College of Communication > About > Centers & Initiatives > The OpEd Project

The OpEd Project

Public Voices Fellowship

OpEd Project logo
The OpEd Project is a social venture founded to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world.
DePaul University is once again partnering with the OpEd Project to present the Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship Program beginning in December 2019. This program is open to all full-time DePaul faculty members, including tenure-line faculty and non-tenure track instructors and lecturers.

The OpEd Project aims to dramatically increase the influence and contribution of scholars as thought leaders shaping the important conversations of our age. The root problem is not a lack of knowledge or experience, but a culture in which diverse voices (especially those of women and men of color) rarely have the inside information, high-level support and connections to become influential on a large scale.

The purpose of the Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship program is to provide a group of diverse scholars with resources, support and skills over the course of a year to dramatically increase their visibility and influence as thought leaders in their universities and beyond.  This leadership often takes shape as published essays and op-eds, whose ideas shape not only academia but also the important social and political conversations of our age. Fellowships will be awarded to 20 individuals who will meet alternately on the LPC and Loop campuses four times during the 2019-2020 academic year.

The OpEd Project at DePaul is sponsored by the College of Communication, Un​​​iversity Marketing and Communications, and Academic Affairs.

2019-2020 Fellowship Details

The 2019-2020 program will include:

  • Three interactive Thought Leadership Seminars designed to expand thinking and amplify expertise
  • Weekly dedicated editorial support between seminars from a designated OpEd Project mentor-editor
  • Monthly talks with media experts and insiders- either in person or via conference call — drawn from the New York Times, CNN, Huffington Post, MSNBC, and other outlets ongoing High-Level Mentoring (one year of individual follow-up support from the OpEd Project Mentor-Editor pool)

More details on program features:

Public Voices Fellows will convene quarterly for a total of three seminars throughout the year: an initial 1.5-day seminar (“Foundations of Thought Leadership”) that begins the fellowship and explores how ideas and individuals become influential through high stakes scenarios and Socratic dialogue; and two mid-year, one-day seminars which are designed to stimulate cross-pollination of ideas, find connections between participants’ areas of focus and current news hooks, and generate concrete results (in the form of published op-eds/blog posts, TV and radio appearances; speaking opportunities, expert citations in the media, and more).

In addition, one or more of the seminars will feature conversations (in person or via teleconference) with top media thought leaders and gatekeepers from such outlets as the New York Times, CNN, the Chicago Tribune, and NPR, as well as brief media coaching for radio and television appearances.

In between each seminar, two dedicated OpEd Project Mentor-Editors will be assigned to oversee the group, providing individual coaching and feedback by phone and e-mail, and holding regular check-in conference calls designed to encourage and support participants in reaching their thought leadership goals. The dedicated Mentor-Editor(s) will edit, support, look for news hooks, provide individual feedback and encouragement, and otherwise help participants in any way they can, to ensure that participants succeed. DePaul has had three successful cohorts come through the OpEd Project Public Voices Fellowship program so far, with fellows publishing on average two to three op-eds each, in addition to other media appearances.

In between seminars, we will hold in-person or call-in conversations with top media gatekeepers from outlets such as: the New York Times (on how to become an expert source to a journalist); CNN (on how scholars get booked on TV); Wikipedia (how to contribute to and shape encyclopedic knowledge online); MSNBC (how academics can become major media commentators); and possibly with organizers or gatekeepers from major thought leadership conferences such as TED, Davos or PopTech. These calls also serve to foster cross-pollination of scholars across disciplines and across universities.

Throughout the fellowship year and for one year beyond, Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship participants will have access to the OpEd Project’s national network of Mentor-Editors: eighty high-level media thought leaders (among them: Pulitzer Prize winners, genius grant winners, former New York Times editorial board members, war correspondents, and nationally syndicated columnists) who each volunteer to mentor one individual per month. Public Voices scholars can use this resource any time they would like individual feedback on an idea or argument they are advancing in the form of an op-ed—as often as they like and as many times as they like beginning on the first day of the program and lasting for a full calendar year after the close of the program.

Program Dates

The Thought Leadership Seminars will alternate between the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses, given space availability, on the following dates:

  • Thursday, December 5, 2019: 10a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Friday, December 6, 2019: 10a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Friday, January 24, 2020: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Friday, March 6, 2020: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Application Process

Please answer the following brief application questions, and e-mail your responses to Applications are due by September 16, 2019.

If you have questions, please contact Carolyn Bronstein, Professor of Communication and Founding Faculty Director at, or Craig Klugman, Professor of Health Sciences and Faculty Director of the OpEd Project Public Voices Fellowship Program at

Please include the following with your application:

Personal Information

  • Full name
  • Department and college affiliation
  • DePaul faculty appointment including appointment status (e.g. associate professor of Biology, with tenure; or senior lecturer, Communication, Media and Cinema studies)
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number
  • Please attach your CV and also provide a 200-word (or less) professional bio that describes your area of research or scholarship, and any major publications or recognitions.


  • In 300 words or less, please describe why your research or scholarship is of public value and how it might inform the important conversations of our day. Why do you seek a public voice? What do you hope to achieve or communicate?
  • If you are accepted into the program, can you attend all four program gatherings (dates appear above)? We expect all participants to attend all four gatherings.
  • If you are accepted into the program, do you commit to write (with the support of the program) two op-ed essays? We hope that all participants will submit and publish these op-eds, with significant OpEd Project support.

Each application is reviewed by a committee of DePaul Public Voices alumni who represent a range of colleges at DePaul. Applicants are reviewed first in terms of their relative strength in their respective college pools, e.g. compared to other applicants from their own colleges. Later, they are reviewed with the composition of the larger cohort in mind, taking into account the need to balance membership across departments and colleges, and to ensure the potential for effective “cross-pollination.” That is, we look for fellows across colleges who are working on similar types of issues, or whose knowledge and/or expertise reveal interdisciplinary connections and potential for collaboration.

Some factors that contribute positively to a successful candidate profile include, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals who identify as female or nonbinary must make up more than 50 percent of the fellows per OpEd Project national guidelines
  • Potential to contribute diversity to the pool, which includes such demographic characteristics as race, religion and sexual orientation as well as ideological diversity
  • Senior status, e.g. full professors and associate professors and long-term instructors receive some preference, but all full-time faculty are eligible and can be selected
  • Significant weight is placed on the applicant’s admission statement and the ability to state clearly, without using academic jargon and other language inaccessible to a general reader, why she, he or they want to have a public voice. An applicant’s ability to link research expertise to concrete, current social issues and to explain why a perspective is valuable in reader-friendly, clear language is an important indicator of readiness to begin the program, and will be weighted heavily in the admissions process. As stated above, the potential for “cross-pollination” in the composition of the cohort as a whole is also a determining factor in fellow selection.

This process is a qualitative and holistic one, and demand for participation in the OpEd Project typically exceeds capacity. Not all qualified applicants will be selected to participate during the 2019-2020 year. However, applicants not selected this year will be eligible to apply in subsequent program years.

About the OpEd Project

The OpEd Project is a social venture founded to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world. We envision a world where the best ideas—regardless of where or whom they come from—will have a chance to be heard and to shape society and the world. We have successfully piloted programs to advance the voices of women and underrepresented scholars with major organizations and universities nation-wide, with stunning results: nearly 10,000 women and men have come through The OpEd Project, and have published op-eds, essays and much more in virtually every major media outlet, reaching hundreds of millions of readers. As a direct result participants have gone on to speak on national TV and radio, advance research and teaching careers, earn book contracts (or generate larger/more popular audiences for existing academic books), consult on national policy issues, take new leadership roles at their institutions, brief Congress, and become nationally recognized for their ideas.

Visit the national OpEd Project website for more information.