USDA Faculty Exchange Program

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FACULTY EXCHANGE PROGRAM
In Agricultural Economics, Marketing, and Agribusiness Management

2016 Program Description

Applications should be submitted by email attachment tbilisiusda@state.gov by February 10, 2016.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Faculty Exchange Program (FEP), managed by the Foreign Agricultural Service, was created in 1995 to bring instructors from agricultural institutions of higher learning to the United States for 5 months to increase their knowledge of, and ability to teach, agricultural economics, marketing and agribusiness management in a market economy.

The goal of the program is to promote the development of sound agricultural policy and effective and competitive agricultural marketing and business systems.  The objectives of the Faculty Exchange Program are to:

1.  Increase the number of adults who understand the market economy by improving the quantity and quality of academic and adult education programs in agricultural economics and marketing, agribusiness, and agrarian law;

2.  Develop the ability and confidence of participating faculty to evaluate and revise curriculum and courses through the application of basic principles of learning and curriculum development; and,

3.  Establish enduring U.S.-international institutional relationships that will catalyze and support curriculum development, course revision, and faculty strengthening in the areas of agricultural economics and marketing and agribusiness.

Increasing the number of adults who understand how a market economy works, increasing the number of people who can teach and create educational materials on market economics, and increasing the number of people with the mind-set to adapt to a market economy is critical to the formulation and implementation of sound policy and the continuing development of a competitive market system. Long-term faculty development programs of this type can significantly assist in the transition to a market economy.

The FEP is accepting applications for the 2016 program. We anticipate that the program will begin in late July 2016 and end in early to mid-December 2016. Individual candidate interviews are tentatively planned to take place in late February or early March, 2016.

Requirements:

  • Applicants should be teaching at the university level and have a background in agricultural economics, marketing, agribusiness management, or related areas.
  • Applicants must be proficient in oral and written English. All aspects of the program will take place in English; interpreters will not be used.
  • Applicants must be in good health and, if accepted, will be required to have a physical exam prior to traveling to the U.S.
  • The applicant’s university must be willing to continue to pay the salary of the participant while they take part in the program and to guarantee continued employment upon return of the participant for at least two years.
  • Upon completion of the U.S. portion of the program, the applicant must be willing to return to their university to teach for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Applicants must have an international passport valid until at least December 2017.

The FEP is not a degree-granting program. Rather it builds upon a participant’s current academic knowledge, professional training, and experience so that they will be a more competent instructor of agricultural economics subjects in a market-based economy. It equips participants in revising and improving their current courses and in introducing new subjects to assist in the development of the agricultural and agribusiness sectors of the country. The FEP is intended to increase the validity and overall usefulness of a university’s academic and adult education programs.

FEP participants will develop a deep conceptual understanding of how U.S. agricultural markets, enterprises, and legal systems operate. The learning experiences for FEP participants will be planned and conducted in collaboration with U.S. agricultural colleges and will be conducted in English. These experiences will be tailored to participants’ individual subject interests and training needs within the broad objectives of the program. Class work and classroom observation will be included.  Each participant is expected to develop or revise at least three course outlines for introduction upon return to their home institution at the end of the program.  Participants will collect the background materials and information necessary to teach the new or revised courses during their stay in the US.  We also expect each participant to develop and adapt ideas for change and redesign of curricula, teaching methods and materials, and adult and extension education. Each participant must be able to present and explain the curricula and teaching programs of their university and each participant must bring a copy of the university’s curricula. Review, comparison, and revision of course curricula will be an important part of the program.

Other activities will include one-on-one meetings with a U.S. professor and small group discussions on a variety of subjects; exposure to teaching methodologies and assessment techniques used in the U.S. higher education system; course and curricula revision and development for academic and adult education; study of, and visits to, private agribusiness enterprises and markets to understand and experience firsthand the principles and practices of management, marketing, and finance; and short internships or practical experiences with an agribusiness or other private or government entity involved in the U.S. agricultural system. Participants will also learn about the use of the Internet in distance education programs.

The FEP provides follow-up support to participants when they return to their home institutions.  Funds are reserved for visits by U.S. university professors to participants’ universities to assist further in curricula reform and course development. Former participants have continued to maintain contact with the U.S. universities where they were trained and U.S. professors have continued to provide course outlines, critiques, and other valuable information by post, fax, and Internet.  We are particularly interested in applicants from universities interested in establishing long-term relationships with U.S. universities.

Applicants must be in good health and are required to have a physical exam prior to traveling to the U.S.  If invited to participate in the FEP, the USDA will provide a form to be completed by a physician certifying that the participant is in good health.  The USDA will provide emergency medical insurance only, which will not cover pre-existing or chronic medical conditions, medication, eyeglasses, or dental work.   If there is a medical emergency, the participant is generally responsible for paying the first $100 of the bill plus 20% of the remainder of the charges.

If selected to participate, FEP will pay round trip airfare to the U.S. from the participant’s country’ capital city, program fees, book allowance, emergency medical insurance, and a stipend to cover food, lodging, and incidental expenses for the duration of the program.  Participants will share a two bedroom apartment with at least one, and possibly two, other participants throughout the program.

Applicants should complete the application in English. We will only accept applications for the program that are completed in English. (However, the applicant’s rector or dean, vice rector or vice dean, and department head can complete and sign their sections in their native language, if desired, with an English translation attached.)

The applicant’s training objectives and their university administration’s expectations of them upon return should be discussed and agreed upon prior to the interviews. Applications should be submitted by email attachment  tbilisiusda@state.gov by February 10, 2016.  Interviews with applicants are tentatively scheduled to take place in mid-to-late February or early March, 2016.   Final selection of participants will be made by a USDA committee.   Should you have questions please feel free to contact Edward Gerard or Demna Dzirkvadze at the email addresses below.

Georgia
11 George Balanchine St.
Tbilisi 0131, Georgia
tbilisiusda@state.gov