Academic Policies

AC01 Visiting Scholars

Policy Status: 

New

Policy Steward: 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Contents:

  • Purpose
  • Background
  • Definitions
  • Scope
  • Exclusions
  • Policy
  • Cross References
  • PURPOSE:

    To establish policies and guidelines relating to the designation, approval, roles, and the overall responsibility for Visiting Scholars at The Pennsylvania State University.

    BACKGROUND:

    Penn State 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 University facility, providing instruction that is supervised by appropriate University Personnel in a University facility, collaborating with University faculty on specific projects, and observing University instruction, administration, or faculty research. The designation “Visiting Scholar” is a privilege accorded to scholars temporarily in residence at the University. The University requires that certain Visiting Scholars be approved, undergo the appropriate background check, and execute certain agreements.

    DEFINITIONS:

    Individual Host means any University employee who hosts a Visiting Scholar pursuant to the appropriate approvals set forth in this Policy. University undergraduate students, graduate students, and Postdoctoral Scholars / Fellows are not eligible to serve as an Individual Host for purposes of this policy.

    Administrative Host means the designated University representative within a College, Department, Institute, Unit, or at a Commonwealth Campus where the Visiting Scholar will be present.

    University Personnel means any College, Department, Institute, Unit, and/or any paid faculty, investigator, employee, staff, and/or researcher.

    Visiting Scholar, for purposes of this policy, includes individuals from other universities, institutions, and businesses who are granted access to University facilities to provide instruction that is supervised by appropriate University Personnel, to conduct collaborative research, or to observe University instruction, administration, or research and who do not receive financial support from the University for their effort beyond travel and/or expense reimbursement and/or an honorarium, where appropriate and applicable. This definition includes visitors with the designation of “Visiting Researcher” or “Visiting Scientist.”

    SCOPE:

    This Policy applies to all University Personnel who entertain requests from individuals from other universities, institutions, and businesses who wish to visit any campus or location of the University and use University facilities to provide instruction that is supervised by appropriate University Personnel, to conduct collaborative research, or to observe University instruction, administration, or research. These individuals do not carry an official status of employment with the University, must have University hosts, and, in certain cases (that is, where the Visiting Scholar has access to University facilities for a total of fourteen (14) consecutive days or more), must obtain University approval, via the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, for the visit.

    EXCLUSIONS:

    The designation of Visiting Scholar excludes – and therefore this Policy does not apply to – the following:

    1. Individuals who are merely visiting common areas at Penn State;
    2. University invited speakers / guest lecturers who provide a speech / guest lecture that is open to the University community or public or to a University class;
    3. University students (whether registered as a degree or non-degree student at Penn State);
    4. University Employees;
    5. Independent Contractors retained by the University;
    6. University retirees with Emeritus Status (University Policy AC25 Emeritus Status);
    7. University Postdoctoral Scholars / Fellows (University Policy HR68 Postdoctoral Appointments);
    8. Undergraduate students from other academic institutions who otherwise might be considered interns;
    9. Individuals visiting the University pursuant to a properly executed and active External User Agreement or Academic Research Services Order (ARSO). If, however, an Individual Host or Administrative Host seeks to designate any individual visiting the University pursuant to an External User Agreement or ARSO a Visiting Scholar, then the Individual and Administrative Host must follow this policy for the Visiting Scholar designation.
    10. Members of University recognized Advisory Boards whose visit to the University relates to their service on that Advisory Board; and
    11. Employees of industry, academia, or the government visiting the University pursuant to a sponsored research agreement between the third-party employer and the University whose visit is specifically referenced and governed by said sponsored research agreement.

    POLICY:

    All University Personnel who wish to host individuals from other universities, institutions, and/or businesses as a “Visiting Scholar” at the University must comply with this Policy, and all other applicable laws and University policies.

     

    SECTION I – VISITING SCHOLAR DESIGNATION

    A. VISITING SCHOLAR OVERVIEW

    Individuals from other universities, institutions, and/or businesses who are granted access to University facilities to provide instruction that is supervised by appropriate University Personnel, to conduct collaborative research, or to observe University instruction, administration or research and who do not receive financial support from the University for their effort beyond travel and/or expense reimbursement and/or an honorarium, where appropriate and applicable, must be recommended by an Administrative Host - and when the proposed visit to the University is for fourteen (14) consecutive days or more, must be approved by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs - for the designation of Visiting Scholar.

     

    B. CRITERIA FOR DESIGNATION

    The designation of Visiting Scholar is appropriate for faculty from other academic institutions who are invited to Penn State during a period of sabbatical at their home institution. In addition, this designation is appropriate for qualified personnel from industry, government, or other organizations who wish to visit the University.

    The following are the minimum eligibility criteria for a Visiting Scholar designation at the University:

    1. The proposed Visiting Scholar must be visiting from, and affiliated with, an outside (U.S. or foreign) university, institution, or business.
    2. The proposed Visiting Scholar must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
    3. The Administrative Host and the Individual Host must agree to serve as the hosts of the proposed Visiting Scholar.
    4. If the proposed Visiting Scholar intends to visit for fourteen (14) consecutive days or more, the individual must undergo a successful background check. (University Policy HR99 (Background Check Process). The background check must be completed prior to granting such Visiting Scholars access to University facilities.
    5. If the proposed Visiting Scholar is intending to arrive on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University, additional criteria must be met. Please consult with Global Programs to learn more about the minimum requirements for a J-1 visa.

    As a condition of their visit, Visiting Scholars may be required to obtain personal health insurance. Requests for exceptions to the minimum eligibility criteria must be made in writing and submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs for approval.

     

    C. DURATION OF DESIGNATION

    Visiting Scholar designations are for a maximum period of one year. Upon recommendation of the Administrative Host and approval by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Visiting Scholar designations may be renewed up to a full second year, although shorter extensions are possible. An extension beyond two years must be approved by the Dean of the College or Institute Director, where applicable, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and will be granted only for extraordinary and compelling reasons.

    Visiting Scholar designations for those on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University are subject to the durational limits of their visa. Please consult with Global Programs regarding extensions or renewals (if applicable) for such Visiting Scholars.

     

    D. APPLICATION AND APPROVAL PROCESS FOR VISITING SCHOLARS

    1. Visiting Scholars Present for Less Than Fourteen (14) Consecutive Days 

    When a University employee wishes to host a Visiting Scholar for less than fourteen (14) consecutive days, the Individual Host and the Administrative Host must ensure compliance with the following:

    1. Criteria for Designation for the proposed Visiting Scholar (Section I.B);
    2.  Submission of a fully executed Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form by the proposed Visiting Scholar in the event the Visiting Scholar will be responsible for University research during the visit;
    3. Submission of a fully executed Intellectual Property Agreement by the proposed Visiting Scholar in the event the Visiting Scholar will be creating intellectual property in University facilities;
    4.  Submission of a Visiting Scholar Request Form;
    5. Consultation with Global Programs for all proposed international Visiting Scholars on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University;
    6. Consultation with the University’s Export Compliance Office for all proposed international Visiting Scholars who are not on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University;
    7. Responsibilities of Individual and Administrative Hosts and Applicable University Departments (Section II); and
    8. Responsibilities and Privileges of Visiting Scholars (Section III).

     

    2. Visiting Scholars Present for Fourteen (14) Consecutive Days or More

    When a University employee wishes to host a Visiting Scholar for fourteen (14) consecutive days or more, the Individual Host and the Administrative Host must ensure compliance with the following:

    1. Criteria for Designation for the proposed Visiting Scholar (Section I.B);
    2. Joint issuance of a letter of invitation. The Individual Host and the Administrative Host must jointly issue a letter of invitation to the proposed Visiting Scholar. All letters of invitation must comply with the Visiting Scholar letter of invitation requirements. A template for the letter of invitation and its required attachments (the Visiting Scholar Agreement and the Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form) can be found here;
    3. Submission of a fully executed Visiting Scholar Agreement by the proposed Visiting Scholar;
    4. Submission of a fully executed Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form by the proposed Visiting Scholar in the event the Visiting Scholar will be responsible for University research during the visit;
    5. Submission of a Visiting Scholar Request Form and required attachments;
    6. Consultation with Global Programs for all proposed international Visiting Scholars on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University;
    7. Consultation with the University’s Export Compliance Office for all proposed international Visiting Scholars who are not on a J-1 visa sponsored by the University;
    8. Responsibilities of Individual and Administrative Hosts and Applicable University Departments (Section II); and
    9. Responsibilities and Privileges of Visiting Scholars (Section III).

    Upon review of all applicable documents and consultation with the applicable University departments (e.g., Export Compliance Office, Office for Research Protections), the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs will determine final eligibility of the proposed Visiting Scholar. If a proposed Visiting Scholar does not meet the requirements for approval, the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs will notify the Individual Host and the Administrative Host.

    If approved by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, the University will designate the visitor a Visiting Scholar. The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs will provide notice of final approval of the Visiting Scholar to the Individual Host, the Administrative Host, and any necessary and appropriate University units. All Visiting Scholars must successfully complete the University background check before commencing the visit.

     

    E. DOCUMENTATION OF DESIGNATION

    Regardless of the duration of the visit, all Visiting Scholar designations will be entered and maintained in the University’s central human capital management system, as well as by the Administrative Host. The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs also will maintain record of Visiting Scholar designations for visits to the University fourteen (14) consecutive days or more.

     

    SECTION II – RESPONSIBILITIES OF INDIVIDUAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE HOSTS AND APPLICABLE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS

    A. INDIVIDUAL HOST

    Regardless of the duration of the visit, the Individual Host is responsible for hosting and facilitating the visit and ensuring that the visit concludes satisfactorily. The Individual Host must agree to provide ongoing oversight in conjunction with the Administrative Host for the full duration of the visit. At the conclusion of the visit, the Individual Host is responsible for notifying the Administrative Host, Global Programs (if applicable), and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (if applicable) of the Visiting Scholar’s departure from the University. Failure to comply with these responsibilities may impact the ability of the Individual Host to host future Visiting Scholars.

    Guidelines for hosting Visiting Scholars can be found here.

     

    B. ADMINISTRATIVE HOST

    The Administrative Host or their designee is responsible for obtaining the signature of the proposed Visiting Scholar on any required agreements or documents (e.g., Visiting Scholar Agreement and Significant Financial Interest Disclosure form) for all Visiting Scholars present for fourteen (14) consecutive days or more and must ensure that all required documentation, if necessary, is prepared and submitted to the appropriate offices.

    The Administrative Host is responsible for providing space for the Visiting Scholar, if appropriate, and for orienting the Visiting Scholar to applicable University policies and University resources.

    The Administrative Host must ensure that authority for use of University facilities or access to University facilities is appropriate and issues the appropriate authorization letters, if applicable.

    In addition, the Administrative Host is responsible for ensuring that the Visiting Scholar:

    1. Is aware of all applicable University policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws while visiting Penn State and reports any violations of University policy or the law in accordance with University policy and procedure;
    2. Receives all required University training (e.g. health and safety for the facilities and equipment, if any, they will use or other mandatory training);
    3. Understands that proprietary work for his or her home organization may not be carried out in University facilities during the visit, unless the University has entered into a written agreement with the visiting scholar and/or the visiting scholar’s home institution to perform such work;
    4. Signs the University’s Intellectual Property Agreement (if applicable – Section II(F)); and
    5. Returns all issued office or laboratory keys, the University ID card (if one is issued – Section III), and all credentials upon completion of the visit.

    The Administrative Host also is responsible for ensuring that any concerns expressed about the Visiting Scholar or by the Visiting Scholar regarding the conduct of University Personnel, student(s), or other Visiting Scholars are addressed in accordance with University policy and procedure.

    Guidelines for hosting Visiting Scholars can be found here.

     

    C. GLOBAL PROGRAMS

    Regardless of the duration or purpose of the visit, Global Programs is responsible for reviewing all requests for any J-1 visa documents. Under the approval of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, only certain individuals within Global Programs are authorized to issue J-1 visa documents and are responsible for enforcing compliance with federal rules and regulations. Please contact Global Programs for details.

     

    D. EXPORT COMPLIANCE OFFICE

    Regardless of the duration or purpose of the visit, in order to comply with federal export control laws and regulations, and to comply with University Policy AD89, all proposed international Visiting Scholars are subject to an export review prior to arrival.

    The required export review will occur in one of the following two ways:

    • International Visiting Scholar on a J-1 Visa Sponsored by the University - For proposed international Visiting Scholars who will require and receive visa support or sponsorship from the University, the required export review will be completed as part of the established internal University review process for such visa support or sponsorship.
    • International Visiting Scholar Not Requiring Visa Support from the University - All proposed international Visiting Scholars not processed under the embedded export review referenced above must submit an International Visiting Scholar Export Review Request Form available at the University Export Compliance website at least thirty (30) days prior to arrival at University facilities.

    If, in the determination of the University Export Compliance Officer (the “UECO”), any proposed international Visiting Scholar covered under this policy creates a significant export compliance risk, the UECO may, at the UECO’s sole discretion, require internal approvals and assurances from the Individual and/or Administrative Hosts prior to approving such visits. The UECO reserves the right to withhold approval for any proposed international Visiting Scholar covered under this policy if, in the opinion of the UECO, the visit would result in any violations or significant risk of any violations of U.S. export control laws or regulations or the proposed visit requires any license or approval which the UECO determines is unlikely to be timely issued due to the nature of the applicable controls and/or limited time available to seek such license or approval. For more information about export reviews for proposed international visitors, please see AD89 and/or the University Export Compliance website.

     

    E. OFFICE FOR RESEARCH PROTECTIONS

    Regardless of the duration of the visit, the Administrative Host for any proposed Visiting Scholar must ensure that the proposed Visiting Scholar complies with the requirements of University Policy RP06, which includes submitting a Significant Financial Interest Disclosure Form to the Conflict of Interest Program in the Office for Research Protections in the event that the Visiting Scholar will be responsible for research in any University research activities. The Office for Research Protections will notify the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs on the review and determination of the Significant Financial Interest Disclosures submitted by proposed Visiting Scholars.

     

    F. OFFICE OF TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT

    Regardless of the duration of the visit, the Administrative Host for any proposed Visiting Scholar must ensure that the Visiting Scholar submits the appropriate intellectual property related agreements with the University.

    For Visiting Scholars visiting the University for less than fourteen (14) consecutive days, the Administrative Host must ensure that the proposed Visiting Scholar who will be creating intellectual property in University facilities (e.g., conducting research) during the visit executes the University’s Intellectual Property Agreement and submits the executed Intellectual Property Agreement to the Office of Technology Management prior to the commencement of the visit.

    For Visiting Scholars visiting the University for fourteen (14) consecutive days or more, the Administrative Host must ensure that the Visiting Scholar executes and returns the Visiting Scholar Agreement that addresses, inter alia, the development of intellectual property at the University.

     

    SECTION III – RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRIVILEGES OF VISITING SCHOLARS

    Regardless of the duration or purpose of the visit, a Visiting Scholar is subject to and required to observe all rules, regulations, and requirements of the University, and all applicable State and Federal laws, including, but not limited to, conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, ethical behavior, responsible conduct of research, equal opportunity, compliance, safety, and health.

    Visiting Scholar status is a privilege, not a right, and an individual holds this status at the pleasure of the University. The status may be revoked at any time (even during the term of the designated status) by the University in its sole discretion, without the necessity of a reason. Similarly, there is no right to a renewal of the status at the end of the term of the visit.

    The Visiting Scholar designation does not permit the use of Penn State resources, except in compliance with all University policies, including, but not limited to, the University’s Policy on the Use of University Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies, and Services (FN14); the University’s Policy on Fees and Charges for Facilities and Services (AD15); the University’s Policy on Private Consulting Practice (AC80); the University’s Policy on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Collaboration (RA06); and the University’s Policy on Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Collaboration (RA07).

    Visiting Scholars are not employees of the University and, therefore, are not entitled to financial support, compensation, or other benefits (including discounts or health insurance, except as required by law for international Visiting Scholars only) available to University Personnel. Visiting Scholars, however, may be eligible for travel reimbursement, an honorarium, where appropriate and applicable, as well as expense reimbursement (but not direct payment of expenses by the University).

    Visiting Scholars also are eligible for the following:

    • Access to University facilities and resources (e.g., libraries, laboratories, etc.), as deemed appropriate by the Administrative Host and in accordance with University policies. The Administrative Host is responsible for informing the Visiting Scholar prior to arrival about the approved access to University facilities and resources.
    • Office space, if deemed appropriate by the Administrative Host. The Administrative Host is responsible for issuing the appropriate office or laboratory key(s). Administrative Hosts should be cognizant of the need to be cautious about issuing such access and must consider export control, conflict of interest, and other factors. Upon the completion of the Visiting Scholar’s term at the University, the Administrative Host must collect all keys issued to the Visiting Scholar.
    • Penn State email address, paid for by the Administrative Host and available only to those Visiting Scholars whose visits to the University are fourteen (14) consecutive days or more, the primary purpose of which is to enable Visiting Scholars to send and receive electronic University correspondence. Upon completion of the Visiting Scholar’s term at the University, the University will disable the Penn State email address and all Penn State IT access assigned to the Visiting Scholar.
    • University Identification Card (ID card), paid for by the Administrative Host, will be issued, via Identity Management Services in the Office of Information Security, to all Visiting Scholars whose visit to the University is at least thirty (30) calendar days. The primary purpose of the ID card is to enable Visiting Scholars to use University publicly accessible facilities, such as the Library. Upon completion of the Visiting Scholar’s term at the University, the Administrative Host or their designee must collect the University ID card from the Visiting Scholar. Please see University Policy HR102 (Separation and Transfer Protocol) for further information generally regarding the return of University property.

    See Guidelines for hosting Visiting Scholars.

    CROSS REFERENCES:

    Other Policies may also apply, especially:

    AC25 – Emeritus Status (Formerly HR25)

    AC80 – Private Consulting Practice

    AD15 – Fees and Rates for Facilities and Services (Formerly Fees and Charges for Facilities and Services)

    AD83 – Institutional Financial Conflict of Interest

    AD88 – Code of Responsible Conduct

    AD89 – University Export Compliance Policy

    ADG09 – Export Compliance Definitions, Procedures and Implementation Guidelines

    FN14 – Use of University Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies and Services

    HR06 – Types of Appointments

    HR68 – Postdoctoral Appointments

    HR91 – Conflict of Interest

    HR99 – Background Check Process

    HR102 – Separation and Transfer Protocol

    RA06 – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Collaboration

    RA07 – Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Collaboration

    RA40 – Compliance with Federal Export Regulations for Sponsored Research Efforts (Formerly RA18, Compliance With Federal Export Regulations)

    RAG40 – Guidelines for Ensuring Compliance with Export Control Policy RA40 (Formerly RAG11, Ensuring Compliance With Export Control Policy RA18)

    RP06 – Disclosure and Management of Significant Financial Interests (Formerly RA20, Individual Conflict of Interest)

    Date Approved: 

    September 25, 2019

    Date Published: 

    October 1, 2019

    Effective Date: 

    November 1, 2019