Since 1997, the Institute has been supported by The John P. McGovern Foundation. Teachers participating in the Institute's seminars explore the American literary tradition by studying classic works from the "canon" alongside significant works by minority writers. Each seminar takes place over two weeks each summer in The Honors College on the University of Houston campus. Morning seminar meetings are followed in the afternoon by a light lunch and readings by poets and writers.
Seminars are devoted to study and small-group discussion that are limited to 12 participants. Teachers complete 30 hours of professional development credit applicable to Gifted/Talented certification from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Underwriting by the McGovern Foundation allows The Honors College to offer the Common Ground Teachers Institute absolutely free of cost to participating teachers, who also receive a stipend for books and on-campus parking.