Study of the United States Institutes for Secondary School Educators

2022 Summer Study of the United States Institute for Secondary Educators

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators (SUSIs) are intensive post-graduate level academic programs whose purpose is to provide foreign secondary school educators and administrators the opportunity to deepen their understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions.  The ultimate goal of the Institutes is to strengthen curricula and to enhance the quality of teaching about the United States in secondary schools and other academic institutions abroad.

Please email completed applications with the Subject line “2022 SUSI for Secondary Educators” to: TbilisiExchanges@state.gov

Application deadline:  20 December, 2021  

Program Overview
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators will take place at various academic institutions throughout the United States over the course of five weeks beginning in June 2022.  Each Institute includes a four-week academic residency component and a one-week integrated study tour to another region of the United States.  Posts, Fulbright commissions, and prospective applicants are encouraged to visit our website page to obtain general information about the Institutes.

The website address is: http://exchanges.state.gov/susi

Institute Description

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators (SUSIs) will provide three multinational groups of 20 experienced secondary school educators (including teachers, administrators, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, Ministry of Education officials, and others) with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, education, and culture – past and present. The Institutes focus on providing content and materials for participants to develop high school-level curricula about the United States.

Through a combination of traditional, multi-disciplinary, and interdisciplinary approaches, program content will examine the history and evolution of U.S. institutions and values, broadly defined. The programs will also serve to illuminate contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society. The four-week academic residencies will take place at U.S. university and college campuses and will consist of a balanced series of lectures, panels, seminar discussions, readings, workshops, site visits, meetings with practitioners in the field, and cultural activities.  One-week study tours to a different region will complement the academic residencies and showcase the cultural, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the United States. The program features a curriculum based on the study of how America’s foundations and historical development have shaped and continue to inform U.S. politics, economics, and society.  A key cultural component of the program involves community service activities, which will provide participants with a first-hand experience of how volunteerism plays a vital role in U.S. civil society.  The program will offer multiple opportunities for follow-on engagement through alumni webinars, grant-funded follow-on projects, social media, and an alumni workshop.

Program Funding
All participant costs will be covered including program administration; travel and ground transportation in the United States; cultural, housing, subsistence, mailing, books, and incidental allowances. If the program is conducted virtually, ECA will work with UM to provide a technology stipend to participants.

Housing and Meal Arrangements
Each participant will have a private room but may be required to share a bathroom with a participant of the same gender during the Institute. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities; participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. Please explain the above housing arrangements to your nominees to ensure that they are comfortable with such arrangements.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. However, while Institute staff will make available special accommodations to the greatest extent possible, participants must be reminded that full participation in all Institute activities is still expected.  Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Health Benefits
All participants will receive the U.S. Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE policy. Information on the health benefits program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.

Program Requirements and Restrictions
All participants are expected to participate fully in the program. Participants must attend all lectures and organized activities and complete assigned readings. Family members and/or friends cannot accompany participants on any part of the program. This is an intensive Institute and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. The Institute is not a research program.

Virtual Program Contingency
Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program will consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming and will be a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming will include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants are required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their home located outside the United States.

Connectivity
Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection. If a participant does not have a computer or adequate internet access, the University of Montana (UM) will work with the participant to facilitate computer access on an as-needed basis. Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

Candidate Qualifications
The study of the U.S. Institutes is highly competitive.  Priority will be given to candidates who have firm plans to enhance, update or develop courses and/or educational materials with a U.S. studies focus or component, who have no prior or limited experience in the United States, and who have a special interest in the field of secondary education as demonstrated through past scholarship, accomplishments, and professional duties.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly motivated and experienced secondary school teachers and administrators. Ideal candidates are individuals who are seeking to introduce or enhance aspects of U.S. studies into their curricula or to offer specialized seminars/workshops for education professionals in U.S. studies or related fields.

Candidates must demonstrate English language fluency. Institutes are rigorous and demanding programs; participants will be expected to handle substantial reading assignments in English and to fully and actively participate in all seminar and panel discussions. English fluency is vital to a successful experience in the Institute, both for the participant and participants from other countries.

Candidates should be willing and able to fully take part in an intensive post-graduate level academic program and study tour.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  • To what extent do the Institutes for Secondary Educators cover teaching methods and pedagogy?  SUSIs for Secondary Educators focus primarily on content, materials, and education related to the United States.  The Institutes for teachers typically include a handful of sessions on teaching methodologies; however, these sessions are supplemental to the focus of the Institute.  Teachers more interested in teaching methods and pedagogy rather than U.S. content may wish to apply for the Teaching Excellence in Achievement (TEA) program.
  • Can a nominee who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes? No.  U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  • If an applicant has been to the U.S. before, would he/she be disqualified? No.  Applicants with some experience in the United States can be considered for the program.  They should clearly indicate the purpose of their prior visit(s) to the United States, the year, and the length of his/her stay.  Preference will be given to applicants with little or no experience in the United States.
  • Can family members of U.S. Embassy employees apply for the program? Immediate family members of U.S. Embassy employees are ineligible for this program.
  • How much free time/time for independent research will a participant have during the program?  There will be some free time during the program as well as some time designated for independent research.  However, nominees must understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to participate in all lectures, activities, and scheduled events.  Participants in Secondary Educator Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the U.S. after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  • If a nominee has relatives in the United States, would he/she have time to see them?  Because of the intensive nature of the Institutes, participants will not be able to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.  Participants in Secondary Educator Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the United States after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  • Can a relative travel and stay with the participant during the Institute? No.  Relatives are not permitted to travel or stay with a participant during the program.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Participants in Secondary Educator Institutes may, at their own expense, opt to extend their stay in the U.S. after the close of their program to the extent allowed by visa regulations.
  • Can a participant arrive early/late for the Institute? The University of Montana (UM) will arrange flight itineraries so that participants arrive on the Institute start date.  Occasionally, flight schedules necessitate that a participant arrives a day early.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and post.  Participants will have an opportunity to review their flight itinerary before it is booked.  Once UM has booked the itinerary, the participant is responsible for making and paying for any itinerary changes, the participant chooses to change their plans.
  • Can a participant stay after the end of the Institute? Yes.  Under the terms of their J-1 visas, participants generally have up to 30 days after the end of the program to depart from the U.S.  However, the participant must be aware that he/she is responsible for all arrangements and expenses after the end of the Institute and will no longer have ECA-sponsored health benefits.
  • Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute?  No.  All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
  • How much money will participants need to bring for the program?  The Study of the U.S. Institutes covers all costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals.  Generally, host institutions provide meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and cash allowance to permit participants to cook or eat at local restaurants.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute.  Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.  Participants will receive a stipend to purchase books and research materials while in the United States.
  • Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, the Study of the U.S. Branch welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities.  We are committed to working with our Institute hosts to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants.