Skip to Content

Weiser Professional Development Program: FAQs

Who can apply?

Faculty and artists teaching at institutions of higher education in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Russia (Kaliningrad District), Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, the Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan may apply. Applicants should be actively engaged in teaching and must have a current appointment to which they intend to return. Junior and mid-level academics are especially encouraged to apply. All applicants must have earned a terminal degree, either their doctoral diploma or highest professional degree (e.g., M.F.A.) at the time of application.

My country is not listed. Can you add it so I can apply?

No. At this time, we can only consider applications from the countries on the list.

I have a doctorate and conduct research, but I do not teach. Can I apply?

No. This award is intended specifically for faculty development.

What disciplines and/or fields of research are eligible for funding consideration?

Applicants should be teaching in a discipline offered at the University of Michigan. (Past recipients have included artists, engineers, medical doctors, historians, psychologists, and others.)

Is English fluency required?

Applicants should have a good command of speaking, reading, and writing in English. Applicants who have taken the TOEFL in the last three years should attach a copy of their score report. Personal statements, CVs, and letters of recommendation will also be evaluated for indications of English fluency. Per U-M policy, every visiting scholar must demonstrate English proficiency during an interview via Skype (or telephone) prior to arrival in the U.S. If a candidate is found to have insufficient English fluency, he or she will not be awarded a Weiser Professional Development Award and will be encouraged to reapply at a later date.

How long is a research visit?

We offer two options for research visits: 4 weeks or 3 months. Applicants should outline their reasons for requesting the shorter or longer visit in their personal statements. Applicants whose schedule does not allow for at least 4 weeks to visit may wish to postpone their application until a more convenient time.

Do I have to submit a letter of invitation from a U-M school, department, and/or faculty partner at the time of application?

Yes. For all applicants except those working on projects at the University of Michigan Law School, we ask that you locate and approach potential collaborators yourself, using the following guidelines:

Applicants should visit the University of Michigan web site to locate U-M faculty teaching and conducting research on topics related to your own current research interests (umich.edu). Determine whether your research would be enhanced by a visit to the University of Michigan. Then contact the U-M professor(s) that work on the topics that best match your interests. Most departments and schools at U-M list their faculties' email addresses, and we encourage you to use email to inquire about the possibility of an invitation. In your email message, describe the reason for your proposed visit and explain that you are seeking a "letter of invitation" from her/him required for your application for the 2018 Weiser Professional Development Fellowship at U-M's Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia. You should also inquire about the best timing for a visit, indicating whether you prefer to stay for 4 weeks or 3 months. If you do not hear back within two weeks of your initial inquiry, it is appropriate to send a second inquiry.

What is the procedure for finding a faculty partner at the Law School? (New process this year)

Please identify at least two potential faculty partners using the Law School website: law.umich.edu. Then, follow the instructions under "How to Apply" on the this page to submit your request for a Law faculty partner (you will need two letters of recommendation to be considered). Through this process, your proposal will first be vetted at the Law School and if successful, you will receive a letter of invitation to submit with your application for the Weiser Fellowship. Please allow additional time of up to 10 weeks to receive a response from the Law School.

Can I have more than one faculty partner?

Yes, although one faculty partner must be designated as the primary partner.

The University’s website is very large. Can you find me a faculty partner to work with?

It is impossible for our staff to understand our applicants’ various research interests as well as they themselves do. Applicants are encouraged to spend some time searching for the keywords related to their specific project and their field, as identifying the right departments and faculty early on will save everyone time and effort later. If, however, no faculty can be found, or the most promising faculty member declines the request, applicants may contact weiseraward@umich.edu. Please be sure to include a CV and brief project description.

Can I work with faculty at another University of Michigan campus?

Yes. You may ask your potential faculty partner to contact our office if they have questions or logistical concerns.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Prospective awardees will be contacted 4-6 weeks after the application deadline to arrange a brief Skype or telephone interview. Once verified, they will receive an award letter via email shortly thereafter. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted once all awards have been made.

Do I have to get a J-1 visa?

Yes. This is the most appropriate type of visa for short-term scholars. Applying for the correct type of visa will greatly improve your chances of receiving it, and will also make it easier to obtain one in the future. More information about the J-1 visa is available on the University of Michigan International Center website.

Can I bring dependents?

Due to the brevity of the research visit, the complexity of the visa process, and the limitations of campus housing, in general, we cannot accommodate dependents. Applicants with exceptional circumstances should contact the Weiser Center to discuss J-2 eligibility of relatives before applying.

I would prefer to fill out the application by hand. Is this possible?

Yes, we also have a PDF version of the application that you can print and complete by hand.
PDF application for Slovakia | PDF application for other eligible countries

I am a U-M faculty member who has been approached by a potential visiting scholar. What do I have to do?

At minimum, as a faculty partner you need to provide an invitation letter (email is acceptable), and meet with the visiting scholar several times during the course of their visit. Many previous faculty partners have been able to do much more, however, and their generosity with their time, expertise, and resources has enabled our fellows to complete a variety of excellent projects. This is an exchange visit, so the visiting scholar can also share his or her expertise with you, your colleagues, and your students. In addition to consulting on the project, you may assist the visiting scholar in building his or her network of colleagues in the U.S. Additionally, office and laboratory space is at a premium at the University, so your assistance with procuring this, if possible, is invaluable. Please feel free to contact the Weiser Center at weiseraward@umich.edu if you have questions about participating in this program.