The Spencer Fellowship for Education Reporting is open to journalists, educators and education researchers who want to develop an ambitious, long-form journalism project to advance the understanding of education for a general audience.
Four fellows will be selected for this highly competitive program, which combines coursework at Columbia Journalism School, Teachers College and beyond with hands-on advising from education writing experts.
Spencer Fellowship applicants are expected to submit the following for a complete package no later than Feb. 1, 2022 for the 2022-23 academic year. Successful applicants will be notified by April 1.
There are residential and non-residential options. For more information on the differences, see the About the Fellowship page.
NOTE: You must use the online application. We cannot process applications that are submitted in any other form. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
The application includes:
- A professional biography or resume.
- Three examples of your work that demonstrate a passion for education research and writing, including newspaper and magazine clips, broadcasts, films, books, monographs, academic reports, or other writing samples. Applicants with reporting experience in covering education or educators who are interested in journalism are preferred. You must provide links to any work you submit. We cannot distribute the work to the judges without links.
- An outline of a proposed project in education reporting, including projects currently in progress, must accompany the application, along with an essay explaining how a greater understanding in education research and expertise would materially enhance the project and your ability to cover education. Applicants are encouraged to show proof of publication of their work, either through a letter of commitment from a news organization or a book contract. The application should also include the commitment to cover education in the long term.
- A brief essay on proposed areas of research you anticipate pursuing at Columbia University, including research questions, professors and perhaps courses that may materially enhance your project.
- An essay about an education trend you have observed. This trend does not have to be related to your project. It is geared to see how you are following education trends and policies.
- Nonresidential candidates will write a separate essay indicating why this option makes more sense than a residential fellowship for you, and how you anticipate studying at Columbia and publishing your work. Anyone eligible may apply. Journalists working in local media markets with limited resources are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to pursue an in depth project for your audience that your news organization might find difficult to support.
- At least three letters of recommendation, including one from the publication that has shown interest in the project.
There are no academic prerequisites. However, the applicant must have an interest in pursuing academic coursework in support of the project. Applicants are encouraged to propose a course work of study, including a list of experts at Columbia who could be enlisted to work with the fellow.
The fellows will work with Columbia Journalism School faculty members who will serve as project advisers. A curriculum specialist will coordinate the selection of the fellows’ academic courses, preferably in the fall semester, either at Teachers College, the Journalism School or elsewhere at Columbia.
The fellowship begins the day after Labor Day with orientation the week before.
For questions, we encourage you to contact: Director, LynNell Hancock, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Associate Director, Barbara Kantrowitz, email@example.com