University of Illinois System

OpEd Project/Public Voices Fellowship

The Public Voices Fellowship is a year-long program open to faculty that provides a cohort of twenty thought leaders, the majority of whom will be underrepresented (including women), with extraordinary support, leadership skills and knowledge to ensure their ideas shape not only their fields, but also the greater public conversations of our age. 

The Public Voices Fellowship is open to all faculty members at any of the three universities. Nominations can be submitted through May 22, 2024. Applications can be submitted online. Application deadline is May 28, 2024.

Program Description

The Public Voices Fellowship at the University of Illinois System is part of a prestigious national initiative to change who writes history. The internationally acclaimed curriculum and method explore leadership, power, and action in an unfair world. Using time tested methods of transformational learning, fellows explore how credibility works, how ideas spread, when and why minds change, and how ideas play out over time and space. This program will engage selected fellows in intense, results-oriented thinking and activities around their own knowledge and impact. It will provide the inside information, high-level support, and media connections to become influential on a large scale. Other participating institutions include Yale, Dartmouth, Northwestern, The Ford Foundation, and more. Fellows completing the one-year fellowship will join a national network of peers, allowing for knowledge-sharing and innovation across institutions.


The Fellowship has a track record of stunning results, generating personal, professional, and public outcomes with far-reaching implications, and that includes the inaugural cohort at the University of Illinois. Fellows have published in high-impact venues. They have briefed Congress, advised the White House, launched new research studies and centers, and sparked national and international debate. They have written books, collaborated on research grants, and driven policy change. The resulting impact of their ideas entering public consciousness has been expansive and is hard to overstate.


Fellows participate in four convenings, scheduled in the fall and throughout the spring. Fellows are also assigned to collaborate with veteran journalist mentors for dedicated one-on-one coaching throughout the year. In addition, fellows will have periodic opportunities to join calls with public thinkers and influencers and will receive weekly customized email support and news alerts. Upon completion of the fellowship, they will have access to a powerful network of peers, as well as to The OpEd Project's national network of high-level journalist mentors.

Fellows must commit to participate in all four sessions. The time for the sessions scheduled as Zoom days will be determined:

  • Wednesday, September 4 through Friday, September 6, 2024 (three half days via Zoom)
  • Friday, November 1, 2024 (one full day in person at UIUC or UIC - 10:00am to 5:00pm)
  • Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7, 2025 (two half days via Zoom)
  • Thursday, April 10 and Friday, April 11, 2025 (two half days via Zoom)

The Public Voices Fellowship is an initiative launched by The OpEd Project in partnership with leading universities and foundations nationwide.  Additional information may be found at the following sites:

More info about Public Voices Fellowship

More info about The OpEd Project

What's it like? Watch a short video: Public Voices Fellowship at Emory University