Visiting Scholar Guideline


Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher Guidelines

A. Policy Statement
Tennessee State University (TSU) recognizes that individuals from other universities, institutions, and businesses may wish to visit the University for extended periods of time for reasons including, but not limited to, conducting research in a TSU facility, collaborating with University researchers on specific projects, and observing University faculty research.

B. Scope
This policy applies to TSU faculty, staff, departments, colleges, and units that entertain requests from individuals from other universities, institutions, and businesses who wish to visit the campus and use TSU facilities to conduct collaborative research or observe research in TSU facilities. These individuals do not carry any official status of employment with the University and must have formal University sponsors.  The university official must submit an International Visiting Scholar Recommendation form to the Office of Diversity and International Affairs to begin this process.

C. Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to set forth procedures and processes for obtaining approval for and registering visiting scholars and visiting researchers.  It is important that the University maintain a record of such visitors and review documentation or agreements in order to protect the University’s interests, including intellectual property. Federal agencies have placed great emphasis on regulating access to research facilities when that research access has implications under federal export control regulations.

D. Definitions

  • Department or Unit Sponsor: Department or unit within which the visiting scholar or visiting researcher will be working or collaborating. The department or unit sponsor is responsible for obtaining the signature of the visitor on any agreements required (e.g., visiting scholar/researcher agreement or visiting scholar/researcher and company agreement)

  • Visiting Scholar: Scholar temporarily residing at TSU with defined but unescorted access to University facilities.  Visiting scholar’s temporary engagement does not imply a continuation of their relationship with the University. The designation of “visiting scholar” is ordinarily made for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of one year.
  • Visiting Researcher: Same as visiting scholar except that the visitor has the title “visiting researcher” and generally has access to University laboratory and/or research facilities.

E. Visa Processing
The J-1 exchange visitor classification is the status most commonly used by international visiting scholars/researchers. Under the exchange visitor status, scholars, professors, researchers, and others may come to the United States for defined periods of time for the purpose of educational exchange. Any international visitor who has sufficient academic training to benefit from an academic or professional program at a U.S. college or university may be eligible for this status. Contact Mark Gunter-Director of International Student Services (ISS) at 615-963-5639 for assistance with visas.

To obtain a J-1 visa for a visiting scholar/researcher, the individual sponsor and the sponsoring department/unit must agree to:

  • Make a reasonable effort to determine that the English proficiency of a proposed visitor is sufficient to allow meaningful interaction between the individual and University faculty/staff and the greater community.

  • Assist a visitor in obtaining visiting scholar/researcher benefits (based on the researcher agreement--office space, TSU ID card, library and computer access)
  • Provide cross-cultural interaction between a visitor and the department’s or unit’s faculty and/or staff (or engage the visitor in cross-cultural exchanges with faculty and/or staff in the department or unit)
  • Show active interest in the research or activity being undertaken by a visitor and have the visitor participate in research and other activities of the department or unit.
  • Designate a University faculty member, research staff member, or appropriate employee as the individual (formal) sponsor of the visitor.

J-1 visa holders (as well as the accompanying spouse and dependents of J-1 visa holders) should be adequately covered by health insurance. Any visitor whose DS-2019 Form for a J-1 visa has been processed by International Student Services (ISS) is eligible for the same type of insurance that is available to students. The insurance program is an important matter covered in the orientation program offered to international visiting scholars/researchers.


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