Call for Applications for the International Faculty Seminar (IFS)

Cuba, June 1–7, 2016 (the dates are approximate due to the unprecedented demand for travel to Cuba)

Application Deadline: November 27


“Cuban Arts, Development, Economy, and History: Building a 21st Century Model for Institutional Bridges to Cuba”

Beginning in 1989, the University of Richmond has offered an International Faculty Seminar (IFS). Associate Provost for Faculty Laz Lima will serve as the Director of our next IFS, “Cuban Arts, Development, Economy, and History: Building a 21st Century Model for Institutional Bridges to Cuba.” Dr. Lima and Dr. Martha Merritt, Dean of International Education, invite you to apply to this exciting opportunity for faculty travel to Cuba.

Interested faculty are asked to apply by submitting a two-page letter of interest indicating 1) the nature of your interest in Cuba, and 2) how your participation would benefit your teaching, scholarship, research, and/or your school. Tenured, tenure-track, and continuing faculty are eligible to apply. We seek to bring the University of Richmond’s expertise and interest in Cuba into conversation with potential partner programs and enterprises during this IFS. Cuba specialist Dr. Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, Associate Professor of Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Literatures and Cultures at the University of Connecticut, will serve as external faculty co-director of the seminar.


The International Faculty Seminar for 2016 will meet in Richmond for an orientation with readings in a wide range of fields relevant for the participants’ scholarship including arts programming; business; economic development; historical and archival studies; legal studies; STEM fields; and health studies. Discussions will be organized by the IFS director and co-director so that UR faculty specialists from across the schools will lead discussions based on their respective areas of expertise. The on-campus discussions will establish the groundwork for the visit to the island and provide expertise to link interests with potential partners in Cuba.

Cuba’s travel regimen has opened up for the first time in its more than 50-year history as a Soviet-model socialist country. This seminar thus offers unprecedented opportunity, but also requires flexibility on the part of participants as travel agents struggle to manage the considerable demand. The relatively few institutions with established and successful links to the island include Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Tulane, and Lewis & Clark. These universities offer programs for students and faculty to study and conduct research in Cuba. We will explore options for sustained engagement for the University of Richmond community in Cuba, building on pre-existing and new relationships.

Upon completion of the IFS, the participants will brief senior university leadership and propose a plan of action for furthering connections to Cuba.

Potential Outcomes and Partners

This IFS would build bridges to Cuba by introducing UR faculty to research, curricular, and business opportunities at a propitious moment for cultural and intellectual connections. Desired outcomes would include the establishment of ties with Cuban universities and other organizations for potential student and/or faculty exchanges (facilitated through faculty leader links to Cuba and Cuban institutions and OIE leadership); building bridges to Cuba, in the form of faculty links between UR faculty and interested constituencies with Cuban scholars and students to supplement curricular innovation at UR; and fostering long-term engagement with Cuban institutions.

Foremost to the vision for extending UR’s connections in the world are three key principles:

  1. To provide a forum for faculty acquisition of interdisciplinary knowledge about a region or a country, based on reciprocal relationships with local scholars and partners;
  2. To develop cross-school and cross-disciplinary relationships among UR faculty members and an external faculty co-director, when applicable, by providing a shared focus on international experience and encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue on teaching, scholarly, and creative work, and;
  3. To encourage the use of newly acquired knowledge for the creation of courses (including first year seminars, SSIRs, and major-specific courses), modules and co-curricular experiences in existing courses, assignments and references, and for ongoing collaborations in scholarly and creative work in the host culture.


Please send your completed application to Kimberly O’Hare by close of day, November 27, 2015. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application prior to winter recess.