Advice, Policies, and Application Procedures for Prospective Visiting Scholars and Students
The Department is often approached by scholars and graduate students from other institutions who have plans to spend time in New York and who are seeking a "visiting" (courtesy) affiliation with us. We are delighted to host several Visiting Scholars and Students annually, under a variety of program auspices, and many of us have been graciously hosted at sister institutions in the past. Visiting Scholars and Students enhance the life of our community and create new connections for future exchanges.
However, especially because we are in New York City, a world center for music performance, composition, and research, we receive far more requests for such affiliations than we can possibly honor, and can only accept a small number of affiliated visitors in any given year. Setting up an appointment as a Visiting Scholar or Student (especially for international visitors, where there are visa issues involved) is a complex, time-consuming process for the Department's office staff. It is also important to understand that Columbia provides no financial compensation, assistance, or support, and no health insurance, to Visiting Scholars and Students. We cannot provide office space, support services, or other major resources. Also be aware visiting scholars and students are not eligible for Columbia IRB review; if your research requires IRB approval, it must be obtained from your home institution. In short, a visiting appointment is a courtesy status, with very limited privileges beyond the affiliation as such.
Here are some general guidelines to follow if you are seeking such an affiliation.
1) Potential Visiting Students: GSAS and the Department of Music will permit students enrolled in other graduate programs (at the doctoral level only, that is, you must be a candidate for a PhD or DMA in your home institutions) in Music to spend up to one year (only) in residence, subject to faculty approval. Visiting students must be affiliated with a sponsoring program (such as one of several university consortia or a major granting agency such as Fulbright or DAAD).
2) Potential Visiting Scholars: The Department (governed by University policy) can invite colleagues with significant credentials (typically a faculty or postdoctoral appointment at another university, although there are other possible qualifiactions) to spend up to one year (which is renewable for one additional year only under very particular circumstances) in residence as Visiting Scholars. Generally, such visitors are supported by their home institution (such as a sabbatical leave) or by a major granting agency (for example, Fulbright).
3) Potential VIsiting Scholars and Students: The process for applying for visiting status requires that you:
a) Give us significant advance notice, generally meaning you contact us (see below for who and how) at least a semester before your visiting period begins, and up to one year in advance.
b) Send an initial email inquiry directly to the Department Chair (for 2013-14: Prof. Gerbino).
c) Copy the email request to the head of the relevant academic area of the Department (2013-14: Prof. Boynton for Historical Musicology; Prof. Dubiel for Music Theory; Prof. Fox for Ethnomusicology; Prof. Lerdahl for Composition)
d) Also copy the email request to Music's Academic Department Administrator (Anne Gefell, email@example.com).
e) Include a CV (curriculum vitae), and
f) a brief statement of your reasons for wanting to be at Columbia specifically, and your research or dissertation proposal if appropriate.
g) Provide, or be prepared to provide, two names of references, generally faculty members in another music department. We may choose to contact your references for a letter, so let them know you've listed them or have them send a letter directly by email to the Chair. Ideally, such references should be provided in English if possible. Letters of reference from non-academic sources are discouraged.
h) If you are funded for the proposed visiting period, provide information (in your initial communication) on the source of support and contact information for the supporting agency so that we can verify your support. If you are in the process of seeking funding and require us to attest that we will accept you as a visitor (sometimes the case with Fulbright and other fellowships), we will do so only after we have approved your application as a visitor by the same process described above. We do not do so routinely unless it is necessary and we would otherwise be able to accommodate you. Therefore, make sure you contact us early in your process of seeking funding with the same materials requested above.
4) Visiting Scholars are generally expected to deliver a colloquium presentation on their research in the Department during their period of residency for no additional compensation.
5) In general, Visiting Students are welcome to attend appropriate classes and seminars with instructor permission, and for credit only if the sponsoring program requires this and has a reciprocal arrangement for Columbia students. Visiting Scholars are generally not expected (nor generally encouraged) to attend classes or seminars, but may do so as auditors only, and with individual instructor permission only. Visiting Scholars do not teach in any formal capacity at Columbia while they have Visiting status. (Do not confuse the status of "Visiting Scholar" with the appointed status of "Visiting Professor". A Visiting Scholar is not considered a member of the Columbia faculty in any sense.)
6) All visitors must have a sponsoring faculty member during their residency. We can suggest such sponsors for you, but if no member of the faculty is willing to undertake your sponsorship, we simply cannot accommodate you. We generally show preference for visitors whose work is of direct interest to at least one member of our faculty. If you already have a relationship with (or a referral to) a Columbia Music faculty member, approach that person first to determine their interest in sponsoring your Visiting status.
7) Visiting Scholars and Students must be approved by a majority of the full-time faculty in the Department. This is an important reason why you must give us at least several months' advance notice ahead of your planned period of residency. Our faculty meets only once a month, approximately. It can take several months to schedule vote on a request.
8) While Columbia's International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will assist international Visiting Scholars and Students, the visitor is solely responsible for knowing and conforming to applicable immigration and customs policies and laws. There may be fees attached to processing your visa paperwork for Visiting status, and if so, you (or your granting agency or home institution) are expected to cover those fees. Under no circumstances will the Department of Music ever cover such fees.
9) In general, we can accept a maximum no more than four Visiting Scholars and no more than three Visiting Students at any one time. Once again, if you are hoping to be affiliated with us as a Visitor, you must make contact with the Department Chair's office (not just an individual faculty member) with your request as far in advance as possible. Irrespective of the merit of individual requests, and to be fair, we allocate Visiting Scholar/Student positions in the order in which requests for such positions reach us and are approved by the faculty. The earlier you can petition for Visiting status to the Chair's office, the better your chances of us being able to accommodate you. Even a highly qualified application cannot be approved on short or late notice.
10) No individual member of the faculty can approve or confirm Visiting status for a scholar or student without approval from the Department Chair's office and a majority of the full-time faculty, nor can any other agency or office at Columbia University. Formal requests must be sent to the Chair and the appropriate Area head for action on a request for Visiting status to begin. Again, you are welcome to contact the faculty member you'd most like to work with or to whom you have been referred for sponsorship before contacting the Department Chair and the appropriate Area head, and it might well be a good idea to do so (and to reference such prior correspondence in your formal request for Visiting status). But your request is not formally initiated until it has been made to the Department Chair and Area head as described above.
11) Former visiting scholars and students SHOULD NOT claim to have earned a degree from Columbia or attended a Columbia University-sponsored training program unless the terms of their sponsorship specify otherwise (IUDC visiting students, for example). "Visiting" status is not enrollment or matriculation. Nor should current Visiting Scholars or Students claim a Columbia University affiliation for such professional purposes as conference presentations, media appearances, or publications. A visiting scholar or student's very limited affiliation with Columbia begins and ends with the period of visiting appointment. We do not, ever, issue credentials, degrees, or subsequent formal affiliation to visiting scholars or students.