Study of the United States Summer Institute for Scholars

2022 Study of the United States Institute (SUSI) for Scholars

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars (SUSIs) are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty and other scholars 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 academic institutions abroad.

Please send your completed application, saved in Microsoft Word format, with a subject line “2022 SUSI for Scholars” by email to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov. Applications saved in PDF format will not be accepted.

Application deadline: 20 December 2021

Program Overview
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars will take place at various colleges, universities, and academic institutions throughout the United States over the course of six weeks beginning in or after June 2022.  Each Institute includes a four-week academic residency component and up to two weeks of an integrated study tour to another region of the United States.  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.

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars in the summer will be on the following themes in U.S. Studies:   

  1. American Culture and Values  
  2. Journalism and Media  
  3. Religious Freedom and Pluralism  
  4. U.S. Economics and Business  
  5. U.S. Foreign Policy  
  6. Workforce Development
  1. The Institute on American Culture and Values will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and other specialists with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions.  The Institute will examine the ethnic, racial, social, economic, political, and religious contexts in which various cultures have manifested in U.S. society while focusing on the ways in which these cultures have influenced social movements and American identity throughout U.S. history.  The program will draw from a diverse disciplinary base and will itself provide a model of how a foreign university might approach the study of American culture and society.  The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program; New York University in New York, NY will conduct and host the Institute.
  2. The Institute on Journalism and Media will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign journalism instructors and other related specialists with a deeper understanding of the role that journalism and the media play in U.S. society.  The Institute will examine the role of journalists in recognizing and preventing disinformation and will explore strategies for media and information literacy to counter disinformation.  Additionally, the Institute will examine best practices in journalism by discussing the rights and responsibilities of the media in a democratic society, including editorial independence, journalistic ethics, legal constraints, and international journalism.  In addition, the Institute will examine pedagogical strategies for teaching students of journalism the basics of the tradecraft: researching, critical thinking, reporting, interviewing, writing, and editing.  The program will also highlight the impact of technology in journalism, including the influence of the Internet, globalization of the news media, and other changes that are transforming the profession.  The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program; Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ will conduct and host the Institute.
  3. The Institute on Religious Pluralism in the United States will provide a multinational group of up to 18 experienced foreign university faculty, scholars, researchers and religious leaders with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of religious pluralism in the United States and its intersection with American democracy.  The program will include a survey of the religious landscape of the United States, including religious groups; an exploration of the historical and contemporary relationship between church and state in the United States; an examination of the ways in which religious thought and practice have modified and have been influenced by, the development of American-style democracy; and discussions on the intersections of religion and politics in the United States in such areas as elections, public policy, and foreign policy.  Participants will have opportunities to meet U.S. community leaders of different faiths who advocate for collaboration and tolerance among religious groups.  The Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, MA will oversee and administer this program; Seattle University in Seattle, WA will conduct and host the Institute.
  4. The Institute on U.S. Economics and Business will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty, researchers, experts, and policymakers with a deeper understanding of key components and structures of the U.S. economy.  Using a multidisciplinary approach, the program will explore various topics of socioeconomics; how financial institutions, investors, and businesses interact to support sustainable economic development and growth; and increasingly diverse and equitable employment through institutional regulation, social inclusion strategies, and private and public policies.  Throughout the Institute, participants will engage in a case study involving the fishing industry, which will examine the interplay of climate change, U.S. business innovation, corporate regulation, entrepreneurship, and economic theory.  Participants will have opportunities to learn about key institutions and stakeholders in the U.S. economy and meet with a diverse range of business leaders and small business owners, among others.  A symposium where scholars will present their own research and scholarly practices will allow for robust discussion and an exchange of diverse perspectives.  The Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, MA will conduct and host the Institute in Boston, MA.
  5. The Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of new approaches to U.S. foreign policy and how U.S. foreign policy is formulated and implemented.  The Institute will include a historical review of significant events, individuals, and philosophies that have shaped U.S. foreign policy.  The Institute will explain the role of key influences on U.S. foreign policy including the executive and legislative branches of government, the media, the U.S. public, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral institutions.  The program will also examine the current U.S. foreign policymaking landscape and recent trends that are shaping policy.  The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer this program; the University of Delaware will conduct and host the Institute in Newark, DE.
  6. The Institute on Workforce Development will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of how recent socioeconomic trends have changed the concept of work, workforce development, and career paths in the United States.  The academic program will include a thorough discussion of the role of U.S. educational institutions, particularly community colleges, in preparing Americans with the skills needed to succeed in multiple industries including business, technology, science, the creative arts, and emerging fields.  The Institute will offer opportunities for participants to research new ideas, in conjunction with American peers, to better understand the evolution of work, the changing demand for skills, and the advancements in workforce development through retraining and reskilling.  The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will conduct and host this Institute.

Program Funding
Through awards given to the Institute of Training and Development (ITD) and the University of Montana (UM), ECA will cover all participant costs, including program administration; travel allowances, domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence, as well as arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowances within set limits and in coordination with posts and Fulbright commissions.  If the program is conducted virtually, ECA will work with ITD and UM to provide a technology stipend to all 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, scholars 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.

Travel Arrangements
For all Institutes, the implementing partner (ITD or UM) will arrange and pay for international and visa travel.  The host institution will provide each participant with a $100 travel allowance.  In all Institutes, the host institutions will cover any travel within the United States during the Institute.

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.

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, ITD and 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.

Program Requirements and Restrictions
All participants are expected to participate fully in the program.  There will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.  The Institute is not a research program.  Participants must attend all lectures and organized activities and complete assigned readings.  Family members and/or friends may not accompany participants on any part of the program.  Please note that the Institute curriculum will not formally address teaching methodology and pedagogical methods.

Candidate Qualifications
Studies of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars are highly competitive.  Priority will be given to candidates who have firm plans to enhance, update or develop courses and/or educational materials with 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 program subject areas as demonstrated through past scholarship, accomplishments, and professional duties.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly motivated, experienced scholars and professionals generally from institutions of higher education or research-focused organizations (not-for-profits, think tanks, etc.).  While the educational level of participants will likely vary, most should have graduate degrees and have substantial knowledge of the thematic area of the Institute or a related field.

Ideal candidates are individuals whose home institution is seeking to introduce aspects of U.S. studies into its curricula, to develop new courses in the subject of the Institute, to enhance and update existing courses on the United States, or to offer specialized seminars/workshops for professionals in U.S. studies areas related to the program theme.  While the nominee’s scholarly and professional credentials are an important consideration, the potential impact and multiplier effect of the Institute is equally important.  Ideal candidates will have little or no prior experience in the United States.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • A nominee has been to the U.S. before; would he/she be disqualified? No. Nominees with some experience in the United States can be considered for the program.  Please be sure to clearly indicate the purpose of the nominee’s prior visit(s) to the United States, the year, and the length of his/her stay.
  • 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.
  • A nominee is not a college professor; can he/she be considered for the program? Yes. ECA will consider nominees from a variety of professional backgrounds who are professors at all stages of their careers, practitioners in a designated field, college and university administrators, and community leaders, among others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If a nominee is chosen as an alternate, what are the chances that he/she will participate in the program?  The Study of the U.S. Branch strives to have the best possible diversity and gender balance in each Institute. If a selected candidate is not able to participate, the Study of the U.S. Branch will choose a candidate from the alternate list, if time allows.
  • Can a participant arrive early/late for the Institute? Participants should arrive on the Institute start date.  Occasionally flight schedules necessitate that a participant to arrive a day early.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the program officer and the host institution.
  • Can a participant stay after the end of the Institute? Yes.  Under the terms of their J-1 visas, participants have up to 30 days after the end of the program to depart from the U.S.  However, the participant must be aware that s/he is responsible for all 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.  All participating scholars will receive a stipend to purchase books and research materials while in the U.S. as well as a certain amount to cover mailing costs.
  • 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.