Study of the United States Institutions Program (SUSI)

Invitation to Apply for Summer 2022 Study of the U.S. Institute in Civic Engagement

 

Application form: here. The deadline for candidate nominations to be received at the U.S. Embassy Tallinn is January 10, 2022 at susij@state.gov 

Successful applicants will be contacted after January 15, 2022

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: 

Study of the U.S. Institutes” (SUSI) for Student Leaders 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 in July-August 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 20 participants and will include a four-week academic residency component and a one week integrated study tour. During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom. 

INSTITUTE DESCRIPTION: 

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement, hosted by Michigan State University, 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.  In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes such as civil rights and protections, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), citizen journalism, social movements, education, governance, minority communities, leadership, and media.  Academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institute will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.  Academic activities will be supplemented with a study tour to Seattle, Washington.  Should conditions allow, the SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe will begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C., bringing together participants in all three Institutes for networking, foundational leadership skills development, and exploring relevant topics from multi-regional perspectives.

OTHER ESSENTIAL PROGRAM INFORMATION: 

  • All participant costs will be covered, including: program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.
  • Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in university dorms.  Participants may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender.  Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.  It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations.
  • Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program.  Pre-existing conditions are not covered.  Information on the health benefit program may be found online at usdos.sevencorners.com.
  • Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings.  Candidates should be made aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
  • Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date.  Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with the program officer and the host institution. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
  • Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions are clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.
  • English Language Ability: All candidates should be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of students may vary, and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.
     
    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.  Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.  We are looking for participants from variety of backgrounds, from both rural and urban areas, and with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country.

Candidates applying for this program will:

  • be Estonian citizens
  • 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 their home country;
  • 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 2022 by the U.S. Embassy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
 1.      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.
2.      Can a participant 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.
3.     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.
 4.      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.
 5.      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.
 6.      Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Study of the U.S. Institutes are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.
8.  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.
9.  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.

 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 would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Participants would be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.

NOMINATION FORMAT: 
NOTE: Although you are asked to apply to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, the final decision on placement of successful candidates will be made by the Study of the U.S. Branch.
The nomination form also includes candidate essays that are extremely important in the selection process.  Please use the FORM and send it to the U.S. Embassy, Jane Susi, SusiJ@state.gov by January 10, 2022. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

 

Deadline – January 24, 2022 via e-mail to VitsutT@state.gov 

Application Form

PROGRAM OVERVIEW: 

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Secondary Educators are intensive five-week post-graduate level academic programs with integrated study tours in Summer 2022. The purpose of SUSI 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. Applicants are encouraged to visit our website page to obtain general information about the Institutes.  The address is: http://exchanges.state.gov/susi.

Exact dates for the programs will be determined later.  The Institutes will be conducted as traditional in-person programs at U.S. host institutions.  Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the programs will pivot to a modified virtual format.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: 

The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators 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.

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.
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.

The focus of the Institutes will be on supplying content and materials for participants to develop high school level curricula about the United States.  Two of the Institutes are tailored for secondary school teachers. Please note that the Institutes for Teachers focus on content and materials about the United States rather than teaching methods and pedagogy.  The third Institute is tailored for experienced administrators including teacher trainers, curriculum developers, textbook writers, ministry of education officials, and others. 

The University of Montana in Missoula, MT will oversee and administer all three SUSIs for Secondary Educators and will conduct one Institute for teachers which will explore American studies through the lens of democracy and citizenship.
The Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Massachusetts will conduct the second Institute for teachers which will explore the ways in which individual rights and social obligations have evolved through American history.
California State University at Chico will conduct the Institute for Administrators and will focus on sociocultural understanding, equitable learning communities, and diversity and inclusion in U.S. education and society.

Placements will be assigned by program organizers.  All three Institutes will conclude with one-week study tour that end in Washington, D.C.  The program will offer multiple opportunities for follow-on engagement through alumni webinars, grant-funded follow-on projects, social media, and an alumni workshop.

OTHER ESSENTIAL PROGRAM INFORMATION: 

Program Funding: All participant costs will be covered, including program administration; 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 UM to provide a technology stipend to participants.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: All participants are expected to participate fully in the program.  Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive program and 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 Institute curriculum will not formally address teaching methodology and pedagogical methods.  If the program is conducted virtually, the same participation requirements apply.
English Language Ability:  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of participants may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for participants whose English is their second or third language.
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.

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.

Travel Arrangements: For all Institutes, the implementing partner (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, that 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 benefit 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 location 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: 

– Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators are highly competitive.  To confirm suitability for the program as well as the required English fluency, an American officer at the U.S. Embassy or consulate should interview the proposed nominee before submitting the nomination.

– 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 secondary school teachers and administrators.

– 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 educational and professional credentials are an important consideration, the potential impact and multiplier effect from their participation in the Institute is equally important.  Ideal candidates will have little or no prior experience living or visiting in the United States.

– As noted above, candidates must demonstrate English language fluency.  Institutes are rigorous and demanding academic programs conducted entirely in English.  Participants will be expected to read and comprehend substantial written materials and assignments in English and to participate in all seminar and panel discussions fully and actively.  English fluency is vital to a successful experience in the Institute, for participants as individuals and to foster a cohesive and interactive group.

– Candidates should be willing and able to fully take part in an intensive post-graduate level academic program.  It is important that posts and commissions nominate individuals who are likely to be comfortable with campus life and an active program schedule. While senior and entry-level educators are eligible applicants, mid-career professionals with little or no prior experience in the United States will be given first consideration.

– U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible for these programs.