Semester Abroad Faculty Member in Residence

James Madison University (JMU) prides itself in providing a unique intensive international experience for students for a full semester abroad. These programs further support faculty development and add international dimensions to the JMU curriculum. The Faculty Member in Residence (FMIR) plays a key role in the students' academic and personal growth.

Announcements for open positions of FMIR are made each Fall Semester, with placement up to two years in advance. Please note: We are not accepting new applications in the Fall 2020 semester for future terms. 

JMU's Semester Abroad Programs offer full-time JMU faculty an exciting opportunity to work in an international environment, collaborate with faculty of different nationalities and educational training, live in the host country with their families, and experience everyday life in a new culture. The Semester Abroad Programs provide an international experience for students, but they also support faculty development and add international dimensions to the JMU curriculum. Faculty from all colleges in the University have the opportunity to participate.

Refer here for a list of past FMIRs.

General Description

Faculty Members in Residence (FMIRs) normally teach one course in their academic field or assume an appropriate program project. In addition, FMIRs lead, advise and support the students living and studying in the foreign city and handle administrative planning and financial record-keeping. Faculty benefits include transportation to/from the site and housing during the semester. Most programs involve academic excursions that expose faculty and students to the country's culture. Specific policies, responsibilities, and benefits for FMIRs differ by program and should be discussed with the Program Directors.

Length of the Summer semester programs vary by location and run 7 to 11 weeks.

Faculty Eligibility

All full-time faculty and administrative personnel with teaching designation may apply for positions in Antwerp, Florence, London and Salamanca. Faculty must receive approval from their Academic Unit Heads and/or supervisors prior to application. Non-tenured faculty should consult their department heads regarding the advisability of participating before or during the tenure process. Since faculty development is a goal of this program, new applicants are especially welcome.

Policy on Returning and Replacement Faculty

Faculty who have already served as a Faculty Member In Residence (FMIR) are eligible to serve again on the same or another Semester Abroad program after three calendar years have passed (i.e. fall 2017 to spring 2020). Faculty who have already served have a lower priority than new candidates. Returning faculty may be appointed when a faculty member withdraws or under special circumstances. Participation in a short-term study abroad program does not preclude a faculty member from applying to be an FMIR on a semester program.

Faculty Qualifications

Faculty should have a strong interest in, enthusiasm for and commitment to taking students to the country for which they apply. Consideration is given to the faculty member's experience in the country and culture but extensive prior knowledge is not required as long as there is a plan for acquiring a solid foundation prior to departure. Although an instructor may apply to more than one program, applicants should have first preferences based upon interest or experience. Applicants may note in the application if there is any flexibility for the semesters and/or programs.

Application Preparation

IMPORTANT: Prior to submitting the application, candidates must meet with the program director who has responsibility for the curriculum and program management. Because there are some distinct differences in the responsibilities in each location, candidates must contact each program director (see list towards the end of this page), respective to their interest. The program director will review preliminary course proposals for appropriate fit with the overall curricular offerings and ensure that they take full advantage of the unique learning opportunities offered by the host country. After the program director approves the course, faculty members should obtain approval from both the director and their department for the course or project they propose to conduct abroad, as well as for release from teaching on campus for all term(s) listed. Courses that are cross-listed with other departments or fulfill GenEd credits should be approved by each area.  

Determine preparation time before declaring an eligible semester. If you have not traveled abroad recently, you may want to consider a summer visit to the country(ies) of interest prior to applying.

Guidelines for Deans and Academic Unit Heads

Academic Unit Heads (or Deans for Department Heads) are asked to approve the course proposal and the teaching release of the applicant. Although instructors can repeat a semester abroad, an effort is made to include faculty who have never served in a Semester Abroad program. Consideration is given to the international growth and vitality this experience will give to the departments and colleges. 

Deans or department heads are asked to try to accommodate changes in scheduling which might occur if a Faculty Member In Residence (FMIR) drops out of the program. Conversely, Program Directors and the FMIR Selection Committee will attempt to make all decisions before departmental schedules are due for following semesters.  


For appointment during the regular academic year (fall and spring semesters), the Faculty Member In Residence's (FMIR) "home" department will be reimbursed at a standard $9,000 to help replace the faculty member's teaching and/or administrative responsibilities. Summer FMIRs in Antwerp, Florence, London, and Salamanca are compensated with a salary for one summer school course, based on his/her college and rank. Administrative faculty on 12-month contracts may receive a reduced salary with approval of unit head/department chair, the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) Executive Director, and the appropriate Vice President.

There is no compensation for accompanying spouses, partners, or family members. Certain travel expenses will be paid for spouses, partners and children under 18 if they participate in the majority of the program.

Criteria for Selection

Applicants are considered on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Sufficient language skills* to enable the faculty member to function effectively on behalf of the students.
  • Interest in the country and familiarity with its culture. 
  • Experience with advising and work with student groups.
  • Commitment to both in-class and out-of-class learning.
  • Organizational skills sufficient to fulfill the administrative and financial management responsibilities of the position.
  • Intended benefits to JMU and the individual's professional development.

*Some language proficiency should be demonstrated at this time, or a plan for language acquisition discussed with the committee.

Selection Process

Interested faculty should complete the Faculty Member In Residence (FMIR) application form and attach a current résumé or curriculum vitae. The FMIR Selection Committee, consisting of program directors, the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) staff, and representatives from University Finance, will review all completed applications (those containing all required signatures) received by the deadline.

Typically the Committee conducts brief personal interviews with the applicants. A personal interview with the Committee allows the applicant to expand on his/her interest in serving as an FMIR and in turn allows the members of the Committee the opportunity to ask questions of the applicant.

It is possible that the Committee chooses to interview only the top-ranked applicants. Applicants who are not interviewed and/or are not selected may resubmit their application for a later search. Applicants are encouraged to seek feedback from the respective Program Director for strengthening components of an application.

Faculty who have served as FMIRs in the same program location do not require an interview with the Committee; however, if significant time has passed since the faculty member served as FMIR or if the application is for placement in a different program, an interview will be helpful for the Committee.

Once the interview process has been completed, the FMIR Selection Committee will recommend faculty to the CGE Executive Director who makes the appointments. Notification is sent by email and in print with instructions for accepting the position.

Program Director Contact Information

Antwerp: Molly Brown, 568-1697,
Florence: Chris Blake, 568-6344,
London: Amy Paugh, 568-7932, 
Salamanca: Felix Wang, 568-6273,

Submitting an Application

Applications for more than one program are welcome but, as mentioned above, require advance consultation with the respective program directors. Each applicant should complete the form below in full and submit for the appropriate signatures of approval.

Application Checklist – Please review to be sure you've completed everything related to the application process. A copy of the checklist should be submitted as a cover page for the application.

Application Form - Please note: We are not accepting new applications in the Fall 2020 semester for future terms. If you are intersted in viewing the application to prepare for future cycles, please email Taryn Roberts


If you previously applied for an FMIR position but were not selected, you do not need to reapply in full. Please notify Taryn Roberts to reactivate your application. In the email request to reactivate, please indicate program(s) and term(s); and if applying for a different program be sure that the respective director has approved the application; department head approval of teaching release may be sent by email or memo; an updated c.v., course or research proposal is optional.

Evaluation of the Faculty Member In Residence

Student evaluations of the orientation, administration and courses are done at the end of each semester. The directors base their evaluations of the FMIR on student evaluations, input from international faculty and the Center for Global Engagement staff, their own observations of the group and their working relationship with the FMIRs. The categories for evaluation include: 

  • Academic rigor.
  • Accessibility to students and faculty.
  • Communication skills.
  • Leadership.
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Knowledge of the city and country.
  • Concern for cultural experiences.
  • Concern for students' health and safety.
  • Program organization and financial management.
  • Program financial management.

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