Faculty exchanges are managed by schools and colleges or academic departments. Both the incoming and outgoing faculty members can expand their teaching and research horizons with new perspectives and have important cross-cultural experiences abroad which they bring back and can use to enrich their home campuses.
Unlike formal student exchanges that are managed by OIE, faculty exchanges are often less formal. With student exchanges, it is a fairly straightforward process to exchange tuition and fees and sometimes also on-campus housing. It is much more difficult to determine a way to exchange salaries and/or housing for faculty. However, departments have found ways to send faculty overseas and to receive faculty here.
Generally, negotiations begin more than a year before the exchange is to occur. Subjects that need to be addressed include:
- financial arrangements for salary and travel
- detailed expectations for teaching and/or research by the receiving department
- duration and timing of the exchange
- health and accident insurance for all parties
- visa formalities
It is our experience that compromises are necessary to deal with inequalities in salaries, calendar differences, and, in some cases, heavier teaching loads at international institutions than in the US. Other issues that can complicate exchanges are children's schooling, spouses' employment, and inadequate training in the host country's language.
As much information as possible should be provided by each partner in the exchange, including the individuals' academic credentials and experience; college catalogues and other descriptive materials; course outlines if appropriate; and descriptions of housing, the community, and climate. The host for the incoming exchange faculty member has a very important assignment!
If you hope to set up a faculty exchange that is on-going, there are certain other factors you will need to evaluate. What level of interest does your department, or related departments, have in the country and institution that you hope to make your partner? What is the likelihood of funding faculty for the exchange in future years who have the interest, academic credentials, job security, family situation, linguistic ability, and financial means to participate? Can the other institution find the same level of interest? A realistic evaluation of these factors can protect you from future disappointment and embarrassment.
Those planning faculty exchanges need to obtain departmental and school or college approval.