Become a Scholar

Communities across South Dakota want to bring the humanities close to home. The South Dakota Humanities Council helps make this happen.

Our humanities scholars will carry the humanities across South Dakota during programs in 2019 by presenting with our Speakers Bureau and leading reading discussions with our Book Club to Go and One Book South Dakota programs.

Scholars will be listed in the printed 2019 SDHC Program Catalog and on the SDHC website

To be included on the announcement for the 2020 call for applications, email or call the SDHC office at 605-688-6113.

Scholars accepted into the Speakers Bureau will be featured in one program description in the printed catalog and up to five programs on the website. 

Thank you for your interest. We pride ourselves in showcasing knowledgeable and experienced scholars and their humanities programs in South Dakota.

  • Applications opened October 31, 2018.
  • Applications are due Dec. 15, 2018.
  • The SDHC Program Committee will review applications in early January. 
  • The annual Program Catalog distributes in February. Scholars will also be listed online. 
South Dakota Humanities Council scholars bring programs to communities statewide.


How do I qualify? 
Scholar qualifications include training in one of the humanities disciplines, possessing an M.A. or Ph.D., and/or a career and personal history that show commitment to the humanities.

What does an SDHC scholar do? Scholars travel throughout the state to present Speakers' Bureau programs and/or host reading discussions. Scholars can lead book discussions about the One Book South Dakota or choose a book from the lending library with Book Club to Go. In 2018, our scholars will explore the initiative of Democracy and the Informed Citizen, commemorate the anniversary of women's suffrage in South Dakota, and lead book discussions throughout the state.

Which topics do scholars cover? Speakers' Bureau scholars present programs on a variety of humanities topics which are suitable for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Chautauqua speakers make history come alive by replicating characters such as first South Dakota governor Arthur Calvin Mellette, President Theodore Roosevelt, the daughter of Sitting Bull and many others.
  • Our speakers also present traditional programs that cross humanities disciplines. They explore topics such as traditional Lakota spirituality and the role of ceremony in today's ever-changing world; the high-profile criminal trials presided over by Peter C. Shannon, Chief Justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme; the history of stained glass in South Dakota and more.

What are the Humanities? "The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life."

(From: --National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended

Where are programs hosted? Organizations apply to host a scholar through the South Dakota Humanities Council. Typical applicants include libraries, museums, historical sites, historical societies, parks, tribal entities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities as well as community center and agencies that are open to the public. Applicant organizations do not need to be located in South Dakota, but the program must take place within the state.

How are scholars compensated? 

  • $150 stipend or $200 if travel is over 240 miles round trip (within South Dakota) or if more than one presentation is done in a day. Stipend is $75 for subsequent presentations on a second day.
  • SDHC pays state rate for mileage (0.42/mile) and lodging -- $55.00 plus tax a day from check-in on September 1 through check-out on June 1; $70.00 plus tax a day from check-in on June 1 through check-out on September 1 -- when necessary. SDHC no longer pays for meal costs. 

Event Calendar

7:00 pm | Sturgis Public Library
8:00 am | Five area schools
6:30 pm | WEL-Life Assisted Living Center