I am flattered by the communications I have received over the past couple of years asking for invitation letters to be a visiting scholar under my sponsorship. To expedite the process, please read the following prior to contacting me. This blog post will let you know how i handle the process of a request to be a visiting scholar, and it may help you prepare for the process of obtaining a letter of invitation.
The purpose of a scholarly visit, no matter how long the stay, usually 6 months to one year, is intended for scholarship, not as a precursor to enrolling in our Masters in Instructional Technology (IT Online). If you are interested in our MS in IT, you will find that in our program we have small classes, the program is very affordable, and is also 100% accessible online, and is completely synchronous. That means, the interaction takes place live, via video conference during the evenings, US Eastern Standard Time. The university is reasonably skeptical about requests to simply come here and take classes. However, the university is happy to extend sponsorship to an individual looking to further research in which we are already engaged. Generally speaking, scholars who have not yet published, or who are in the process of forming a dissertation committee, face a series of other questions when asking for a letter.
So far, all the requests I have received have to do with studying TESOL learning. While this is part of my research in general, I focus on rather specific area within that topic—learning in mediated environments. I do not have access to learner data in face to face settings at the moment. To talk about those possibilities at The University of Tennessee, contact Dr Seankum at the English Department. If you are interested in collaborating on studies involving mediated instruction, the first step is to assemble the following documents before you contact me.
- Visiting Scholar Application Form (docx or pdf). This is where the process starts. Please read the whole form prior to sending me email.
- A cover letter describing the purpose of your stay and how my research is aligned with this purpose.
- A copy of your most recent curriculum vitae.
- A 1-2 page research plan including a description of the data, proposed analytical approach and potential contribution to the field of instructional/educational technology, TESOL, or instructional design, and timeline of when you will accomplish these things while you are here.
A few things to keep in mind
Please allow at least 30 days for this process, starting from the time you submit your application package. There will likely be some sort of interview in the process of creating the invitation letter. You will need to have a drivers’ license as Knoxville is not fully accessible via public transportation. UTK may or may not be able to provide an office for the duration of your stay; this is contingent upon space availability. UTK does have on-campus housing, the details of which can be discussed during your interview. UTK can provide access to library resources and there is ample space in the library for scholarly work. UTK can accommodate requests to present the scholarly accomplishments you make while here, and I can provide a letter of completion/certificate at the conclusion of your time with me.