Definition of the Humanities
The Ping Institute follows the definition of the humanities embodied in the act that established the National Endowment for the Humanities. According to this definition, the humanities include, but are not limited to, the study of the following disciplines: history, philosophy, languages; linguistics; literature; archeology; juris prudence; the history, theory, and criticism of the arts; ethics, comparative religions; and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches.
The Ping Institute endowment provides funding for three named chairs: the Charles J. Ping Professor of Humanities, the J. Richard Hamilton/Baker & Hostetler Professor of Humanities, and the James S. Reid/Standard Products Company Professor of Humanities. The Charles J.Ping professorship is designated to be awarded to a distinguished faculty member from another institution in order to bring new ideas to the Institute. The other two professorships are awarded to faculty members at Ohio University who have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers in the humanities. Normally, the three professorships are based in different departments or schools. Each faculty member carries both a departmental title and the distinguished teaching professorship title. Income from the endowment provides a supplement to the departmental salary.
Selection Criteria for Named Professorships
When a position becomes available upon the retirement of a professor in the Ping Institute, an announcement is sent to faculty members in the humanities inviting nominations. Nominees must be tenured faculty members and outstanding teachers. Measures of effectiveness and commitment to teaching include: major contributions to the general education program, awards for distinguished teaching, new course development, innovative approaches to pedagogy, mentoring of faculty and/or graduate teachers, participation in colloquia or other programs encouraging effective teaching, leading NEH summer workshops, publications dealing with pedagogy, and development of interdisciplinary courses that encourage increased humanities content. The selection committee is composed of current professors and fellows in the Ping Institute. The recommendation of the selection committee is forwarded to the President and to the Board of Trustees of Ohio University for final approval. Details concerning the application process are sent to all nominees.
Fellows in the Ping Institute
To encourage the flow of new ideas, the Ping Institute includes Fellows, faculty members in the humanities appointed for a three-year term. There are three categories of Institute Fellows: 1) faculty members who have tenure at Ohio University; 2) faculty members who hold a tenure-track position at Ohio University; and 3) a teacher from middle or high school. The qualifications for the first two categories are similar to those indicated for the Ping Institute Professors. A candidate from the pre-university schools must be an outstanding teacher of English, history, Latin or modern foreign languages. The candidate must demonstrate interest in improving the quality of teaching of the humanities, such as participation in professional workshops and involvement in organizations in the discipline. When a position becomes available, an announcement letter is sent to humanities faculty at Ohio University and, for the pre-university position, to teachers in the region. The selection process is the same as described for the Distinguished Professors.