SUSI

Study of the United States Institutes

Study of the United States Institutes are intensive post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty, other scholars, and secondary educators (classroom teachers, teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of educations officials, etc.)  the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American society, culture, and institutions. The ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

The institutes will take place at various colleges and universities throughout the United States over the course of 5-6 weeks beginning in May/June 2017. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website of Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to obtain general information about the program.

Essential Program Information

Program funding: SUSI will cover all participant costs, including: program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, housing and subsistence, mailing, and incidental allowances.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Typically, participants will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion (four weeks) of the institute, and may share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender during the study tour (up to two weeks). 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. Full details will be provided once the grants have been approved.

Health Benefits:All participants will receive the Department of State’s 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 are not covered.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to participate fully in the program. They are expected to attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Family members and/or friends cannot accompany participants on any part of the program. Please note that teaching methodology and pedagogical methods will not be addressed formally in the institute. Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive institute and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. The institute should not be viewed as a research program.

Competition for AY 2017 is closed.

Study of the United States Institutes 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 American society, culture, and institutions. The ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States in academic institutions abroad.

The institutes will take place at various colleges and universities throughout the United States over the course of six weeks beginning in or after June 2017. Each institute includes a four week academic residency component and up to two weeks of an integrated study tour. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to obtain general information about the program.

The U.S. Embassy solicits candidate nominations for six Summer 2017 Study of the United States Institutes for multinational groups of university faculty and other related scholars.

A total of six institutes are offered for university-level faculty:

The Institute on U.S. 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. It will explore the shaping of American identity and the intersection and interplay between that identity and U.S. history and politics. It will cover a broad range of American experiences that have shaped and been shaped by our national identity including, but not limited to, the colonial period, the constitutional founding, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement. The Institute will also use this lens to explore contemporary U.S. political and social debates and public policy, relating them back to the formation and development of U.S. political thought and American identity. This Institute is currently being openly competed; the recipient will be known in April 2017.

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 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 American 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 American 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. This Institute is currently being openly competed; the recipient will be known in April 2017.

The Institute on Journalism and Media will provide a multinational group of 18 journalism instructors and other related specialists with a deeper understanding of the role of journalism and the media in U.S. society. It will examine the rights and responsibilities of the media in a democratic society, including editorial independence, journalistic ethics, legal constraints, international journalisms, and media business models. The Institute will examine pedagogical strategies for teaching students of journalism the basics of the tradecraft: researching, reporting, writing, and editing. The program will also highlight technology’s impact on journalism, addressing the influence of the Internet, the globalization of the news media, the growth of satellite television and radio networks, and other changes in media that are transforming the profession. Pending ECA’s grant competition, the institute will take place at Ohio University.

The Institute on Religious Pluralism in the United States 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, drawing on fields such as history, political science, sociology, anthropology, law and others, the program will explore both the historical and contemporary relationship between church and state in the United States. Participants will examine the following aspects of religious pluralism in the United States: the ways in which religious thought and practice have influenced, and been influenced by, the development of American-style democracy; the intersections of religion and politics in the United States in such areas as elections, public policy, and foreign policy; and the sociology and demography of religion in the United States today, including a survey of the diversity of contemporary religious beliefs and its impact on American politics. This Institute is currently being openly competed; the recipient will be known in April 2017.

The Institute on U.S. Culture and Society 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 themselves in U.S. society, and the ways in which these cultures have influenced both 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 U.S. culture and society. Pending ECA’s grant approval, the Institute will take place at New York University.

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 how contemporary 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. Pending ECA grant approval, the Institute will be hosted by Bard College in New York.

Competition for AY 2017 is closed.

The Study of the United States Institutes for Secondary School Educators will provide one multinational group of 20 experienced secondary school teachers with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, education, and culture, past and present. The focus of the Institute will be on providing content and materials for participants to develop high school level curricula about the United States. Please note that the main focus of the Institute for teachers is on content and materials about the United States rather than teaching methods and pedagogy. To this end, the Institute is organized around a central theme or themes in U.S. civilization. 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 program will also serve to illuminate contemporary political, social, and economic debates in American society. The four week academic residency will be complemented by a one week of study tour. The aim of the study tour is to showcase the cultural, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the United States. Pending ECA grant approval, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will host the Institute for 20 teachers beginning in June 2017.

Application deadline for Summer 2017 has expired.

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders from Europe are intensive short term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. SUSI programs are five-week Institutes that consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community. Each Institute will have up to 22 participants and will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic study tour of approximately one week. During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.

The U.S. Embassy solicits candidate nominations for two summer 2017 Study of the United States Institutes for students interested in the topics of Europe on Civic Engagement and Environmental Issues.

INSTITUTE DESCRIPTIONS:

The Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders from Europe on Civic Engagement will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups. The academic program will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism. Other topics such as civil rights, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed. Students will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and not-for-profit organizations working in the field. The Institute will then conclude with a visit to Washington, D.C. The Institute on Civic Engagement will be hosted by the University of South Carolina, pending the availability of funds and ECA award approval.

The Study of the U.S. Institute for European Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship will examine social entrepreneurship in the United States, including the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. social enterprises. The program will be interactive and experiential, and will combine classroom instruction with panel discussions, business visits, and volunteer opportunities. The Institute will give participants a foundation in how to employ entrepreneurial skills to address social issues and will provide opportunities to meet with American local community leaders. The Institute may address topics such as business ethics, negotiations, emerging markets and risk analysis, microfinance, corporate social responsibility, strategic business planning and innovation, and women and minorities in entrepreneurship. The academy residency will be completed by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and not-for-profit organizations working in the field. The Institute will then conclude with a visit to Washington, D.C. The Institute on Social Entrepreneurship will be hosted by the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, pending the availability of funds and ECA award approval.

CANDIDATE DESCRIPTION AND QUALIFICATIONS:

The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. The fields of study may vary, and include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields. Preference will be given to candidates with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside Latvia.

Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • be proficient in English;
  • be interested in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Latvia;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel; and,
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.
OTHER FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION:

The selection of candidates is on a competitive basis and participation is not guaranteed. The Study of the U.S. Branch will make the final selections.

Applicants will be notified regarding selection or non-selection of candidates by late April 2017 by the U.S. Embassy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
  • What degree of English proficiency should a participant 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 participant who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes? No. S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
  • How much free time will a participant have during the program? There will be some free time during the program.  However, nominees MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
  • If a participant has relatives in the U.S., would he/she have time to see them? Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.  Occasionally it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits.  These situations will be addressed on a case by case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.
  • Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the U.S. Institute are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program.  These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the institute. Participants must also return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
  • Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Studies of the U.S. Institutes are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.
  • Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute?   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 basic 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, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute.  Other than the meal stipend mentioned above, participants should not expect to receive any spending money from 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.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly-motivated and experienced professionals from institutions of higher education. 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.

The ideal candidate will also be an experienced professional with little or no prior experience in the United States, 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. In this respect, while the nominee’s scholarly and professional credentials are an important consideration, an equally important factor is how participation in the institute will enhance course offerings in U.S. studies at the nominee’s home institution.

Candidates should be willing and able to fully take part in an intensive post-graduate level academic program and study tour, and to be comfortable with campus life and an active program schedule.

Other Factors for Consideration

Institutional Justification: The justification statement is a critical portion of the nomination, as it offers the opportunity to provide specific reasons why the participation of a nominee is particularly desirable in terms of enhancing the study of the United States at the home institution, or more broadly, in the home country. For example, would the nomination serve to strengthen an already established faculty, or is it intended to give a boost to a fledgling program? Is the nominee a leader within his or her field who is in a unique position to have a significant and immediate impact on curricular development?

Institutions are strongly encouraged to describe the role that the nominee’s home institution plays. Why, in short, does the nomination matter? The justification statement need not be especially lengthy, but it should address these and other relevant issues noted in application form paragraph S.

Candidate Statement: In order to get a better sense of potential participants’ motivations and goals, each candidate must provide a short personal statement (one page) indicating why he or she is interested in participating in the program and what he or she expects to get out of the experience.

English Language Ability: It is imperative that all candidates demonstrate English language fluency. Institutes are rigorous and demanding programs; participants will be expected to handle substantial reading assignments in English and to be full and active participants in all seminar and panel discussions. English fluency is vital to a successful experience in the Institute, both for your participant and participants from other countries.

Priority Consideration: 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 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.

Interview: The U.S. Embassy will hold interviews for candidates who are finalists. Please note that ECA will make the final selections of candidates and that this program is highly competitive. Candidates compete not only against others in Latvia but those from other countries, as well.

Please note that the hard-copy applications will not be accepted. All nominations must follow the format which is given (order, size, font, etc.). It is essential that all items are completely accurate.

For further information regarding this program, please contact Ingrīda Bodniece at the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section at +371 6710 7209 or e-mail to: bodniecei@state.gov