A West Virginia University foreign languages professor is spending the summer learning the culture of Equatorial Guinea.

Sandra Dixon, an assistant professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is attending a National Endowment for the Humanities institute through July 25. She is immersing herself in the Spanish language and the literature of the central African nation that was once a Spanish colony.

The five-week seminar,The Literature of Equatorial Guinea: A Pedagogical Perspective,is being held by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Howard University in Washington, D.C. All lectures are in Spanish.

This NEH institute is fantastic,Dixon said.I really look forward to each days session.

Dixon was selected from a national applicant pool to attend the institute. She specializes in the Spanish and Portuguese languages and Brazilian literature.

The NEH institutes provide intensive collaborative study of texts, topics and ideas central to undergraduate teaching in the humanities under the guidance of faculties distinguished in their fields of scholarship. They aim to prepare participants to return to their classrooms with a deeper knowledge of current scholarship in key fields of the humanities.

Some other topics of the summer institutes around the country includeVenice, the Jews, and Italian Culture: Historical Eras and Cultural Representationsat the University of California Santa Cruz;Sources of Russian and Soviet Visual Cultures, 1860-1935: Study, Teaching and Educationat the New York Public Library; andAfrican American Civil Rights Struggles in the Twentieth Centuryat Harvard University.

The NEH is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is the largest funding agency of humanities programs in the United States. Its mission is to serve and strengthen the nation by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The NEH accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects in four funding areas: preserving and providing access to cultural resources, education, research and public programs.