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Visiting Scholar Program

The Strategic Plan of Western Illinois University has as one of its goals “To attract, recruit, retain and develop an excellent faculty representative of the diverse and global society” and has as a sub-goal to “Develop strategies to increase the recruitment and retention of faculty from targeted underrepresented groups.”

Macer lectures before an example of a script.

Guest lecturer Monica Macer, sister of African American Studies professor Nancy Kwang Johnson, formerly a writer for the FOX TV show "Prison Break"

The Visiting Scholars’ Program is intended to help us meet this goal by developing relationships with scholars from targeted groups while they are in graduate school. We hope to create a mechanism for them to be able to make an informed decision about the climate and culture at Western Illinois University, in the hope that they will seriously consider becoming part of the faculty here, if the opportunity arises. We will do this by bringing them onto campus one or more times for two to seven days. During the visit, the Scholar will present a colloquium to the home department and will guest lecture in one or more classes. He or she will share meals and other social events with students and staff in the department and others in the greater university and in the community.

Visiting Scholars would be recruited through introductory visits to campuses that have a large percentage of ethnic minority graduate students, and from recruiting materials and contacts via emails, websites, and paper mailings.

The program would require financial support to cover the Scholar’s travel expenses and the department’s expenditures. The hosting department, the College, and the Affirmative Action Office will share the costs.

The University could also provide small amenities/rewards/bonus like a WIU sweatshirt, an interview for a press release, a photograph with the department to be featured on the web site, and a pass to the Recreation Center for the duration of the visit.

Prior to applying, the department, through a targeted recruitment effort in conjunction with peers and administrators at targeted institutions, should identify a potential scholar, and determine that the person is interested in becoming a faculty member at a comprehensive university.

In order for the department to be eligible, the identified graduate student must be a member of an underrepresented group that is underrepresented in the department that is making the application.

Letters of application should address the following and should be submitted no later than September 15 of each year:

  • What is the current state of the department in terms of underrepresented groups?
  • If one day hired as faculty, how would the graduate student help the department to “develop an excellent faculty representative of the diverse and global society”?
  • If the graduate student were hired into the department, how would his or her area of specialization meet department needs and/or address department goals?
  • What has been the extent of contact with the graduate student to date? How do you know he or she is interested in working at a comprehensive university?
  • Describe, in detail, a probably itinerary for the visit and a projected budget.

When planning dates for campus visits, departments should take into consideration the availability of hotel rooms for those dates. For example, hotels are often booked well in advance for Family Weekend.