Visiting International Scholars

Wesleyan University welcomes visiting international scholars in order to foster scholarly and pedagogical debate and exchange between Wesleyan faculty and colleagues from all areas of the world. Invitations are extended in accordance with Wesleyan faculty interest and they are predicated on the potential for the visitor’s full integration into the intellectual and social fabric of our community. It is therefore understood that such invitations will issue from the host department and that a faculty member from that department will serve as the visiting scholar’s mentor.

Offering support and hospitality are essential for the success of hosting international visiting scholars. The protocols outlined herein are designed to identify the network of resources that should be coordinated in order to ensure that such levels of support and hospitality are achieved.

  • Hosting International Visiting Scholars

    At Wesleyan University, international visiting scholars are hosted by an academic department:

    • Faculty who are interested in hosting an international visiting scholar should work with their Department Chair to prepare a request. Care should be taken to make sure that the Department is ready and able to host the scholar in a way that will be productive for everyone, including identifying an office where the visitor will be able to work.
    • The request should include the scholar’s CV and contact information, an outline of what research will be conducted, the name of the sponsoring faculty member, and the anticipated dates of the visit. Please note that Visiting Scholar appointments must be for a minimum of one month but can be up to a maximum of one year.
    • The Department Chair will submit the completed request to their Dean for review.
    • If the Dean approves, the Dean will submit the formal request to the Office of Academic Affairs. The request should be submitted at least three months before the anticipated start date in order to ensure appropriate time for the visa process to take place.
    • Upon approval, staff from the Office of Academic Affairs will send the official letter of invitation and the initial hiring documents to the Visiting Scholar. The initial hiring forms will include a consent form for a mandatory background check and the forms necessary for Wesleyan account creation. These documents will be sent via email and will require a written acceptance from the visiting scholar. 
  • Prior to Arrival
    • International Visiting Scholars will, in all but a few cases, require J-1 visa sponsorship from Wesleyan in order to arrive and start their research work in the United States. The process of obtaining a J-1 visa can take several months, so it is important to start this as soon as possible.
    • Scholars should be made aware of several requirements prior to initiating the application, so as to avoid unexpected impediments:
      • Scholars will need to provide certain documents, including copies of their own passport and a passport for any dependents;
      • Scholars who are not native English speakers will be required to produce evidence of their command of English (a minimum score on the TOEFL exam, for instance);
      • Scholars will be responsible for any visa or SEVIS fees (currently around $450 USD) that may be incurred in applying for their visa.
    • Staff in the Office of Academic Affairs will assist the Visiting Scholar throughout the J-1 visa application process.
    • Upon receiving all required documents, staff from the Office of Academic Affairs will prepare the DS-2019 form and send this form to the scholar via email, along with the J-1 Welcome Packet. The Welcome Packet will include documents that discuss rules and regulations set by the Department of State that scholar must follow pre/post arrival while in the United States, along with basic information regarding rental housing options and resources regarding transportation, local grocery, etc.
    • As a matter of courtesy, host departments are encouraged to monitor to application process since it can be a challenging process. In anticipation of the visitor’s arrival, it would be useful for the host department to discuss strategies for facilitating the visitor’s integration into the Wesleyan community (e.g., opportunities for the visitor to share their research, outreach to interested faculty in other department, opportunities for interacting with interested students and staff).
    • Finding housing is ultimately the responsibility of the visitor, and it can be a challenge to find certain types of housing (e.g., already furnished, walkable to campus, and affordable). Host faculty members often play a role in this process and are encouraged to use the Community Forum and other resources to generate leads.
  • Arrival & Orientation
    • The faculty sponsor should meet with the scholar to discuss expectations, research plans, etc. upon the scholar’s arrival.
    • The host department should ensure that visitors attend to the following urgent matters once they arrive:
      • meet with staff in the Office of Academic Affairs in order to validate their arrival in the J-1 visa system;
      • meet with staff in the Office of Academic Affairs to pick up their WesCard ID;
      • meet with staff in their home Department to pick up keys for any office space.
    • On-campus orientation is a multi-pronged process involving various resources.
      • The host department should orient the visitor regarding departmental resources (material and online) and arrange for introductions to colleagues. It should review relevant departmental and university policies and procedures, such as office hours and work schedule.
      • The faculty mentor should consider scheduling appointments with Academic Computing staff in order to ensure the visitor’s familiarity with such on-line resources as WesPortal.
      • The host department should consider scheduling an appointment with a reference librarian in order to facilitate the visitor’s access to scholarly materials and resources available through Olin.
      • The host department may schedule a campus tour for the visitor through the Admissions office.
      • The host department should provide the visitor with emergency contact information and request the same from the visitor.
    • Visitors can join the community of international visitors at Wesleyan by introducing themselves to the Office of Intercultural Learning ( which arranges occasional social meetings and opportunities to share experiences and scholarship.
  • Connecting to Campus Resources & Community

    As indicated, the host department will oversee our visitor’s orientation and will help to facilitate connections with other colleagues outside of the department. Visiting scholars make choose to access independently many of the resources and support (click here) available to the Wesleyan faculty.

    In addition to pursuing their own research objectives while at Wesleyan, visiting scholars may wish to consider some of the following options for connecting to the Wesleyan community: 

  • Traveling to Campus, Local Transit & Life in Middletown

    For directions to campus, is it best to refer to this university resource that outlines the many routes and options.

    When planning your trip to campus from a local airport (including JFK International in New York City, NY or BDL in Hartford, CT) many travelers use CT Limo as a mode of transportation. Travelers are welcome to take a cab or other car service as well, but please be aware of costs.

    For those arriving from EWR International in Newark, NJ, travelers can use the Amtrak Train to travel directly from the Newark Airport to New Haven, CT. Those traveling from New Haven to Middletown, often take a cab or use another car service. For other local transportation options, please visit these university resources for Area Transportation.

    For a list of important sites and locations in Middletown, see this Visitor's Guide and click here for a list of resources, which includes banks, grocery, pharmacy, and more for visiting international scholars to be aware of while at Wesleyan University.