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International Guest Scholar Program: Policies and Procedures


The purpose of the SVSU International Guest Scholar Program is to:

  • Provide the opportunity for SVSU to host a faculty or staff member from a college or university located outside the United States for teaching and/or research or other professional activities to be specified in advance and in writing and approved by the SVSU Office of Academic Affairs
  • Enrich the campus academic and social environments of SVSU and the partner institution
  • Contribute to the diversity of instructional personnel, course offerings, and campus life
  • Bring new ideas, insights, approaches, and methods to the classrooms of SVSU
  • Participate in joint research activities
  • Provide SVSU with campus speakers, guest lectures, and other academic activities that would otherwise not be available
  • Introduce new academic materials to SVSU, such as print media (books, journals, monographs) prepared by scholars representing the involved institutions and countries

The Provost/VPAA may approve exceptions to any clause in this policy and in the addendum.

The SVSU International Guest Scholar Policy is to be distinguished as separate from standing international faculty exchange contracts and from Fulbright Scholar policies. Each exchange policy stands on its own based on the particular formal agreements between SVSU and the involved foreign university.

Provisions for International Guest Scholar Program

1. The International Guest Scholar arrangement shall be established on a case-by-case basis for a specified time period, subject to the approval by the SVSU Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). Past arrangements have ranged from a few weeks to a full academic year. Such arrangements should be made and approved by SVSU at least eight months prior to the planned arrival of the International Guest Scholar. The Provost/VPAA may approve exceptions to this rule.

2. It is the responsibility of the International Guest Scholar to make appropriate formal arrangements with his or her current employer or home college/university, securing permission for a leave of absence to serve as an International Guest Scholar at SVSU.

3. These arrangements are not faculty exchange contracts and do not have to involve simultaneous SVSU outbound faculty to match any inbound International Guest Scholar.

4. For SVSU, any arrangements made by the guest scholar for housing, cars, trips within United States or to neighboring Canada, etc., are to be purely private arrangements which does not obligate SVSU or any of its officials unless such arrangements are agreed to in advance (prior to the International Guest Scholar's arrival at SVSU) and in writing by SVSU officials.

5. Each International Guest Scholar inbound to SVSU must provide his/her own transportation to/from the port-of-entry and to/from SVSU, unless otherwise formally arranged by the SVSU Administration and agreed to in advance and in writing. Likewise, the following expenses shall also be borne by each participant: daily living expenses, passport and visa expenses, excess baggage shipment and storage, car rental, mail forwarding services, independent travel, and all personal expenses, such as telephone charges, books, clothing and expenses for visiting family members, unless formally agreed to by SVSU in advance and in writing.

6. Guest Scholar on-campus housing and possible family living arrangements (e.g., spouse) shall be coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs, which will also help in the general orientation of the Guest Scholar upon arrival on campus.

7. Any employee of SVSU may initially and informally (unofficially) communicate with faculty of institutions in other countries to explore possible interest in participation in the Guest Scholar Program. However, all final decisions and formal arrangements shall be established and supervised by the Office of Academic Affairs in coordination with the Office of International Programs, subject to final approval by the Provost/VPAA for Academic Affairs.

8. The letter of invitation must be issued by the Office of Academic Affairs and no International Guest Scholar agreement shall be considered official without the issuance of this letter signed by the Provost/VPAA. If the proposal includes suggested teaching assignments, the proposals must include provisions for conferring with the relevant Department Chair and Dean in writing to establish need and to address the details of these assignments before the request reaches the Office of Academic Affairs.

9. SVSU reserves the right to require letters of reference (hard copy or e-mail) and/or verbal phone references from officials of the prospective International Guest Scholar's current employer or home college/university.

10. Travel arrangements for SVSU incoming International Guest Scholars are governed and funded by the Office of Academic Affairs in consultation with the Dean's Office of the college in which the Guest Scholar will be working. The Office of Academic Affairs will first mail the Scholar a formal letter of invitation that is returned to the Provost/VPAA with the Scholar's signature, indicating that she or he accepts the invitation. The Scholar will then be asked to make his or her own travel arrangements and the Provost/VPAA must approve the cost of airfare prior to the Scholar purchasing a single coach airfare ticket. Upon arrival at the SVSU campus, the Scholar will submit the ticket receipts and/or appropriate paperwork to the Office of Academic Affairs for reimbursement (exceptions to this clause include the Shikoku University-SVSU exchange arrangement and Fulbright-related travel). SVSU does not pay for the travel of any family members accompanying the Guest Scholar. SVSU may pay for the professional travel (e.g., conferences) for the International Guest Scholar during the term of the contract upon request, subject to approval of the Provost/VPAA.

11. If the International Guest Scholar assignment includes teaching at SVSU, he or she should attempt to arrive at SVSU ready to work at least two weeks in advance of the start of the semester.

12. The Provost/VPAA will give preference to scholars who have not visited SVSU previously, though exceptions may be made if the Dean makes a case in writing acceptable to the Provost/VPAA that there is a need in the College for such an exception.

Deans, OIP, and Teaching Institute

1. Deans and academic departments choosing to support and host an International Guest Scholar must plan to:

  • Reserve necessary SVSU office space, office furniture, computer equipment, and supplies
  • Assign the Guest Scholar to the appropriate course(s) if teaching is part of the agreement between the inbound faculty member and the SVSU Office of Academic Affairs
  • Provide a volunteer SVSU Faculty Mentor to work with the International Guest Scholar. The Mentor can provide the Guest with information about the Mid-Michigan region, assist in integrating him or her into the professional culture of the academic Department, College, and University and provide clarification of guidelines in the SVSU Faculty Handbook (syllabi, exams, etc.), among other important assistance.
  • Participate in the planning of various social activities, including receptions, guest lectures, etc. with general expectations of attendance
  • Provide necessary office support, including secretarial assistance, computer and technical support, event and class scheduling, instructional support (ordering textbooks, copying syllabi, etc.)
  • Tend to the necessary Human Resources paperwork to assure that the stipend/salary is paid to the guest or exchange faculty member (along with any applicable benefit provisions) during his or her stay at SVSU

2. The Office of International Programs will:

  • Provide the necessary visa information and application forms to the International Guest Scholar
  • Provide all necessary information to the guest or exchange faculty member dealing with rules, regulations, reporting requirements, rights, and benefits of non-resident aliens in the United States

3. If the International Guest Scholar arrives for teaching duties in late summer for participation in the fall semester, he or she is strongly encouraged to participate in the SVSU Faculty Summer Teaching Institute, with advance approval of the Institute's Director.

Addendum to Policy for International Guest Scholar Program

This Addendum provides protocol for nominating in-bound International Guest Scholars for SVSU. Please note that each in-bound International Guest Scholar usually costs the university between $18,000 and $25,000, so it is important that we engage in substantial advanced planning and inter-office coordination for each approved International Guest Faculty Member.

1. After an SVSU employee indicates that a prospective scholar living and working in a country outside the United States is interested in participating in the SVSU International Guest Faculty Program, the employee prepares a letter written to the Dean that answers the following questions:

  • Does the Guest Scholar (hereinafter referred to as the applicant) possess English language proficiency sufficient to participate actively in educational and other departmental activities without having to take ESL classes at SVSU? If the applicant is planning on taking ESL courses in his or her home institution in preparation for a guest assignment in an English-speaking country, this should be mentioned in this letter.
  • Is the applicant's area of academic and/or professional expertise clearly consistent with the academic priorities of the College as articulated by the Dean's Office? We are also interested in how the applicant's expertise might benefit students, one or more academic department(s), and, if applicable, the local community. Also, discuss the prospective contributions of this applicant in the context of the university mission.
  • Which course(s) is the applicant interested in teaching and is this consistent with a course staffing need in the department? If the proposal suggests teaching assignments for the Guest Scholar, the document must include written input from the Department Chair and Dean specifically pertaining to such teaching. In addition, would the applicant propose a research or scholarship agenda to be pursued during his or her stay at SVSU? If so, please provide some details on this agenda and any resource request (s) that may be necessary to facilitate success in this area. How might the applicant's research-related achievements (while at SVSU) be publicized or disseminated to the academic discipline and campus community?
  • Would the applicant provide campus-wide and college-wide symposia or lectures? If so, what would be the topic(s)? (At least one campus-wide symposium or lecture is expected.)
  • What other plans would this applicant have if this nomination were granted? Would any additional university resources or funds be necessary to support the academic and/or professional activities of this applicant over and above a standard stipend, housing, and an office?

2. The Dean sends a memo to the Provost/VPAA, reiterating the points made in the nomination, emphasizing how the applicant's expertise reflects the academic priorities, needs, and/or goals of the College. The Dean will also indicate in writing how the activities involving the International Guest Scholar will be evaluated to determine if the goals of the visit were met or the priorities of the College advanced.

3. The Provost/VPAA confers with Dean and Academic Affairs staff, and if the nomination is authorized, the official letter of invitation is issued. The Office of Academic Affairs also notifies the Dean to this effect. The Provost/VPAA and staff also make arrangements for housing, contact the SVSU Office of International Programs for assistance with visa arrangements, and make other necessary preparations for the visit.

 4.  The Provost/VPAA prepares the official letter of invitation in consultation with either (or both) the Office of Human Resources and the Controller's Office, both of which may advise on payroll and taxation issues related to the Guest Scholar's visit.  The letter shall contain an itemized list of compensation and benefits which are provided to the Guest Scholar at the discretion of the Provost/VPAA.  These items may include, but not be limited to: airfare from major airport near home institution to Midland-Bay City-Saginaw (MBS), medical insurance, apartment rental, and transportation allowance.  The Provost/VPAA, Office of Human Resources, and Controller's Office are encouraged to review the invitation letter for the appropriate inclusion of language stating the potential level of taxation for all financial compensation and benefits to which the International Guest Scholar may be liable.