Visiting Fellows Program

The SNF Agora Visiting Fellows program supports the institute’s mission of strengthening global democracy by enabling us to expand our reach and incorporate a broader range of people into our work. This program identifies and recruits a select cohort of fellows from diverse sectors, disciplines, backgrounds, and ideologies to join the institute to work with our permanent faculty, researchers and students during the academic year. While Visiting Fellows join the institute to work on projects during a defined period–typically one semester or less–they are also active members of the institute community throughout the academic year, participating in community workshops, public programs, and more. Visiting Fellows contribute to an academic community that is open and permeable—based at Johns Hopkins but reaching well beyond its walls.   

Applications for the Visiting Fellows program open in January each year for participation during the following academic year. The institute welcomes applicants from civil society, government, industry, media, academia, the performing arts, and other fields. In some years, we will have thematic focus areas based on the work we anticipate doing at the institute. For this 2024-25 cycle, our focus areas are (1) elections and (2) modernizing civics education at the university level.  

Applicants are invited to propose their own projects in one of these two areas. Projects could include, but are not limited to:  

  • Teaching a full-term undergraduate seminar course on an elections issue or an issue of importance to modern civics educatione.g., critical thinking, research and information fluency, media and information literacy, or problem-solving skills. 
  • Teaching a full-term undergraduate seminar course on an elections issue or an issue of importance to modern civics educatione.g., critical thinking, research and information fluency, media and information literacy, or problem-solving skills.
  • Teaching a half-term course for first-year students on one of the above issues.
  • Providing other forms of teaching or training to students within the SNF Agora Minor in Civic Life, the SNF Agora Academy, the greater JHU community, and/or other publics related to civics education or elections. 
  • Partnering with SNF Agora Institute faculty on research related to the focus areas.
  • Developing and hosting a community of practice around one of the focus areas (examples of institute-supported communities of practice are here).
  • Designing and developing a symposium, performance, or other public engagement. 
  • Developing other content or strategic opportunities for the institute.
  • Developing other content or strategic opportunities for the institute related to the focus areas. 

To support a vibrant and collaborative community, SNF Agora Visiting Fellows are expected to be in Baltimore to meet the terms of their project (subject to COVID-19 or other public health restrictions). The institute is open to a variety of arrangements—an intensive month or weeks in residence, weeks in residence spread out over the course of a semester or year, weekly one-day visits over a semester to teach a class, or other proposed alternatives. We will work with fellows to ensure baseline levels of equity in residency expectations across the visiting fellows cohort, but still allow for individual flexibility. Visiting Fellows are also expected to participate in regular institute programming, including monthly community workshops, and are welcome to attend the institute’s many public programs during their time with SNF Agora. 


SNF Agora Visiting Fellows are invited to fully participate in the life of the SNF Agora Institute. The fellowship includes dedicated programming for Visiting Fellows, such as workshops and social gatherings, convenings with SNF Agora faculty and senior fellows, and inclusion in all invitation-only SNF Agora programming. Visiting Fellows also have the opportunity to meet with senior university leadership and faculty in disciplines related to their area of inquiry. And they have access to the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries and associated electronic resources available to the university for their research. Become a visiting fellow also means joining a growing community of practitioners and scholars committed to strengthening democracy.  

The SNF Agora Institute provides Visiting Fellows with a modest stipend to help defray the costs of their time with the institute. The stipend is pro-rated depending on the amount of time the fellow spends with the institute, the extent to which the fellow has housing needs in Baltimore, and other factors, and only rarely gets as high as $25,000 in a given academic year. (Please note this is a limited–term position that does not carry benefits.) Fellows who have their own funding that would enable them to extend their time with SNF Agora should reach out to us. The institute provides all fellows with shared office space, some administrative and marketing support, and research support from students where possible. The institute also provides assistance with locating short-term housing, where applicable. 


Applicants from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Prospective visiting fellows should have a clear idea of what they would like to contribute to the institute and the JHU community during their fellowship. They should be prepared to engage in their proposed project(s) for a pre-determined period during the academic year. The specific time commitment and expected workload will be discussed in detail before an official offer is made. Please see our FAQ for more information. 

The institute is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and reiterates its full support of  Johns Hopkins’s policies and statements in this regard. We add to these policies our own commitment to selecting visiting fellows without regard for political preference or educational background.

Selection Criteria

In general, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow applicants will be considered for participation in the program based on the following criteria:  

  • Relevance of Project to SNF Agora: The applicant’s proposed project must be related to and/or complement the work of SNF Agora and its stated fellowship focus areas. Ideal visiting fellows will be able to draw a clear line from their application proposal to the SNF Agora mission.
  • Capacity: The applicant must have the capacity within their schedule to organize and lead the range of activities they propose for their time with the institute, and participate in institute programs organized for them. An agenda of commitments will be pre-determined before the visiting fellow’s start; however, they should indicate their availability and willingness to commit to a variety of engagements throughout their fellowship.
  • Collaboration: The applicant should be willing to collaborate with other SNF Agora fellows, faculty, staff, students, and the greater JHU community. As communication and open dialogue are integral to the mission of our institute, these principles are also strong components of our programming.
  • Cohort Coherence: In selecting each cohort, we also pay special attention to the balance of expertise, backgrounds, and interests among our visiting fellows. Each year, we seek to select a group of fellows whose work will complement each other, as well as the work of the institute and its thematic focus area, when offered. 

For the 2024-25 cohort, applications will be accepted through Sunday, March 10. Decisions regarding acceptance into the Visiting Fellows  program will be communicated in late April 2024.

If you have any questions, please reference our FAQ or send us an email at [email protected].

About the SNF Agora Institute 

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, founded in 2017, is a multi-disciplinary academic and public forum dedicated to strengthening global democracy by improving and expanding civic engagement and inclusive dialogue, and supporting inquiry that leads to real-world change. Through integrated partnerships with scholars, practitioners, students, and the public, we identify, research, and sharpen strategic choices that members of the public and civic and political stakeholders around the world can make to realize the promise of democracy.  

You can read more about SNF Agora’s mission and impact here