Study of the United States Summer Institute for Scholars

2019 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 “2019 SUSI for Scholars” by email to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov. Applications saved in PDF format will not be accepted.

Application deadline: 25 January 2019.

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 2019.  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. American Politics and Political Thought
3. Contemporary American Literature
4. Journalism and Media
5. Religious Freedom and Pluralism
6. U.S. Foreign Policy
7. Youth, Workforce Development, and Closing the Skills Gap.

  1. The Institute on American Culture and Values will promote American culture, leadership, and values by providing a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and other specialists with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, civil society institutions, democratic principles, human rights, and the rule of law. The Institute will examine the concepts of American exceptionalism and American resilience through social, economic, political, and religious contexts in which, historically, various cultures have manifested and shaped contemporary U.S. culture, values, and society. The program will draw from a diverse disciplinary base and should itself provide a model of how a foreign university might approach the study of U.S. culture and values.  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019.

    2. The Institute on American Politics and Political Thought will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty and practitioners insight into how intellectual and political movements have influenced modern American political institutions and a deeper understanding of major currents in U.S. political thought from the colonial period to the present.  Drawing upon the American Political Development approach, the Institute will provide a full and diverse understanding of U.S. political thought and its connection to U.S. politics, public policy, and institutions by linking contemporary issues with historical and social debates.  The Institute will explore particular themes including self-rule and limited government, liberty and freedom, individualism and identity, equality and inequality, and the American Dream.  The Institute will conclude with an integrated two-week study tour to New York City; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Shepherdstown, West Virginia; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

  2. The Institute on Contemporary American Literature will provide a multinational group of up to 18 foreign university faculty and scholars with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of contemporary American (U.S.) literature. Its purpose is twofold: to explore contemporary American writers and writing in a variety of genres, and to suggest how the themes explored in those works reflect larger currents within contemporary U.S. society and culture. The program will explore the diversity of the American literary landscape, examining how major contemporary writers, schools, and movements reflect the traditions of the U.S. literary canon.  At the same time, the program will expose participants to writers who represent a departure from that tradition, and who are establishing new directions for American literature.

    4. 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 roles 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.  Also, 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, the globalization of the news media, and other changes that are transforming the profession.  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019.

    5. The Institute on Religious Freedom and Pluralism will provide a multinational group of up to 18 foreign university faculty and practitioners 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.  Employing a multi-disciplinary approach and drawing on fields such as history, political science, anthropology and sociology, law, and others, the program will explore both the historical and contemporary relationship between religion and state in the United States.  Participants will examine the ways in which religious thought and practice have influenced, and been influenced by the development of American-style democracy. The study will also include a survey of the diversity of contemporary religious beliefs in relation to the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, elections, public policy, and the demography of the United States.  Interfaith dialogue in the American context will be practiced in the context of the group itself as well as site visits to a diversity of religious communities.

  3. 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 players in 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 and the new trends that are shaping policy.  Topics such as the concept of American sovereignty, shifting attitudes towards globalism, U.S. foreign aid, the monitoring of foreign investment in the United States, the efforts to combat terrorism and radicalization, new trade policies and agreements, immigration and border safety, and cybersecurity will be included.  The program will also discuss the reorganization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the new U.S. approaches to international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019.

    7. The Institute on Youth, Workforce Development, and Closing the Skills Gap will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of how new 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 other emerging fields.  Topics such as urbanization, globalization, economic development, and advances in technology such as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence will also be included.  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, reskilling, and closing the skills gap.  The program will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019.

    Program Funding
    All participant costs, including program administration; travel and ground transportation in the United States; housing and subsistence; and book, cultural, mailing, and incidental allowances will be covered.

    Housing and Meal Arrangements
    When possible, each participant will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion (four weeks) of the Institute.  However, private room accommodations are not guaranteed.  During the study tour (up to two weeks), participants will likely share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender.  During the residency, housing will typically be in college or university-owned housing.  Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.  Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Please note that a portion of the program may take place during Ramadan.  While the host institution will make every effort to accommodate participants who are fasting, participants should be made aware of the rigorous nature of the Institute and the expectation that the success of the Institute depends on their full participation.

Health Benefits
All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000, with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions are not covered.  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.  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
Study 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 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 cover all costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals.  Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and a 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.