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Thank you for your interest in the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellows Program.

The UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement explores how the fundamental democratic and academic principles of free speech and civic engagement should enrich the discovery and transmission of knowledge in America’s colleges and universities. We are now accepting applications for our 2021-2022 Fellows Program.

About the Fellowship

Each year, the Center selects fellows from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds such as law, journalism, higher education, social science, technology and government.

Fellows receive funding to further the national conversation related to expression and democratic participation on college campuses including how to advance campus dialogue and further diversity and inclusion.

The Center welcomes candidates from all backgrounds to apply. As part of the University of California, the Center is committed to promoting diversity and equal opportunity in its education, services and administration, as well as research and creative activity.

The Center invites a wide range of projects. We are especially interested in projects that will have a direct impact on individuals and communities across campus. We are focused on projects that enhance our understanding of how free speech is -- and can be practiced -- as well as how to foster civic engagement in American higher education. For more information about the work of previous fellows, click here.

Some examples of themes, topics and activities that fit within the Center’s mission include: 

  • The interface between diversity, inclusion and free speech on campus
  • The pandemic's impact on free expression, activism and civic engagement
  • The relationship between free speech, facts and falsehoods amid campaigns of disinformation and misinformation
  • The evolving definition of academic freedom in response to the national and global climate
  • The impact of social media and other technological advancements like remote learning platforms on campus discourse
  • The relationship between free expression and social justice
  • Navigating values-based polarization in higher education
  • Free speech policies and their impact on marginalized populations
  • How to incorporate a commitment to civic engagement into everyday life on campus
  • Understanding what motivates civic engagement among diverse campus groups
  • The connection between international events and expression on campus

This is not a residential fellowship. Selected fellows will be awarded $20,000 to support their work, and up to $5,000 in research funds will be available as needed.

Fellows are expected to participate in two one-day colloquia with fellow award holders on a UC campus, at the UC Center in Washington, D.C. or virtually. Travel and accommodation will be covered by the Center if applicable.

Involvement and interaction with the UC community is critical to the Center’s mission. Over the course of the program, Fellows will be provided access to resources and connections throughout the 10-campus UC system as befits their research. Fellows are encouraged to seek out opportunities to interact with UC students and faculty and organize or participate in campus activities directed at furthering awareness and engagement regarding speech and civic engagement. 

Applications are due by Friday, March 5 at midnight. If you have questions, please feel free to contact freespeechcenter@uci.edu

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.