Visiting Scholars

Over the past several years, the Finance Department has routinely hosted several visiting scholars. The process for selecting visiting scholars (who may be either PhD students or faculty at other universities) has been informal and undirected. The major criterion for being selected as a visiting scholar is that a potential visiting scholar must have a member of the standing faculty serve as a liaison. A faculty liaison does not commit any resources other than his/her time to meet with the visiting scholar. The Finance Department does not commit many resources to a visiting scholar. We generally cannot promise office space to visiting scholars, nor do we provide stipends or DARTS accounts. Nevertheless, each scholar consumes valuable resources. For instance, Susan Collins devotes considerable time helping these scholars make their transitions to Wharton, including help processing applications for visas for foreign visitors. We also generally provide visiting scholars with access to Wharton email and various computer resources. Although we do not promise office space, many visitors press for office space after they arrive at Wharton and are disappointed or unhappy when we cannot provide this space.

Although there is no easy or free solution to provide office space or resources to visiting scholars, or to otherwise enhance their experiences at Wharton, it seems to make sense to initiate a more coordinated and thoughtful selection process. Such a process would make the selection less arbitrary and would give the department the ability to monitor and control the number of visiting scholars at any time. By limiting and potentially reducing the number of visiting scholars, we might be able to provide a better experience for those selected while also reducing the strain on resources. Therefore, starting with the academic year 2012-2013, there will be a simple application process.

An application will consist of:

  1. Academic transcripts for students who wish to visit; a CV for faculty who wish to visit
  2. A request for a specific time to visit (begin date and end date)
  3. A brief statement (not to exceed two pages) written by the applicant explaining the purpose and goals of the visit
  4. A brief statement (one or two paragraphs) from a member of the standing faculty in Finance agreeing to serve as the visiting scholar’s liaison. This statement should describe why the liaison thinks that the applicant should be a visiting scholar, including any potential benefits to individual faculty, graduate students, or the department in general.
  5. A recommendation letter from a faculty member at the applicant’s home institution.

We recognize that some applicants (most likely faculty who wish to visit from other institutions) may need a long lead time to secure funding or make other arrangements for their visit. However, other applicants may not be in a position to apply for a visit until later in the academic year prior to the academic year of their visit. Therefore, there will be two application cycles per year. Applications for the first cycle will be due December 1 of the academic year prior to the academic year of the visit. Applications for the second cycle will be due by April 1 of the academic year prior to the academic year of the visit.

Applications will be reviewed by the coordinator of the PhD program in Finance and the Chair of the Finance Department, perhaps in consultation with other faculty as deemed appropriate.