathryn Miller Haines, Assistant Director

Where can I park at the University?

During the summer parking is sometimes available on the streets around the Music Building.  Pay stations that require you to input your license plate number charge $2.00 per hour and may be paid for either with quarters or credit card. You can also park in the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Lot, which is owned and operated by the University (cost: $10.00 for 6-8 hours). You may also park at the Tetris lot located at Ruskin Avenue  and Bigelow Boulevard. This lot is usually discounted during the summer time (about $8.00 for 8 hours).

To view a parking map of the University, visit and follow the link to Parking. (Be aware that the City of Pittsburgh cleans the streets and prohibits parking on one side of the street each weekday.  Always check the signs where you park to make sure you are not at odds with the schedule.  A good clue is if the parking is easy and you are only one of two or three cars parked along that street.) Do not park in handicap spaces without a handicap tag or permit; fines are steep.

What will our daily class schedule be like?

A preliminary agenda may be viewed here.  A final agenda will be provided with the reading materials on the first day of class.  The Institute will start each day at 9:00 am with a “homeroom” period.  This half-hour will allow everyone to get settled as well as provide some time to answer questions or address comments.   

Breakfast will not be provided; however, you are welcome to bring coffee or a favorite beverage in a covered container to class. Coffee shops are located on the ground floor of the Cathedral of Learning and on S. Craig Street at Forbes Avenue.

The lunch hour is free time, except when we are on field trips.  You may use this time to eat a packed lunch, peruse the Music Library, or catch up on errands.  There are a large number of restaurants within walking distance of Bellefield.

We will typically end our day around 3:00 to allow for research time at the libraries.

Will I need to bring a lunch every day or will it be provided?

You are responsible for all of your own meals, including lunch.

Arrangements for food will be made in advance for field trips, however you will have to pay for these meals as well. You are welcome to bring your own food, or try one of the many restaurants that are around the University of Pittsburgh.

What sort of assignments and homework will we be asked to do during the Institute?

Summer Scholars will share in the discussions demonstrating an acquaintance with the songs. Recordings of all the songs, along with lyrics and background information, will be made available to Summer Scholars for this purpose. Nominal readings will be assigned before the Institute and throughout its five weeks to facilitate and reinforce the connection between music and history. Summer Scholars will read selected short, non-technical articles and chapters that deal with popular songs as they relate to cultural and social history. Additional readings may be assigned by visiting lecturers; these will be provided prior to or at the Institute but with sufficient time to complete them.

Summer Scholars will also complete a final project to synthesize the content and strategies they have learned throughout the Institute. They will be divided into groups of five allowing for peer review and collaboration with those teaching at the same grade level. They will choose a song or two from a special interest era or theme that has not been discussed during the Institute, research and write its history, and develop discussion questions and learning activities that can be used to incorporate the song into the curriculum at their grade level.  Their work must address the academic standards and diverse learning styles, make effective use of songs as primary sources, and provide assessment strategies.  To ensure that their work attains a level of scholarship and educational effectiveness, these groups will work with the Institute faculty, and will have ample time for research and consultation with scholars, advisors, and peers. Till will be set aside daily for them to work in the library or to meet with advisors. The completed lesson plans will facilitate the application of the Institute’s theories and activities into the classroom. Finished projects will be presented to the group at the end of the Institute and will be posted on the Voices Across Time website.

Should I read anything prior to attending the Institute?

A preliminary reading list is being compiled and materials for the first week of the Institute will be mailed to all Summer Scholars prior to the Institute start.  Please bring them with you.  The anticipated readings will be short and designed to complement the lectures and field trips by enhancing your understanding of the topic. 



Do I need to be able to read music or play an instrument in order to attend the Institute?

While the enjoyment of music is absolutely necessary, you are not required to have any practical knowledge of music. Be warned though -- we will be singing (and possibly dancing).  If you do play a (portable) instrument, feel free to bring it along.



Will I get continuing education credit for attending the Institute?

All Summer Scholars will receive a letter at the close of the Institute stating the credit hours.  This letter should be sufficient to prove continuing education equivalency; however, if you require further certification, please let us know.  You do not get University credit for attending the Institute. 

What do I do if I have questions that don't appear on this list?

Email Kathy Haines or call the Center between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday - Friday at 412-624-4100.


NEH Summer Institute for Teachers:

2013 Application

     Letter to Applicants

     NEH Guidelines

2013 Agenda

2013 Institute Staff & Lecturers

Frequently Asked Questions:





2013 Press Release

Contact Us

Workshops for your school or district:

Scheduling and Funding










Copyright 2007-2008 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System