Applications will be accepted until Monday, January 8th, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Apply here.
About the Visiting Scholars Program
The Institute for Rebooting Social Media’s Visiting Scholars program supports scholars advancing projects that investigate the problems and opportunities of networked communication and social media.
We encourage candidates from a broad range of disciplines and with varying research interests to apply. Individuals within our previous cohorts have had backgrounds spanning law, philosophy, media studies and communications, and computer science, and have found the program’s interdisciplinary approach beneficial to their own work. We encourage you to read more about our 2023-2024 Visiting Scholars here.
Opportunities and Expectations
EXECUTING A PLANNED PROJECT:
As part of their application materials, prospective scholars should describe a specific project that would be carried out during their tenure with RSM. Although individual academic outputs (articles, studies, manuscripts) may be included in the proposal, they ought not to be the centerpiece. We are most interested in supporting projects that convene experts and stakeholders on key issues and produce a multitude of publicly accessible artifacts. Representative examples from past cohorts include:
- A multi-day conference bringing together trust and safety workers to discuss the field’s past, present, and future;
- A closed-door workshop for regulators, platform representatives, and content creators to produce federal policy and industry standard recommendations to advance the creator economy.
Successful proposals will include a detailed overview of goals, format, and outputs, as well as plans for execution.
We understand that projects might benefit from additional administrative, research, communications, and/or financial support in order to be executed. If this is the case, please include an outline of requested staff support and an estimate of associated costs in the project proposal. Limited funding is available. For especially resource-intensive projects, if selected, RSM may work with the Visiting Scholar to secure supplementary project-specific funding.
ENGAGING WITH INSTITUTE PARTICIPANTS AND PROGRAMMING:
Beyond this required project, Visiting Scholars are expected to engage with faculty, staff, students, and other members of the RSM, BKC, and Harvard University communities. Visiting Scholars will be required to take part in a weekly cohort meeting and will be expected to regularly participate in the Center’s programming (within reason, of course!) to learn with and from others and strengthen their own work. This programming could include speaking at and/or participating in workshops, research sessions, working groups, as well as collaborating with other Visiting Scholars or members of the broader BKC community.
TIME AND LOCATION COMMITTMENTS:
The Visiting Scholars program will run for the full academic year, from September 2024 to August 2025. Visiting Scholars are expected to be free of the majority of their regular commitments so that they may fully devote themselves to the work outlined in their application. We do recognize that Visiting Scholars who bring their own funding might have specific commitments due to their funding arrangements.
Visiting Scholars will be required to be in residence in Cambridge, MA for at least one full semester of their appointment, although Scholars are welcome (and encouraged!) to spend the full academic year on campus. During the time spent in residence, they will work from the Berkman Klein Center’s offices on the Harvard Law School campus. During any time not physically on campus, Visiting Scholars will be expected to participate in programming remotely.
Eligibility and Qualifications
RSM seeks to be a space for both established scholars and emerging ones, particularly those under-represented in the field.
The Visiting Scholar Program welcomes applications from faculty…
- For whom serving as a professor is their full-time commitment, including assistant, associate, and full professors or equivalent roles in countries outside of the U.S.;
- From any discipline whose scholarship deeply engages with ideas related to social media and networked communication;
- Who have a clear vision of their proposed project and a clear sense of the problem(s) their work is addressing;
- Who are eager to engage in a cohort setting with other faculty around key questions on the future of social media and networked communication;
- With a commitment to centering equity, inclusion, and justice in their work;
- Who have prior published work in this space and a demonstrated record of contributing to public and scholarly conversations.
International applicants: We work with the Harvard International Office (HIO) to sponsor visa paperwork for our eligible international scholars. An outline of the visa application process and requirements may be found on the HIO website at: http://hio.harvard.edu/scholar-visa-process.
All participants must be eligible to receive a stipend; further details below.
RSM funding: RSM has a limited pool of funding to support Visiting Scholars taking unpaid leave from their home institutions. Visiting Scholars are eligible to receive stipends of $37,500 per semester in residence, up to a total of $75,000 annually. For the semester not in residence, Visiting Scholars are eligible to receive a stipend of $10,000. The first semester stipend arrangements are guaranteed; we will conduct a mid-year review with Visiting Scholars to share feedback, review engagement, and check in on research progress; if scholars are on track, we will authorize funding for the second semester.
External funding: applicants on paid sabbatical from their home institution or otherwise supported by external funding. RSM will complement this funding with an additional stipend totalling $10,000 that can be used for living, travel, and research expenses. Applicants receiving external funding are not eligible to receive the $37,500 per semester in residence.
We understand that projects might benefit from additional administrative, substantive, communications, and/or financial support in order to be executed. RSM has a limited pool of funding to support the projects of Visiting Scholars, which we welcome discussing on a case-by-case basis, and may work with the Visiting Scholar to secure supplementary project-specific funding.
Visiting Scholars will have the option to hire a part-time Harvard University student research assistant during the duration of their appointment. Wages for research assistants of up to $2,500 for the year will be paid by RSM, in addition to the stipend described above.
Some important formalities:
- Please note that the Visiting Scholars program is not considered employment, and Visiting Scholars will not be entitled to severance pay or layoff benefits upon culmination of the program.
- If one is based in the United States but is not a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder), one’s immigration status must allow for the receipt of a Visiting Scholar stipend.
- Visiting Scholars may be responsible for tax reporting on their stipends. More information about stipends issued through Harvard University may be found here.
Access to University Resources
For their time spent in Cambridge, Visiting Scholars will be provided with shared office/work space. We endeavor to provide comfortable and productive spaces for coworking and flexible use by the community. Visiting Scholars are supported in their efforts to host small meetings and gatherings at BKC and in space on the Harvard campus. BKC’s office is wheelchair accessible, and our bathrooms are gender-neutral.
- Health Insurance: Visiting Scholars are not eligible to purchase health insurance through Harvard University.
- Housing: Visiting Scholars are eligible to use Harvard University housing services.
- Library Access: All Visiting Scholars will be provided with access to Harvard’s extensive libraries and research facilities.
- Courses: Visiting Scholars may seek opportunities to audit classes across Harvard University. They must, however, ask for direct permission from the professor of the desired class.
- Campus Resources: Visiting Scholars are welcome and encouraged to connect with Harvard University’s countless research centers, initiatives, resource groups, associations, organizations, and specialized offices.
TEACHING AT HARVARD
Visiting Scholars may be able to teach at one of several Harvard schools. This would be determined on a case-by-case basis, arranged directly by the Visiting Scholar in collaboration with the respective schools’ administrations. RSM cannot promise any teaching engagement during the program.
Community Principles, Policies, and Resources
The Berkman Klein Center community, and how we interact with one another, is governed by norms and policies developed and maintained by Harvard University and Harvard Law School. The Center maintains a page to highlight community principles, policies, and resources, as well as other applicable policies and resources for accessing additional University support.
Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
The work and well-being of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are strengthened by our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and more. We seek and welcome applications from people of diverse backgrounds, including Black, Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino/Latina/Latinx people; LGBTQIA+ people; non-binary people; women; people with disabilities; people at intersections of these identities; and people from and working across the spectrum of disciplines.
Applications will be accepted until Monday, January 8th, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. Apply here.
In addition to standard personal and work-related questions, applicants will be required to upload the following documents. Please consider this information carefully and ensure your attachments meet these requirements:
- Academic CV
- 1-2 page cover letter: if applicable, kindly alert us to any relevant deadlines at your home institution that might affect your ability to accept a Visiting Scholar appointment.
- 2-3 page project proposal: a summary of your proposed project, including an estimate of related costs and requested staff support (if applicable). What question or problem will the project address? How will the project address it? How, specifically, will you use your Visiting Scholarship to advance and complete the project? How might your work benefit the fields of Internet and society, public interest networked communication, and social media?
- 1-3 work samples
If contacted for an interview, you should be prepared to share reference letters from two references. At least one reference should be academic; the other can be from a practitioner in the fields of Internet and society, networked communication, and social media; or both references can be academic.