The Mielke Summer Institute is a liberal arts approach to the professional development of K-12 educators from the Appleton and Shawano public schools. 

It provides participants with the opportunity to explore new ideas and examine issues of societal importance from a multidisciplinary perspective in a collegial environment characterized by open-mindedness and mutual respect.

About the Program

The Summer Institute combines serious study and playful inquiry. It is expected that participants will find areas of common interest with other educators across disciplines and grade levels, and that the resulting links will encourage both communication and collaboration in the future. The knowledge and skills that fellows acquire during the Summer Institute will, in time and in various ways, affect their work as educators. However, the goal is to provide intellectual stimulation and renewal for the participants themselves on the assumption that, ultimately, the best teachers are those who are continuously learning, exploring and creating.

Cost & Credits

  • No tuition.
  • 6 graduate credits. You must be in residence the entire week to receive the 6 graduate units.
  • Free room and board. Room (double-occupancy with private baths) and board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided courtesy of Lawrence University. 

There will be ample free time so participants can explore Björklunden’s 441-acre estate and the rest of Door County. Participants will be expected to stay at the lodge for the duration of the institute.

Questions about the Mielke Summer Institute?

Call Stewart Purkey 920-832-6715 or Katie Van Zeeland 920-832-6714.

2024 Mielke Summer Institute - The Joy of Diversity, The Diversity of Joy

Among the questions bouncing around in my head as I think about schools and schooling in these times, especially in these times, are two that will guide Lawrence’s Mielke Summer Institute this year.  One asks what would it be like if, in communities and schools that are, increasingly, diverse in culture, ethnicity and lifestyle, we choose to enthusiastically embrace the many benefits and delights of the beautifully rich tapestry that is being woven in America today?  The other asks what would it be like if joy and joyfulness became means and ends in school, if teaching with joy, if teaching in order to “unearth joy,” became the hallmark of a good school, an effective school?  These are, I believe, complementary questions that, together, could help us think about the “why” of school and the relationship between the nature of society and the corresponding nature of school.  They might also enable us to reflect in different ways about the art, craft, and profession of teaching, about our own practice as educators and who we are in the classroom.  Combining these two questions then, we’ll spend a week in June at Bjorklunden, overlooking Lake Michigan, thinking about and exploring the joy of diversity and the diversity of joy in our schools and communities and the broader society of which they are a part.  With that in mind, the four of us invite you to join us in conversation at Bjorklunden!

~ Stewart Purkey




The 2024 Mielke Summer Institute will be held at Bjorklunden in Door County from Sunday evening, June 16 through noon on Friday, June 21.  Participants will stay at Lawrence’s lodge in Baileys Harbor on Lake Michigan.


Any educator in the Appleton and Shawano Public Schools may apply. A maximum of 24 applicants can be accepted. Previous participants and applicants are urged to reapply.

Required Application Materials

Candidate Application Form
Briefly state your interest and motivation for attending the Mielke Summer Institute in the Liberal Arts. Indicate qualities you possess that will enhance the program.

Supervisor Recommendation Form
This form is extremely important in the selection process. The supervisor should give specific reasons why you will be an asset to and benefit from the Mielke program.

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
All participants must be fully vaccinated, including all recommended boosters.

Deadlines & Notification

Your supervisor’s recommendation and candidate application form must be received by April 8, 2024. No late applications can be accepted. Notification of acceptance will be during the week of April 15, 2024.

Contact these teacher coordinators for more information:

Appleton Public Schools
Brian Bartel, Johnston Elementary School

Michelle Johnson, Lincoln Elementary School


Shawano Public Schools
Megan Pyatskowit, Shawano Community High School