UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY
Summer Institutes in American Studies for Foreign University Teachers
NOTICE: Request for Proposals (RFP)
SUMMARY: The Study of the U.S. Branch, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces an open competition for three (3) assistance awards. For applicants' information, on October 1, 1999, the Bureau will become part of the U.S. Department of State without affecting the content of this announcement or the nature of the program described. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(C) may apply to develop and implement one of the following three post-graduate level American Studies programs designed for multinational groups of 18 experienced foreign university faculty:
Programs are six weeks in length and will be conducted during the Summer of 2000.
The Bureau is seeking detailed proposals from colleges, universities, consortia of colleges and universities, and other not-for-profit academic organizations that have an established reputation in one or more of the following fields: political science, international relations, law, history, sociology, literature, American studies, and/or other disciplines or sub-disciplines related to the program theme. Applicant institutions must demonstrate expertise in conducting post-graduate programs for foreign educators, and must have a minimum of four years experience in conducting international exchange programs. The project director or one of the key program staff responsible for the academic program must have an advanced degree in one of the fields listed above. Staff escorts traveling under the cooperative agreement must have demonstrated qualifications for this service.
Programs must conform with Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the Solicitation Package. Bureau programs are subject to the availability of funds.
Overview and Objectives: The "Summer Institutes in American Studies" are intended to offer foreign scholars and teachers whose professional work focuses on the United States the opportunity to deepen their understanding of American institutions and culture. Their ultimate goal is to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the U.S. in universities abroad.
Programs should be six weeks in length, and must include an academic residency segment of at least four weeks duration at a U.S. college or university campus (or other appropriate location). A study tour segment of not more than two weeks should also be planned. It must directly complement the academic residency segment and should include visits to one or two additional regions of the United States.
All institutes should be designed as intensive, academically rigorous seminars intended for an experienced group of fellow scholars from outside the United States. The institutes should be organized through an integrated series of lectures, readings, seminar discussions, regional travel, site visits, and should also include some opportunity for limited but well-directed independent research.
Institutions submitting proposals are encouraged to design thematically coherent programs in ways that draw upon the particular strengths and resources of their institutions as well as upon the nationally recognized expertise of scholars and other experts throughout the United States. Within the limits of the programís thematic focus and organizing framework, proposals should also be designed to:
program outside the United States in terms of both content and organization. This aspect of the proposal should present a variety of curricular models that can be employed to study the United States, ranging from traditional disciplinary approaches to the study of the U.S., to interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches, to foreign area studies models. The best proposals will offer a program that in its overall design and scope is itself a model of how to pursue interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary scholarly investigation into American life and institutions, past and present.
Program Dates: Ideally, the program will begin in mid to late June. The Bureau is willing to consider other dates, based on the needs of the host institution. However, the institute must be 42 program days in length and must take place sometime between June 1 and August 27, 2000.
Participants: Programs should be designed for a total of 18 highly-motivated and experienced foreign university faculty who are interested in participating in an intensive seminar on aspects of U.S. civilization as a means to develop or improve courses and teaching about the United States at their home institutions. Most participants can be expected to come from educational institutions where the study of the
U.S. is relatively well-developed. Thus, while they may not have in-depth knowledge of the particular institute program theme, most will have had some experience in teaching about the United States. Many will have had sustained professional contact with American scholars and American scholarship, and some may have had substantial prior experience studying in the U.S. Participants will be drawn from all regions of the world and will be fluent in English.
Participants will be nominated by Fulbright Commissions and by U.S. Embassies abroad. Nominations will be reviewed by the Study of the U.S. Branch. Final selection of grantees will be made by the Fulbright Scholarship Board.
Program Guidelines: While the conception and structure of the institute program is the responsibility of the organizers, it is critically important that proposals provide a full, detailed and comprehensive narrative describing the objectives of the institute, the subject of each session, and how each individual session relates to the overall institute theme. The syllabus must therefore indicate the subject matter for each lecture or panel discussion, confirm or provisionally identify proposed lecturers and discussants, and clearly show how assigned
readings will support each session. A calendar of all activities for the program must also be included. Overall, proposals will be reviewed on the basis of their fullness, coherence, clarity, and attention to detail.
Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to the Solicitation Package for further details on program design and implementation, as well as additional information on all other requirements.
BUDGET GUIDELINES: Unless special circumstances warrant, based on a group of 18 participants, the total Bureau-funded budget (program and administrative) should not exceed $172,000, and Bureau-funded administrative costs as defined in the budget details section of the solicitation package should not exceed $51,000. Justifications for any costs above these amounts must be clearly indicated in the proposal submission. Any grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000. Applicant proposals should try to maximize cost-sharing in all facets of the program and to stimulate U.S. private sector, including foundation and corporate, support. Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program, and availability of U.S. government funding.
Please refer to the "POGI" in the Solicitation Package for complete institute budget guidelines and formatting instructions.
ANNOUNCEMENT NAME AND NUMBER: All communications with the Bureau concerning this announcement should refer to the following titles and reference numbers:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: To request a Solicitation Package containing more detailed award criteria, required application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation, applicants should contact:
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Office of Academic Exchange Programs
Study of the U.S. Branch
E/AES - Room 252
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
Attention: Richard Taylor
Telephone number: (202) 619-4557
Fax number: (202) 619-6790
Internet address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please specify Senior Program Officer Richard Taylor on all inquiries and correspondence. Interested applicants should read the complete Federal Register announcement before addressing inquiries to the office listed above or submitting their proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition in any way with applicants until after the proposal review process has been completed.
TO DOWNLOAD A SOLICITATION PACKAGE VIA INTERNET:
The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureauís website at http://e.usia.gov/education/rfps/. Please read all information before downloading.
DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs by 5:00 p.m. Washington D.C. time on Friday, January 14, 2000. Faxed documents will not be accepted, nor will documents postmarked January 14, 2000 but received at a later date. It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that proposal submissions arrive by the deadline.
SUBMISSIONS: Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and 13 copies of the complete application should be sent to:
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Reference: (insert appropriate reference number from above,
Program Management Staff, ECA/EX/PM, Room 336
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547
Applicants should also submit the "Executive Summary" and "Proposal Narrative" sections of the proposal on a 3.5" diskette, formatted for DOS. This material must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) format with a maximum line length of 65 characters.
DIVERSITY, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY GUIDELINES:
Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. "Diversity" should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the "Support for Diversity" section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that "in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy," USIA "shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries." Proposals should reflect advancement of this goal in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.
YEAR 2000 COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENT (Y2K REQUIREMENT):
The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing information in accordance with Federal management and program-specific requirements, including data exchange with the Bureau. The inability to process information in accordance with Federal requirements could result in grant recipients being required to return funds that have not been accounted for properly.
The Bureau therefore requires that all organizations use Y2K compliant systems, including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must accurately process data and dates(calculating, comparing and sequencing) both before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and correctly adjust for leap years.
Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.
REVIEW PROCESS: The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office. Eligible proposals will then be forwarded to panels of senior Bureau officers for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Office of the Legal Advisor or by other Bureau elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of Stateís Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureauís Grants Officer.
REVIEW CRITERIA: Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. Particular weight will be given to items one and two.
Program elements should be coherently and thoughtfully integrated. Lectures, panels, field visits and readings, taken as a whole, should offer a balanced presentation of issues, reflecting both the continuity of the American experience as well as the diversity and dynamism inherent in it.
NOTICE: The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.
NOTIFICATION: Final awards cannot be made
until funds have been appropriated by Congress, and allocated and committed
through internal Bureau procedures.