Billing Code: 8230-01

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:

  1. Summer Institute on the U.S. Political System: Origin, Structure and Contemporary Issues
  2. Summer Institute on the Cultural Geography of the United States: American Regions
  3. Summer Institute on the United States Through Literature: Content and Method in American Studies
These programs are intended to provide participants with a deeper understanding of American life and institutions, past and present, in order to strengthen curricula and to improve the quality of teaching about the United States at universities abroad.

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.

PROGRAM INFORMATION:

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:

  1. provide participants with a survey of contemporary scholarship within the instituteís governing academic discipline, delineating the current scholarly debate within the field. In this regard, the seminar should indicate how prevailing academic practice in the discipline represents both a continuation of and a departure from past scholarly trends and practices. A variety of scholarly viewpoints should be included;
  2. bring an interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary focus to bear on the program content when appropriate;
  3. give participants a multi-dimensional view of U.S. society and institutions that includes a broad and balanced range of perspectives. Programs should include the views not only of scholars, cultural critics and public intellectuals, but also those of other professionals outside the university such as government officials, journalists and others who can substantively contribute to the topics at issue; and,
  4. insure access to library and material resources that will enable grantees to continue their research, study and curriculum development upon returning to their home institutions.
Program Description:
  1. The U.S. Political System: Origin, Structure and Contemporary Issues
This institute seeks to provide grantees with an overview of the U.S. political system--its Constitutional roots, its Federal structure, the role of political parties, media, and public opinion--and, at the same time, to demonstrate how the institutions of the American government at the local, state and national levels address particular political and social issues confronting Americans at the beginning of the 21st century. The program thus aims to provide a seminar on both the structure and organization of the American political system and how that system responds to and, in turn, is influenced by the shifting social currents in contemporary American life. Issues that relate to contemporary debates in such areas as the competing roles of Federal, state and local government, voting and electoral reform issues, urban and regional development, race relations, immigration, multi-culturalism and ethnicity, the environment, crime, and education represent some of the areas that would be suitable topics for investigation. The strongest proposals will be imaginatively integrated in such a way that the structure of the American political system and the contemporary debates within American society serve to illuminate each other, thus providing insights into the nature of American institutions and values, broadly defined. 2. The Cultural Geography of the United States: American Regions This institute seeks to acquaint foreign scholars with the diversity of the American landscape and the complexity of American society and culture through the lens of cultural geography. The programís aim is to examine at least three separate and distinct regions of the United States with reference to each regionís respective history and culture, political experience, economic development, social and ethnic composition, artistic and literary heritage. An overriding purpose of the program will be to explore how particular geographic regions of the United States are representative of the national experience, taken as a whole, and, at the same time, how they reflect a separate and distinct identity that differs from the whole in significant ways. For each region, the program should thus explore the competing claims of regional and national identity through an approach that provides a balance between contemporary issues and their historical antecedents; and it should do so through a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Overall, proposals should offer a scholarly program whose various elements serve to give participants an understanding of the complexity, the unity, and the diversity of the American experience. 3. The United States Through Literature: Content and Method in American Studies This program on the literature, history and society of the United States is designed to assist faculty from overseas colleges and universities who are seeking to establish or enhance programs that focus on American literature and civilization at their home institutions. Some grantees will have limited experience in the teaching of U.S. subjects. Because most participants will come from departments of language and literature, the institute should explore themes in American civilization using literature and literary studies as the primary disciplinary vehicle. At the same time, the programís literary focus should be sufficiently interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary in scope to allow grantees to explore broad themes in the history, society and culture of the United States. Primary works of literature should thus be supplemented not only by background readings in literary history and criticism, but also by the writings of historians, political scientists, and sociologists, as they relate to the overarching themes of the program. While the broad sweep of the U.S. experience should be considered, proportionately more time should be given to 20th century literature, including contemporary writers. Finally, proposals should address curricular issues of how overseas institutions might choose to organize an American studies

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:

  1. Summer Institute on the U.S. Political System: Origin, Structure and Contemporary Issues
  2.   (E/AES-00-01-Dardeli)
  3. Summer Institute on the Cultural Geography of the United States: American Regions
  4. (E/AES-00-02-Dardeli)
  5. Summer Institute on the United States Through Literature: Content and Method in American Studies(E/AES-00-03-Taylor)
     

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: rtaylor@usia.gov.

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,
e.g. E/AES-00-xx-xxxxxx)
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.

  1. Overall Quality: Proposals should exhibit originality and substance, consonant with the highest standards of American teaching and scholarship. Program design should reflect the main currents as well as the debates within the subject discipline of each institute.

  2. 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.

  3. Program Planning and Administration: Proposals should demonstrate careful planning. The organization and structure of the institute should be clearly delineated and be fully responsive to all program objectives. A program syllabus (noting specific sessions and topical readings supporting each academic unit) should be included, as should a calendar of activities. The travel component should not simply be a tour, but should be an integral and substantive part of the program, reinforcing and complementing the academic segment. Proposals should provide evidence of continuous administrative and managerial capacity as well as the means by which program activities and logistical matters will be implemented.
  4. Institutional Capacity: Proposed personnel, including faculty and administrative staff as well as outside presenters, should be fully qualified to achieve the project's goals. Library and meeting facilities, housing, meals, transportation and other logistical arrangements should fully meet the needs of the participants.
  5. Support for Diversity: Substantive support of the bureauís policy on diversity should be demonstrated. This can be accomplished through documentation, such as a written statement, summarizing past and/or on-going activities and efforts that further the principle of diversity within the organization and its activities. Program activities that address this issue should be highlighted.
  6. Experience: Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange program activity, indicating the experience that the organization and its professional staff have had in working with foreign educators.
  7. Evaluation and Follow-up: A plan for evaluating activities during the Institute and at its conclusion should be included. Proposals should discuss provisions made for follow-up with returned grantees as a means of establishing longer-term individual and institutional linkages.
  8. Cost Effectiveness: Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through direct institutional contributions, in-kind support, and other private sector support. Overhead and administrative components, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible.
AUTHORITY: Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is "to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries...; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations....and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world."

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.
 
 
 
 

On October 1, 1999, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will become part of the
U.S. Department of State. Bureau webpages are being updated accordingly. Thank you for your patience.