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Exploring Urban Sustainability through India's Cities

India (Delhi - Lucknow - Jaipur)

Seminar Overview: "Urban Sustainability"

To support community colleges and minority-serving institutions, CAORC offers fully-funded overseas seminars that help faculty and administrators gain the requisite first-hand experience needed to improve courses connecting international issues with domestic concerns, thereby underscoring global interconnections through the creation of new and innovative curricular and teaching materials.

This seminar, administered by CAORC in collaboration with its member center in India, the American Institute of Indian Studies, funds participation in a two-week seminar that will include visits to the Indian cities of Delhi, Jaipur, and Lucknow to understand the varying economic, cultural, social, and environmental pressures confronting emerging cities as more and more Indians migrate to urban areas in search of work and opportunity. As towns grow into cities and as cities morph into megacities, what can be done to ensure that demands for quality economic opportunities and decent standards of living are balanced against increased pressures on the environment, energy resources, and threatened cultural sites and traditions?

In addition to exploring the overlapping and cross-cutting challenges and opportunities created by India’s rapid urban development, participants will gain first-hand experience—through specialist-led site visits and cultural excursions—of India’s fascinating history, culture, languages, religions, and contemporary society that can be harnessed to address urban sustainability. Throughout the program, participants will learn from and have the opportunity to partner with university faculty engaged in international collaboration and exchanges, community leaders, and Non-Governmental Organizations engaged in programs related with Sustainable Development in India. Round-trip travel, accommodations, in-country transportation, and meals will be provided for the seminar.

​Seminar dates: December 26 - January 13, 2024


Meet the AIIS Seminar Leaders


Sandria B. Freitag looks forward to learning with the fourth cohort of the AIIS-CAORC overseas faculty development seminars on urban sustainability in India.  The creativity of these fellows in framing comparative issues in many disciplines that enable students to understand differing perspectives and experiences is immensely revealing and exciting.  Her own teaching connects social innovation from NGOs to social movements with sustainability issues ranging from livelihood to environmental interventions, often within the frame of world history, and is reflected directly in the explorations offered in this FDS program in India.

In terms of her research – also directly connected to the explorations undertaken in India – her current (in press) study of the first two ‘mass’-produced and -consumed forms of visual culture (photographs and posters),  is situated at the intersection of everyday life and historical change.  This work also is reflected in essays now being published on “the public” and the place of crafts in India’s charitable world. Earlier work included Community and Collective Action (1989) as well as several edited essay collections, including The Visual Turn in South Asian Studies (2015).  She teaches History at North Carolina State University, and received her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley.


The program is open to full-time or part-time faculty and administrators at U.S. community colleges or minority-serving institutions. A directory of MSIs can be found at the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions. The program is open to faculty in all fields, at all academic ranks, and from any academic or administrative department.  

Applicants may apply to only one (1) of the CAORC Overseas Faculty Development Seminar opportunities being offered for 2024. Applications to more than one seminar will be considered ineligible. Applicants who apply to more than one seminar may be removed from consideration for all seminars. 

CAORC and the U.S. Department of State do not require any vaccinations to participate in the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, however the host countries, overseas research centers, individual sites, and communities that are part of the FDS program schedule may have their own requirements for vaccination. These requirements may change from the time of application to the time of travel. 

Applicants must be U.S. citizens at the time of application and must hold a valid, current U.S. passport that does not expire within six months of the last date of the program.

Program Expectations

As an outcome of the Overseas Faculty Development Seminar program, participants are required to develop and implement a project to increase internationalization on their campus. Details and examples of these projects will be shared with awardees during pre-departure orientation. Projects should be implemented within one year of the conclusion of the program, at which time participants will be asked to submit a project report and share curriculum and/or documentation of the project for inclusion on CAORC's Open Educational Resources site.

Participants are also required to contribute a short article for the CAORC blog Field Notes. This article should be submitted within three months of the program.

Application Process

Applications can be accessed via CAORC's SM Apply application portal. You must sign up for an account to access the seminar application. This will allow you to save and return to your application before submitting. Please save your login/password information for future applications.

​In addition to providing basic personal and professional information, applicants are required to respond to the following essay questions (up to 500 words each):

  1. Please describe your professional and/or academic interest in participating in the faculty development seminar to India. How will your professional and personal experiences, qualifications, and perspectives allow you to make the most of the seminar opportunity?

  2. Please describe how participation in this seminar is essential for your own professional development, i.e., improving your teaching, research, and/or administrative activities. How will you benefit professionally and personally from participating in the seminar?

  3. Please describe how participation in this seminar will directly impact your teaching, curriculum, and/or research. What specific projects, courses, or activities do you envision resulting from the seminar? More broadly, how might the experience positively impact your students, colleagues, institution, and/or community?

  4. Please discuss an occasion or time when you were confronted with attitudes, perspectives, values, or behaviors different from your own. How did you respond and what did you learn about yourself and your attitudes from the experience?

​In addition, applicants are required to:

  • ​Upload a current cv/resume (maximum of 2 pages)

  • Request a letter of support from a department chair, academic division head, or academic dean at your college or institution. You will be able to send a link to your recommender via the online grant portal, SM Apply, by entering their contact details, which will trigger the system into sending an automated email. Your recommender will then be able to upload their letter. Recommendation letters will be confidential in the system.​In their letter, the recommender should address the following questions/points:

    1. Please tell us why you support the applicant’s participation in the CAORC faculty development seminar. From your perspective, how will they benefit professionally from the program?

    2. Please describe the applicant’s engagement with your institution’s internationalization efforts and how their participation in the seminar might benefit students, colleagues, and the broader campus community.

    3. Please discuss the applicant’s collegiality, teamwork, and professionalism. How have they demonstrated the ability to cooperate, work, and share with others to achieve goals and positive outcomes?

  • It is advisable to enter your recommender's contact details into the recommendation letter section of the application as soon as possible (and click 'mark as complete') so that they have sufficient time to complete and upload their letter. The applicant is responsible for checking in with their recommender to ensure the letter is submitted by the recommender deadline. CAORC is not able to reach out to recommenders on behalf of the applicant. 

Opening date for applications: April 19, 2023

Application deadline: September 18, 2023 at 5:00pm ET

Recommendation letter deadline: September 21, 2023 at 5:00pm ET

Notification of award decisions: October 31, 2023


If you have questions, please email:


Funding for this program is provided to CAORC through a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with additional financial assistance from the following U.S. National Resource Centers in South Asian Studies: Cornell University, Syracuse University, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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