Spencer candidates submit applications online to the Journalism School by February 1 for the following academic year. A distinguished board of education journalists and scholars convenes in March to select the following year’s cohort. The board considers the quality of the project proposal and the ability of the candidate to complete and publish. In addition, the board keeps in mind the suitability of the project for further study at Columbia.
Candidates are notified by the first of April about the results of that selection. The new fellows will be invited to a spring orientation meeting at Columbia to smooth their entry in the fall logistically and academically. Officially, the first day of the fellowship is the following August, when the new Master of Arts class convenes for orientation for the academic year. Classes begin right after Labor Day.
Each fellow is matched with a mentor from the Journalism School who helps shepherd their project. In addition, the fellows select an outside content advisor from any department outside the Journalism School that enhances their work. Meetings are set up on a one-on-one basis. The fellows meet regularly as a group with the director. Throughout the year, scholars and other professionals are invited to meet with the fellows for special dinners to share their research.
The fellows will have a workspace provided by the Journalism School, complete with computer terminals, phones and printers.
The journalism school’s methods course, Evidence and Inference, is required of all the fellows in the fall. In addition, fellows may make their own auditing arrangements with professors inside and outside the school throughout the year.
This is a residential fellowship. Fellows are expected to live within commuting distance of the Columbia campus, in order to participate in events, take classes, and meet with the director, their mentors, and other scholars during the course of the year. Fellows should not take on outside employment, except with the approval of the director. Fellows are responsible for finding housing. Access to Columbia housing is available on a limited basis.
The fellows are admitted as non-credit graduate students in order to comply with University requirements. Fellows can take advantage of all healthcare benefits and access to libraries and other school facilities available to Journalism students.
All U.S. citizens are eligible, including working journalists, freelancers and education professionals. There is no academic prerequisite required, nor a college degree. The most successful candidates are those with at least five years of experience in the field of education, and a demonstrated ability to research and tell stories journalistically. The strength of the project idea is key, along with the candidate’s ability to complete and publish or produce for a general audience.
Each fellow is awarded a $75,000 scholarship for personal living expenses. The scholarship is dispensed in two halves at the beginning of each semester. In addition, each fellow receives $7,500 a year for travel, and other project-related expenses.
Separately, the Spencer grant will cover the cost of tuition and other student fees, plus basic student health insurance.
How to apply:
The application is accepted online only. It will be activated at the end of the fall semester. In the meantime, please refer to the How to Apply information in this website to get a sense of the elements that are required.
Please contact Prof. LynNell Hancock, firstname.lastname@example.org.