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Call for Faculty Applications for Public Voices Fellowships

Office of the Provost says applications due by Aug. 22 for Thought Leadership Program

EVANSTON, Ill. --- For the third year in a row, the Office of the Provost is sponsoring the Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship Program for 20 full-time Northwestern University faculty members during the upcoming academic year.

The mission of the program, created in partnership with The OpEd Project, is to provide women and underrepresented voices opportunities to enhance the reach of their academic expertise in national and international forums -- through commentary and multiple platforms.

A new class of faculty will be selected this fall following the faculty’s “extraordinary success in raising their visibility and influence in a public forum” during the first two years of the program, according to Lindsay Chase-Landsdale, associate provost for faculty.

Faculty across all disciplines are encouraged to submit an application by Aug. 22.

In the 2013-2014 program, Northwestern faculty placed more than 70 op-eds on issues from organ transplantation to international law and health literacy in outlets including The Atlantic, CNN, The Guardian, Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, Pacific Standard, Chicago Tribune, Quartz and dozens more.

With more than 150 total faculty successes across media platforms, including keynotes, speeches, appearances on panels, television, radio, digital outlets and more, the faculty met for four gatherings and were mentored weekly by two journalists.

“The Public Voices Fellowship has been one of the most valuable opportunities I have had in my career to date,” said Paloma Toledo, M.D., an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “I learned that not only do I have an opinion that matters, but that the process of sharing my knowledge through thought leadership can be as impactful as research that I publish in peer-reviewed journals,” said Toledo, who participated in the 2013-2014 fellowship.

Toledo, who studies health disparities in ethnic communities, added, “The training is unparalleled. I would say that if you are given the opportunity to do this, it is worth making the time to fit this into your busy schedule.”

The inaugural year of the program in 2012-2013 highlighted the thought leadership of faculty from sociology, education, medicine, law and political science in scores of outlets including Time, PBS, Huffington Post, The New York Times and Al Jazeera.

“This program demonstrates the University’s investment in faculty with the wider strategic goal of having the greatest ideas heard from a diverse cross section of experts from across the Northwestern community,” said Michele Weldon, director of the fellowship, and assistant professor emerita in service at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Northwestern joins a cohort of other universities -- including Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia, Emory and Cambridge universities -- and others engaging diverse faculty with fellowship programs through The OpEd Project.

Public Voices Fellowship leaders do weekly coaching and editing with participants one on one, and fellows are invited to monthly gatekeeper calls with leading journalists from The New York Times and CNN to MSNBC and other outlets. For one year after the fellowship, faculty are part of the Mentor-Editor Program and can submit their work to be matched for input from a group of top journalists across the world.

“Discussions of the behind-the-scenes processes among editors helped explain how one should approach op-ed submissions,” said Eszter Hargittai, Delaney Family Professor in the communication studies department and faculty associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.

“The program was also beneficial for encouraging writing not just about one’s research expertise, but other specialty and interest areas as well,” said Hargittai, who heads the Web Use Project at Northwestern and is also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. She was in the 2013-2014 fellowship program.

For the upcoming academic year, Northwestern faculty fellows commit to attending the quarterly meetings on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, Jan. 23, March 27 and May 15. They also commit to a minimum output of two expressions of thought leadership from op-eds to keynotes. Many fellows reach from five up to 10 successes during the length of the program.

Applications and inquiries can be sent to Daphne Fair-Leary at

Watch a video of the 2013-2014 Pubic Voices Fellowship Program here.

Watch a video of the 2012-2013 Public Voices Fellowship Program here.