Fellowship information

The Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) is an innovative approach to learning, partnering non-profit organizations in an international setting with carefully selected graduate student teams from the University of Michigan.  The objective of GIEP is to develop and apply information management and technology skills to deal with a contemporary social concern.  

UM graduate students, in teams of three to four, will work on real-world problems that have been proposed by partner organizations in Cape Town, South Africa. Students will be matched to projects and organization partners based on their past experiences, interests and skill set as demonstrated in the application and interview.

Participation and Eligibility
Graduate students from the University of Michigan are eligible to apply.  Projects require a range of skill sets and knowledge; students from all programs are encouraged to participate and will have the opportunity to share novel experiences and expertise. Students selected for the program will work in multi-disciplinary groups of three to four and will primarily come from the School of Information, which is the sponsoring academic unit.

The application deadline is January 11, 2017.  Students submit an application via M-Compass.

  • Students must be currently enrolled in the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Students must be in good academic standing
  • Students must apply to participate by the application deadline of January 11, 2017
  • Students must be in possession of a valid Passport, that does not expire in 2017 and is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the program, with two blank pages at time of travel
  • Students are required to enroll in SI 691 for six credits
  • Students must be willing to go to Chicago (international students may have additional requirements to fulfill) to obtain a volunteer visa to enter South Africa, if required by the consulate
  • Students must be able to attend a three-hour class that that runs on Mondays 9:00am - 12 noon from March 6 - April 17
  • Students must be able to commit to the on-site engagement in Cape Town between May 1 through July 1, 2017

2017 Projects and Information Sessions
The 2017 GIEP Information Session slides can be accessed here.  The next Information Session will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. in the UMSI Engagement Center.

Project descriptions can be found below:

Projects from the 2016 program included:  

View more information on the student experience from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 programs at the UMSI GIEP website and the GIEP Seelio gallery.  

Students will be required to apply via MCompass by 11:59pm, Wednesday, January 11, 2017. A select group of students will be invited for an interview the week of January 16, 2017.

Students will be notified of acceptance and and be required to commit by January 24, 2017. Students will be required to take part in a half semester weekly 3 hour class meeting that runs on Mondays 9:00 a.m. to 12:00pm, from March 6 through April 17, 2017. Students will leave for South Africa the first week of May for 9 weeks (through July 2, 2017). 

Program highlights
Selected students will have the opportunity to engage in the following experiences:

  • Skill development through engagement in high impact project opportunities with a range of organizations in the NGO in the public sector
  • Innovation through an experience in which students get to own a project and manage it with the guidance of project partner institution experts, users, and UMSI faculty
  • Development of a range of unique skills and contributions in a project that hits the ground running and takes students through various organizational and functional roles of a global information professional
  • In-depth cultural experience in a country with rich history and substantial socio-economic challenges associated with democratization and transformation
  • In-depth holistic training and preparation prior to departure, including health, safety, history, social identity, group dynamics, etc

Course Enrollment and Credit
Students will receive six credits for pre-departure activities and the in-country experience through enrollment in SI 691 for the Winter 2017 term.  Enrollment in the course for six credits is required.  Students will receive a "Y" on their transcript until course completion in July 2017. Grading will be Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Graduating students are allowed and encouraged to enroll; official graduation for graduating students will be in August 2017. Graduating international students who have completed the minimum internship requirement of six credits and all other course requirements are not eligible to participate.

Language of instruction: English 

Student selection

  • Students will be selected based on overall quality of application, selection fit, and ability to commit to participate
  • Students must be able to demonstrate the ability to work in a team setting, under tight-deadlines, and demonstrate adaptability in a range of situations
  • Previous international experience desired, but not required

Participants and project matching
Program design and capacity allows for approximately 15-18 University of Michigan graduate students primarily from the School of Information to travel to South Africa. Graduate students from all areas of the university are encouraged to apply to round out skill sets. Student teams will be matched to projects based on application, skill set, and interest.  The application process is competitive and there are no guarantees for acceptance into the program.

Student cost/expense
There is a $250 program fee to participate, which is required upon acceptance to participate in the program. The School of Information will provide transportation to South Africa, lodging and select support for in-country travel and meals required for project success. If selected to participate, student will be expected to cover personal expenses such as personal travel, passport and immunization costs, if necessary.

Students will be housed in loft-style shared apartments in Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa.  Each student will have their own room, but share common spaces such as kitchen and living room.

Passport and Visa Information
Students are required to possess a valid passport to participate in the program that does not expire in 2017 and has two blank pages. The School of Information will assist in the obtainment of entry/exit requirements; however, all students may be required to go to Chicago (or another South African Consulate) to obtain a visa.  The official embassy of your destination country, based on the nationality of your passport, determines the visa requirements and application process for each type of visa. Students are required to provide the necessary information in a timely manner as requested in order to ensure participation.

For more information on travel documents and pre-departure preparation, visit Students Abroad, a web site created by the US Department of State just for students. 

Contact information
Students interested in learning more about this program can sign up for updates at http://goo.gl/forms/I91ZPwEpdd

University of Michigan School of Information
777 N. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 936-8735
Web: giep.si.umich.edu