Ping Institute Projects

The Ping Institute runs many ongoing initiatives that promote the Humanities their engagement with other disciplines both on campus and within our wider community, and it works to develop new projects in pursuit of these goals.

One of the Institute’s greatest successes was the creation of the Bruning Teaching Academy, which it founded with the help of a grant from the Konneker Fund. In the Teaching Academy twelve untenured faculty are paired with 12 award-winning faculty to discuss the teaching of undergraduates. The directors of the Academy are Drs. Bill Condee, Linda Rice, and Raymond Frost. The pairs of faculty members visit each other’s classes and meet weekly to discuss specific issues. The entire group meets in a focused plenary session every three weeks where they also have the opportunity to talk about issues of interest to the whole group.

Another primary goal of the Institute is to support high school teachers by offering each year a program of one-day workshops that bring teachers to campus to discuss subjects relevant to the teaching of the Humanities. For each workshop, the Ping Institute recruits a member of the University faculty to offer a workshop in their area of expertise. When possible, these workshops coincide with events on campus, such as larger conferences or theater productions. The workshops provide teachers with engaging seminar-style discussions with top faculty, opportunities to connect with other teachers in the region, and provide contact hours to support teacher accreditation. A selection of recent Ping Institute Workshops includes

  • Spring 2014 – “As You Like It in Performance” with Samuel Crowl, Jill Ingram, and Shelley Delaney
  • Fall 2014 – “Landscape and Community: Utopian Approaches to Healing” with  Katherine Ziff and Jessica Cyders
  • Spring 2015 – “The Case of the Novel Novelist: One Mystery Writer’s Journey” with  Andrew Welsh-Huggins
  • Fall 2015 – “Much Ado About Nothing in Performance” with Samuel Crowl
  • Spring 2016 – “From Page to Stage: The Process of Writing Plays” with Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey
  • Fall 2016 – “Coal and Culture in Appalachia” with Geoff Buckley
  • Spring 2017 – “Tolkien’s Middle Ages” with Mary Kate Hurley
  • Fall 2017 – “Unelected Leaders: America’s First Ladies” with Katherine Jellison
  • Spring 2018 – “Julie Taymor’s Film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Samuel Crowl
  • Fall 2018 – “Talk the Walk: Using Positive and Strengths-Based Language” with Ashwini Ganeshan and Geneva Murray
  • Spring 2019 – “The Literature, History, and Propaganda of Women’s Suffrage” with Carey Snyder and Katherine Jellison
  • Spring 2019 – “Romeo and Juliet in Performance” with Samuel Crowl
  • Fall 2020 – “Mingling of Tragedy and Triumph: True Tales from Within and Beyond the Heartland” with Linda Rice
  • Spring 2020 – “Settling Ohio: First Nations and Beyond” with many professors hosted by Brian Schoen

In addition to its program of one-day workshops, each summer the Ping Institute offers a three-day Summer Institute for high school teachers. These events provide high school teachers with opportunities to explore Humanities-based interdisciplinary topics in greater depth, often with two or more University faculty. Teachers usually stay in Athens for the event, providing them opportunities to connect with other high school teachers, engage in seminar-style discussions with top University faculty, and acquire contact hours to support their teaching accreditation. Recent summer institutes include:

  • Summer 2014 – “Remembering Nazi Germany: Two Women’s Memoirs” with Lois Vines and Marie Claire Wrage
  • Summer 2015 – “The Mahabharata: India’s Great Epic” with Brian Collins and Vishwa Adluri
  • Summer 2016 – “A Global Perspective on Islam” with Loren Lybarger, Linda Rice, and Assan Sarr
  • Summer 2017 – “Book History from Gutenberg to Google” with Miriam Intrator, Joe McLaughlin, and Nicole Reynolds
  • Summer 2018 – “Remembering the Great War” with Nicole Reynolds, David Curp, and Cyrus Moore
  • Summer 2019 – “Teaching (with) Video Games” with Edmond Chang

The Ping Institute also promotes opportunities for Ohio University faculty to come together to engage in interdisciplinary discussions to build connections across departments. In addition to regular receptions where faculty can come together for informal events to meet their colleges and build bridges across disciplines, the Institute hosts a Faculty Seminar each year, in which a prominent figure involved in the Humanities is invited to campus to discuss a text with a group of 20-25 University faculty members. Recent faculty seminars have included:

  • March 2014 – “Screen Adaptations: Hamlet” with Samuel Crowl of Ohio University.
  • Nov. 2014 – “Education, Justice and Democracy” with Danielle Allen of Princeton University.
  • Nov. 2015 – “African Healing and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World” with James Sweet of the University of Wisconsin.
  • March 2017 – “Public Theologies of Belonging and Governance” with Nukhet Sandal of Ohio University.
  • March 2018 – “An Evening with Appalachian Novelist Robert Gipe” with novelist Robert Gipe of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.
  • April 2019 – “The Humanities in Everyday Life” with Michael Levenson of the University of Virginia.

Looking to the future, the Ping Institute seeks to maintain its current initiatives while generating ideas for new ways to support the Humanities both on campus and in the community. Those interested in the Humanities are encouraged to watch the webpage or find the institute on social media to keep updated as new initiatives are developed and introduced.