Visiting Fellows Program

SNF Agora Institute Background

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. By building integrated partnerships with scholars, practitioners, students, and the public, we use research to identify 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. 

For more information about the institute, please read SNF Agora’s strategic plan here. 

About the Visiting Fellows Program

The SNF Agora Visiting Fellows program supports the institute’s mission of strengthening global democracy by enablingus to expand its reach and incorporate a broader range of people into its work. This program will identify and recruit a select cohort of fellows from diverse sectors, disciplines, backgrounds, and ideologies to join the institute – typically for one semester or less – to work with our permanent faculty, researchers, and students. Visiting Fellows will 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 will open in January each year. Selected fellows join the institute for a defined time period—during the following academic year—to engage in various activities related to our core mission.

The institute welcomes Visiting Fellows from academia, civil society, government, industry, media, the performing arts, and elsewhere. Selected Visiting Fellows will work in collaboration with members of the SNF Agora Institute on a range of projects that could include, but are not limited to: 

  • Teaching a full-term seminar course (For AY 202122, the fall semester runs from 8/30/202112/6/2021 and the spring semester runs from 1/24/20224/29/22)
  • Teaching a half-term SOUL course to undergraduates (8/3010/25 or 10/2712/23)
  • Providing other forms of teaching or training to students, the greater JHU community, and/or other publics
  • Authoring a case study for the SNF Agora Case Study program about strategic challenges civic and political actors face in strengthening democratic practice
  • Partnering with SNF Agora Institute faculty on research or other projects
  • Defining and developing a conference, symposiumperformance, or other public engagement
  • Developing other content or strategic opportunities for the Institute
  • Offering guest lectures for student groups, SNF Agora and JHU faculty, or local publics

Visiting Fellows are invited to fully participate in the life of the SNF Agora Institute. The fellowship includes regular convenings with other Fellows and SNF Agora faculty, the opportunity to audit SNF Agora faculty courses, 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. 

To support their work during their fellowship and their residency in Baltimore, SNF Agora provides Visiting Fellows with a modest stipend to help defray costs of their time with the SNF Agora 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 $30,000 in a given academic year. (Please note this is a limitedterm position that does not carry benefits.) Fellows who have their own funding that would enable them to extend their time with the SNF Agora Institute should reach out to us. The SNF Agora Institute provides all Fellows with shared office space, some administrative support, and research support from students. The institute also provides assistance with locating short-term housing, where applicable. 

“My work in education policy includes translating research on the cultivation of democratic capacities into resources for use in the country’s K-12 school systems. The Fellowship at SNF Agora allowed me to be in conversation with scholars and practitioners across the country, whose approaches to civic formation sharpened my own and generated new partnerships that have already begun to bear fruit. It was a rare and welcome opportunity.”

Ashley Berner, Deputy Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy


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 on their proposed project(s) for a pre-determined period of time during the academic year. The specific time commitment and expected workload will be discussed in detail before an official offer is made. 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 select Visiting Fellows without regard for political preference, educational background, or place of residence.  

Selection Criteria

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. 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 participate in a variety of activities throughout their time with the institute. An agenda of commitments will be pre-determined before the Visiting Fellow’s start; however, they should indicate that they are available and willing 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.
  • Thematic Coherence: In selecting each cohort of fellows, we also pay special attention to the balance of expertise, backgrounds, and interests among our 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. 


The application cycle is now closed for the AY 2021-22 Visiting Fellows Program. If you are interested in applying for the following academic year, please check back in January for updated information about our application process. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at