Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching ohjelman kuvaus ja hakuedellytykset


Register for the online application system.

The applicants should carefully read the instructions and other material related to the application process before starting to work on the application. The application instructions and other materials are available on the program websites.

The online application (including all reference reports) must be submitted no later than Friday, October 14, 2016 at 10.00 am.

Only complete applications submitted by the application deadline will be reviewed.

Program Overview

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program recognizes and encourages excellence in teaching in the U.S. and abroad. The program sends highly accomplished primary and secondary teachers from the U.S. abroad and brings international teachers to the U.S for a semester-long program. Primary and secondary school teachers who hold full-time teaching positions in any subject are eligible to apply. Primary and secondary level library media specialists, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, special education coordinators, gifted and talented coordinators, and administrators who work with students at least fifty percent of their time may also apply to the program.

Finnish and other international participants will be placed at a U.S. host university within a respected school of education. The host university will provide a broad range of resources in the teachers’ field(s) of expertise.

International teachers who are selected to participate in the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program will:

1) Take courses for professional development at a U.S. host university;
2) Design and complete an inquiry project of direct relevance to their teaching/educational practice,
3) Observe classes, team-teach and/or conduct seminars or workshops in local schools for U.S. teachers and students;
4) Participate in an online Professional Learning Community with other participants to share their best practices and other elements of host country educational systems; and
5) Engage in other teaching related activities.

Upon returning home, participants will be expected to share the knowledge and experience gained on the program with teachers and students in their home schools and with their communities.

Program dates are from mid-August to mid-December.

Eligibility Requirements for Applicants:

Current full-time elementary through high school teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum specialists, curriculum heads, Talented and Gifted coordinators, Special Education coordinators and media specialists/librarians are eligible to apply.

To meet the basic eligibility requirements of the program, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements at the time of application:

  • Hold citizenship and be resident of Finland;
  • Hold a full-time teaching position;
    • For the purpose of determining eligibility, "full-time" refers to applicants who are currently employed full-time or who hold a combination of positions that add up to full-time equivalency in a school, school district or educational institution at the local, state/provincial or national level.
  • Spend at least 50% of their time teaching or working directly with students;
    • Primary and secondary level media specialists/librarians, guidance counselors, Special Education coordinators and administrators who teach students at least fifty percent of their time may also apply to the program. In addition, teacher trainers from certain countries are eligible to apply.
  • Have taught for at least five years;
    • At the time of application, teachers should be in their fifth year of full-time teaching. If selected, the year of the Fulbright exchange would be the teacher's sixth year (or more) of full-time teaching. Teachers who are in their fourth year (or less) of full-time teaching at the time of application are not eligible.
  • Demonstrate experience conducting professional development activities;
  • Demonstrate accomplishment in teaching or have previously received teaching awards or exemplary evaluations;
  • Possess a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 550 (213 computer-based TOEFL, 79 Internet-based TOEFL), or an IELTS score of 6.5;
    Note: Test results should be emailed to Fulbright Office at the latest by November 25. Please include the upcoming test date in your application if your test takes place after the application deadline.
    We encourage you to reserve your test date at the earliest: www.fulbright.fi/fi/toefl/testiajan-varaaminen
  • Meet current Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board policies for teachers available on the Fulbright website: https://eca.state.gov/files/bureau/chapter_900_-_3_-_2016.pdf.

Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in the program and to those whose projects will reach under served and/or under resourced populations.

Program Details

Inquiry Project: Grantees will be expected to produce an inquiry project at the end of the program, with the form and content of the project proposed by the applicant at the time of application. Projects should encourage cross-cultural dialogue and support future teaching activities. The host university will assign each participant a  mentor who  will  help  guide and  refine participants’ project ideas. Participants should be creative in developing program activities that will enhance their project and contribute to its successful implementation. Each international teacher will be encouraged to give presentations on their project activities, and to compile written reflections and photographic or other records of their U.S. experiences.

University Coursework: Each international grantee will audit up to two courses at the U.S. host university. University staff and an assigned university faculty advisor will recommend courses that best meet each grantee’s program goals, align with his/her inquiry project, and support the enhancement of his/her professional educational practice. The host university will provide coursework on a wide range of topics, including curriculum development, second language education, comparative education, leadership, and teaching methodologies from which participants can choose.

University Faculty Advisor: In addition to receiving support and advising from host university program staff, each international grantee will work closely with a faculty advisor. The advisor will be a faculty member or other individual who will serve as a content area expert in the international grantee’s area of interest, and will provide feedback and guidance throughout the development of the project. International grantees will also be paired with one or more mentor teachers in a local U.S. primary or secondary host school. 

Local School Placements: International grantees will be placed in a local primary or secondary school during their time in the U.S. where they will observe classes, team-teach, lead workshops or master classes, and/or give presentations for teachers and students on varied topics (e.g., their content area, their home country educational system). Grantees will be paired with one or more host school mentors at their assigned school to help them learn about the U.S. educational system and to serve as a guide during their school placements. Host university staff will identify schools located near the university campus that are appropriate to each grantee’s interests and area of expertise.

Online Professional Learning Community: Each international grantee will participate in a virtual community with other international and U.S. participants to collaborate and share best practices about education in the participating countries.

Weekly Seminars: International grantees will participate in a weekly seminar at their host university featuring presentations and discussions led by university staff, faculty members, and invited guests. The seminar topics will focus on trends and current issues in education such as curriculum, instruction and learning, assessment, technology, student motivation, teacher preparation and professional development, diversity, school leadership and educational policy. During the seminars, international teachers will also share their expertise, experience, and information about their home countries’ educational system and  teaching experiences.

Professional Development Grant (PDG): Each international grantee is eligible to apply for additional funding for professional development activities that support their program while they are in the United States. This funding is in addition to other grant funding. PDG funding is intended to enhance the program experience through attendance at a professional conference or workshop, traveling to conduct research at schools outside of their U.S. host university location, or by pursuing professional activities relevant to their project. The proposed activity should enhance the inquiry project and/or teaching area knowledge.

Financial Arrangements

Travel: Roundtrip flight costs from international grantees' home countries to and from Washington D.C. are paid for by the Fulbright Program. IIE staff will work with international grantees to make flight arrangements.

Housing: International grantees will live near or on the U.S. host university campus in housing that is arranged for them. Note: For international grantees who will be accompanied by family members, host university staff will assist the grantee to identify alternate housing accommodations.

The Fulbright grant will pay program costs for the international grantee, except for incidental expenses. Each teacher will receive a Mainternance Allowance (MA) during the program to cover expenses such as supplies for classes, household items, personal items, and cultural and other activities. Also included in this total is a daily stipend to purchase groceries, meals at local restaurants, or food from on-campus dining services. Costs associated with housing, extracurricular activities, and other program-related expenses are paid in advance by the Fulbright Program.

Note to accompanying family members:

  • Participants may bring family members with them abroad for part, or all, of their time during their Fulbright Program. Please note that while in the host country, participants will spend the majority of their time participating in Fulbright Program activities and fulfilling the requirements of their Fulbright grant and should take this into consideration when making decisions about whether or not to bring family members with them abroad
  • Grantees are responsible for expenses related to bringing family members to join the Fulbright Program in the U.S.

Distinguished Teacher Selection

Fulbright Center will review the applications submitted in Finland and select those to be forwarded to the U.S. for consideration.
Applicants that pass an initial screening will be invited for a personal interview. The interviews will take place at the Fulbright Center in Helsinki on Friday, November 11, 2016. Candidates invited to the interviews will be notified via email one week prior to the interviews.

The interview is compulsory. The Fulbright Center does not cover the expenses resulting from the interview. Final review of the international candidates and selection of the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher nominees from the multinational candidate pool will be conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in the U.S.

The Fulbright Center organizes a full day pre-departure orientation for all Finnish Fulbright grantees in May, 2017. All grantees are expected to attend.