Deadline Approaching for 2019 SDHC Scholar Applications

John Timm is one of many Chautauqua presenters from the 2018 SDHC Speakers Bureau lineup. 

Applications for Speakers, Discussion Leaders Due Dec. 15

The 2019 South Dakota Humanities scholar application deadline is approaching.

SDHC seeks qualified speakers and reading discussion group leaders to deliver humanities programming to South Dakotans in 2019; applications are due Dec. 15.

As part of the SDHC's "One Stop Programs," scholars are paid to lead reading discussions and speak to groups about topics pertinent to their area of expertise. Successful applicants will be listed in the printed 2019 SDHC Program Catalog and on the SDHC website.

Purpose of One Stop Programs

The South Dakota Humanities Council was founded in 1972 to celebrate literature, promote civil conversation and tell the stories that define our state. We accomplish this mission by supporting and promoting public programming in the humanities, including grant-funded programs, our annual South Dakota Festival of Books and One Stop Programs.

One Stop Programs are a valuable extension of the South Dakota Humanities Council. Our uniquely qualified and highly-educated experts use their diverse knowledge and expertise to deliver specialized programs to all South Dakotans, including rural populations with limited cultural programming.

These scholar presentations promote thoughtful conversation, broaden learning opportunities and build community.

Browse the 2018 lineup to find examples of the type of speakers typically featured on our roster, which includes museum managers, distinguished professors, and Chautauqua performers.


Scholars must be trained in one of the humanities disciplines, possess an M.A. or Ph.D., or have a career and personal history that show commitment to the humanities (tribal elders, experienced Chautauqua performers and more).

Our Speakers Bureau is all-inclusive, and we encourage topics that promote diversity, such as traditional Lakota spirituality.

 SDHC uses the following humanities definition as a basis for deciding whether applicants' proposed programs apply to 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

Applicants are not required to be South Dakota residents. However, supported programs must take place in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Humanities Council scholar application deadline is Dec. 15.

2018 SDHC scholar Jean Patrick (far left) leads a book discussion. The deadline for 2019 SDHC scholar applications is Dec. 15. 


Scholars are paid a $150 stipend, or $200 if travel is over 240 miles round trip (within South Dakota) or if they make more than one presentation in a day. Wage is $75 for subsequent performances on a second day.

SDHC pays state rate for mileage (42 cents per mile) and lodging -- $55 plus tax a day from check-in on Sept. 1 through check-out on June 1; $70 plus tax a day from check-in on June 1 through check-out on Sept. 1 -- when necessary. SDHC no longer pays for meal costs.

Scholar Hosts

Organizations apply to host a scholar through the South Dakota Humanities Council. Typical applicants include libraries, museums, historic sites, historical societies, parks, tribal entities, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as community centers and agencies that are open to the public. Programs must take place within the state.

Scholar Categories

Interested scholars can apply to be reading group discussion leaders, Speakers Bureau presenters, or both.

From analyzing the current state of the news media to discussing historical time periods or events, Speakers Bureau scholars present programs on a variety of humanities topics suitable for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. 

Chautauqua speakers make history come alive with their costumed impressions of historical figures like the daughter of Sitting Bull, Jackie Mitchell (one of the first female pitchers in professional baseball history), outlaw Tom O'Day (who rode with Butch Cassidy) and many more.

Traditional Programs Cross Humanities Disciplines

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.

Reading discussion scholars can lead groups through conversations about the One Book South Dakota or any number of titles from the SDHC lending library with our Book Club to Go.

Approved applicants will be listed in the printed 2019 SDHC Program Catalog and on the SDHC website. Our committee will review applications in early January, and we will distribute the catalog in February 2018.

For questions about the 2019 application process, email or call the SDHC office at (605) 688-6113.

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

Apply Now!

Interested in applying to be a 2019 scholar? Click the link below to apply now!