Visiting Fellows Program Offers Virtual Visits

The CIC Visiting Fellows program allows colleges and universities to host a prominent professional on campus to engage students, faculty, and community members in exploration of significant and complex issues. Visits often include large group lectures, intimate mentoring sessions, and a robust schedule that “embeds” the Fellows in campus culture. This fall, health precautions will make traditional campus visits inadvisable for many campuses and Fellows. For that reason, for the first time in the program’s history, in the 2020–2021 academic year institutions will be able to schedule virtual campus visits. Such virtual visits can be designed to include a wide range of activities, from formal webinars to departmental “chats” to consultations with small-groups or individual students.

CIC invites colleges and universities to visit the program website to review the roster of available Fellows and to submit an application online.

The roster includes a number of Fellows whose expertise can contribute to discussion of timely topics, such as criminal justice reform, immigration, hunger and isolation, civil rights, and presidential politics, including:

  • Janus Adams, one of four children selected to break New York’s de facto school segregation in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, who went on to be the co-executive producer and host of The Janus Adams Show, a weekly public radio program about race and courage; founding board member of Amistad America; and founder of BackPax, a history-based series for children;
  • Jane E. Best, an independent financial consultant and co-founder of God’s Love We Deliver, a New York City-based nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that has delivered nearly 2 million nutritious meals per year to people too sick to shop or cook for themselves;
  • Alan D. Bersin, former vice president of INTERPOL for the Americas Region, commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and chief diplomatic officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
  • Carroll Bogert, president of the Marshall Project, a nonprofit newsroom covering criminal justice issues in the United States, and former deputy executive director of Human Rights Watch;
  • Reggie Harris, a songwriter and storyteller steeped in the tradition of African American spirituals, folk, gospel, and the music of civil and human rights, who serves as the co-chair of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Living Legacy Project, a group committed to increasing the knowledge of and passing on of relevant lessons of the modern civil rights movement in keeping with the present day struggle for human rights; and
  • Danielle Gibbs Léger, a former special assistant to the president and director of message events in the Obama administration, who now serves as executive vice president for communications and strategy at the Center for American Progress.

A note on the program name

CIC operates the Visiting Fellows program for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. On June 30, the foundation released a statement on the foundation’s decision to change its name because “the racist policies and beliefs of Woodrow Wilson are fundamentally incompatible with the Foundation’s values and work.” The foundation expects to announce a new name this fall.

On July 7, CIC President Richard Ekman released a statement saying that CIC will refer to the program as the “CIC Visiting Fellows” program in the coming months. Once the foundation has announced its new name, CIC will revisit the question of the future name of the Visiting Fellows program.

Aspects of the program, such as its delivery mode and name, may change, but its mission endures. The goal of helping students make stronger connections between their academic programming, real world problems, and future professions remains as vitally important as ever.