2012-13 Fellows

New York, NY – April 23, 2012 – Columbia Journalism School has named three journalists as the 2012-2013 Spencer Fellows in Education Reporting to pursue projects that will examine the crucial roles of community colleges, of Advanced Placement curriculum, and of high-stakes testing in the nation’s education system and in its future. The Fellows were selected by a distinguished board of education experts and journalists in a competitive application process.

The new fellows are Liz Bowie, a longtime education reporter at The Baltimore Sun; Ann Hulbert, an accomplished author and contributing editor and writer for Slate, The New York Times Magazine, and others; and Heather Vogell, an investigative education reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Each fellow will receive a $75,000 stipend and expenses to spend the academic-year sabbatical studying with scholars throughout the Columbia campus and working on their projects under the guidance of professors at the Columbia Journalism School in New York.

“We are looking forward to pooling all our many resources on campus to work with these accomplished journalists,” said Prof. LynNell Hancock, an expert on education and child and family policy reporting, who serves as the curriculum director for the fellows during their year. “Our experience has shown that having Spencer Fellows study and write in residence enriches not only the depth of their long-form journalistic work, but also the profile of superb education reporting.”

Bowie, a graduate of Skidmore College, has spent her 25-year career as a journalist at The Baltimore Sun, the last eight of which have been dedicated to education reporting. Among other awards, Bowie received a Society of Professional Journalists award for her series in The Sun on homeless youth. Bowie will spend her fellowship year studying with scholars and investigating the growing role of the College Board in public education, with a specific interest in the Advanced Placement tests, which have become in her words, the “de-facto curriculum for many of the nation’s high achieving students.”

Hulbert, a graduate of Harvard and a former National Endowment for the Humanities and Guggenheim fellow, began her career in 1978 at The New Republic as a senior editor. She went on to write “The Way We Live Now” columns in The New York Times Magazine, and serve as Slate’s literary editor. She is the author of three books, including “Raising America: Experts, Parents and a Century of Advice about Children” and a current soon-to-be-published book on child prodigies in America. Hulbert will use the fellowship to research and write about the growing role of community colleges in the discussion on bolstering America’s middle class and our global economic standing.

Vogell, a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia Journalism School, recently won an investigative journalism award from the Education Writers Association for her widely acclaimed reporting that exposed Atlanta’s test cheating scandals. The series of stories appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she has worked as an education reporter since 2005. Earlier in her career she was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the Charlotte Observer. Vogell will spend her fellowship year examining the growing clout of the accountability movement. Her project will look at why and how the corruption of test scores became prevalent nationwide in the post-NCLB years.

The Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting was established at the Journalism School in 2007 with funding from the Spencer Foundation in order to enrich long-form journalism with meaningful education research. Fellows spend the year on campus studying in classes and with individual professors in the Journalism School as well as other schools and departments at Columbia. “These new fellows were all selected based on the value their projects will bring to the complex issues surrounding public education, and the conversation around education reform,” said Arlene Morgan, associate dean for Prizes and Programs at Columbia Journalism School.

Liz Bowie, Ann Hulbert and Heather Vogell join a distinguished group of twelve former Spencer Fellows, who have so far produced an award-winning NPR radio documentary, published their work in various national newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times Magazine and The American Prospect. Two books have been published, and four others are under contract.