New policy for visiting scholars is in place

A new policy implemented last month establishes expectations for hosting visiting scholars at Iowa State, including approval and registration processes.

Visiting scholars typically are faculty affiliated with another university who spend a period of time on campus collaborating on research projects or observing research, instruction or extension and outreach activities. The designation does not include invited speakers or advisory board members, students or individuals who otherwise would be classified as post-docs.

"Iowa State attracts many scholars from around the world each year," said senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert. "These visitors come to campus to pursue research and scholarly activities alongside our outstanding faculty, exchange innovative ideas and experience the diversity of our academic community."

Iowa State faculty often are visiting scholars themselves when they visit other institutions as part of Fulbright awards or through professional development assignments.

The need for greater oversight of visiting scholars has received increasing attention from federal research sponsors. Wickert noted that establishing a more rigorous approval and registration process also protects the university's interests, including the intellectual property of faculty and staff and the integrity of federally funded research projects.

Requirements in the policy

Under the new policy, visiting scholars are required to have an active ISU employee as their individual host and to receive approval from the employee's department chair or dean as the administrative host. Visits of 14 days or longer also must be approved by the office of the senior vice president and provost.

Hosts are charged with making sure that the visit, and activities conducted during the visit, comply with university policies, including conflict of interest and commitment, export control, behavior expectations, and visa authorization and required health insurance for international guests. Hosts also are responsible for assisting visiting scholars with securing a university ID, email and network access, space and use of university equipment, and completing laboratory safety training if applicable.

Questions regarding the policy may be directed to Brenda Behling at or 515-294-8236. An FAQ document is available on the provost's website.