2023 Study of the U.S. Institute for Secondary Educators
Call for Applications
The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is now accepting applications for the 2023 Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Secondary Educators. The institutes will take place over the course of five weeks beginning in June 2023; exact dates will be communicated in spring 2023. Each Institute includes a four-week academic residency component and a one-week integrated study tour to another region of the United States. The current plan is for the program to take place in-person at a U.S. academic institution. Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the programs will pivot to a modified virtual format. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the program website page to obtain general information about the Institutes. The website address is: Study of the U.S. Institutes | Exchange Programs (state.gov)
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators (SUSIs) are intensive post-graduate level academic programs whose purpose 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.
The Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators (SUSIs) 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. The Institutes focus on providing 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. Two candidates from Bulgaria (Bulgarian nationals) will be selected and nominated to compete for a slot on the institute for secondary educators and the institute for administrators. Selection at the international level is not guaranteed.
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. The program features curriculum based on the study of how America’s foundations and historical development have shaped and continue to inform U.S. politics, economics, and society. 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.
Program Requirements and Restrictions: All participants are expected to participate fully in the program. Candidates should be 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, 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.
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. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE policy.
Expectations: Violations of program rules, U.S. host institution rules, or U.S. local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
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.
CANDIDATE DESCRIPTION AND QUALIFICATIONS:
Study of the U.S. Institutes for Secondary Educators 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.
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 candidate’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.
One candidate will be nominated for each institute to compete for a slot at the international level. Nomination by Embassy Sofia does not guarantee selection and acceptance into the program.
The Embassy will consider applications by Bulgarian nationals only.
In order to apply, please submit your completed application form and the personal statement in English by October 31, 2022 via e-mail to: SofiaEducationPrograms@state.gov
In the subject line, please insert the name of the institute for which you are applying (SUSI for secondary educators or administrators).
Only short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview. Interviews will be held in December, 2022.
Application form available in the Additional Resources Section (top right of this page).