The voices shaping the important conversations of our age, from racial unrest to income inequality and sustainability, are getting a little more diverse, thanks to Cornell University's Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship Program. The goal of the program is to increase the public impact of top underrepresented thinkers in the US, and to ensure that their ideas help shape important conversations taking place in society. The 2017 Fellows have been announced and include College of Arts Sciences faculty members:
- Jill Frank, associate professor, government
- Filiz Garip, professor, sociology
- Joanie Mackowski, associate professor, English
- Riché Richardson, associate professor, Africana studies
- Shirley Samuels, professor, English
- Phoebe Sengers, associate professor, information science and science technology studies
- Olúfémi Táíwò, professor, Africana studies
- Rachel Judith Weil, professor, history
- Dagmawi Woubshet, associate professor, English
The yearlong fellowship is run by the OpEd Project, a nonprofit that attempts to diversify the demographics of public discourse, broadening its overwhelming reliance on Western, white and privileged voices who represent a decreasing fraction of an increasingly diverse society.
Public Voices’ master journalists meet with the Cornell fellows four times a year, challenging them to think more expansively not only about their scholarship but also their responsibility for sharing it. The faculty members also learn specific techniques on how to break their knowledge into understandable chunks, use their research to make strong arguments and take advantage of the appeal of the counterintuitive idea.
The fellows also receive ongoing support from facilitators and each other via an active Google group. Once a month, they have a conference call with a “media gatekeeper,” such as an editor with a major media outlet. When the program ends in September, fellows will have access to the Public Voices’ mentor-editor network, a pool of more than 100 high-caliber journalists and editors.
The fellowships began at Cornell in 2014 through the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. They last one year and are granted to up to 20 individuals at a time.
Portions of this article appeared previously in the Cornell Chronicle.