invited projects higher education

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invited projects higher educationhigher education

The Tow Foundation supports the enhancement of the educational experience by exposing students, faculty and administrations of institutions of higher learning to opportunities for study and work that will inspire them to explore their own potential to make meaningful change both in their own lives and for the betterment of society. We also believe that a free and responsible press is the cornerstone for a democratic society and are investing in training the next generation of journalists to bring ethical and balanced reporting into New Media.
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Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Bard Prison Initiative

To support the rebuilding and expansion of the Bard Prison Initiative’s (BPI)  programs for women at Taconic and Albion prisons. The main campus will be located at Taconic prison in Bedford Hills, NY.  Albion prison, which is the largest prison for women in New York, will serve as a satellite campus. Students at Albion will be enrolled for approximately 1-2 years, after which they would transfer to Taconic to complete their academic studies.Students admitted through this process would become matriculated Bard College students and would enroll exclusively in Bard coursework leading to Associate in Arts degrees. In addition to the core liberal arts curriculum, the program will incorporate a formal reentry component.

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Barnard College
New York, NY

Tow Public Service Internships

To support stipends for approximately 30 undergraduate students annually to earn valuable experience serving as interns with substantive nonprofit and public service organizations. Past students have interned at a wide range of health, education, arts, human rights, research, advocacy, environmental, media, philanthropic, housing and economic aid organizations. Many choose to pursue graduate degrees and future careers in public service.

Tow Travel Study Fellowships

To support travel study awards to approximately 10 undergraduate students annually for domestic or foreign travel to conduct first-hand research on the topic of their senior theses. Past students have traveled all over the world to conduct intensive research in such areas as anthropology, architecture, environmental science, history, musicology and religion. In addition to enriching their senior theses with this information, several students have made significant and original contributions to their academic disciplines and had their research published.

The Tow Family Award for Innovative and Outstanding Pedagogy

To recognize an exemplary member of the Barnard faculty who combines scholarship and pedagogy in creative ways, maximizing the impact of both.  The award is given in the form of a flexible research/professional development fund that can be spent over 5 years to further innovative pedagogies.  Awardees may use the funds for travel, to attend professional conferences, to secure a course release to learn a new skill or technology, or other related purpose.  Special consideration is given to innovative use of teaching technologies, including new media, to extend both the classroom environment and research findings across a broader community of scholars and students.

Tow Family Professorships for Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners

To recognize faculty members at the Associate Professor level who have made substantial, nationally recognized contributions to their field. This honor includes a two-year monetary award to be used as a stipend and for research and professional development which can include related expenses for travel and attendance at professional conferences. Two new recipients are selected each year.

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Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
Brooklyn, NY

Claire Tow Distinguished Teacher Award

To annually support an award of $10,000 to a senior member of the faculty in recognition of outstanding qualities as a teacher and a role model to students and other faculty. The nominees must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of students and peers, exceptional skills in teaching and teaching methods and a dedication to helping students achieve the highest academic standards. The recipients are selected by the President, in consultation with the Provost. Since its inception, the award has recognized superlative faculty from the departments of English, Theater and Education.

Leonard and Claire Tow Professorships

To provide two-year professorships to members of the faculty whose talents and accomplishments are of a particularly high order—for example, distinguished teachers, nationally and internationally renowned scholars, and artists with national reputations. The professorships enable the college to retain distinguished faculty who might otherwise be lured away. Nominations are made by department chairpersons and top candidates are chosen by a presidential advisory committee. Recipients are then chosen by the President, in consultation with the Provost and the Board of the Brooklyn College Foundation. Recent Tow professors are from the fields of chemistry, biology, classics, history, anthropology, Africana studies and English.

Leonard and Claire Tow Faculty Travel Fellowships

To annually provide funding for travel and related expenses to two full-time faculty members for research or study purposes either in the U.S. or abroad. A committee chaired by the Provost selects recipients.

Leonard and Claire Tow Undergraduate Travel Study Awards

To annually support travel study awards for up to 10 students to study or do research abroad to expand their knowledge and awareness of the wider world. Recipients are selected by a committee appointed by the Dean of Undergraduate Students. Upon their return, many students make presentations on their research.

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City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism
New York, NY

Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism

To establish the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, where students will study new business models for journalism and create an incubator to help develop new journalistic products and services using Internet technologies. The Tow-Knight Center will build on courses already offered at the school that encourage students to create new journalistic products and services and develop business plans for them. The ideas are reviewed by a panel of venture capitalists and media professionals, and the best ideas are awarded seed capital. The new incubator will help bring these and other ideas to fruition, in cooperation with interested media companies. In addition, the Tow-Knight Center will do research on new business models for journalism at a time of declining advertising and circulation revenues.

Faculty Fellowships

To support the work of two adjunct faculty members who are vital to the school’s future and the continued development of its visual journalism and video storytelling program.  The funds will be allocated over a two-year period.

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Columbia University
New York, NY

Center for Justice

Support for the creation of the Center for Justice at Columbia University, developed in response to the increasing awareness of the harmful consequences of mass incarceration and an overemphasis on punitive criminal justice policies and the corresponding calls across the political spectrum for reimagining justice. The Center will bring together colleagues from both the academic and justice communities to develop new approaches to reduce the nation’s reliance on incarceration and develop safe, effective criminal justice policies.

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Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
New York, NY

Journalism After Snowden

To develop the program Journalism After Snowden, designed to explore the changing practices of journalism in relation to the information generated by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden regarding state surveillance and data insecurity. This year-long program will include collaboration among The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Columbia University President’s Office, Law School, Department of Computer Science and School of International and Public Affairs. Research, essays and recommendations produced as a result of this program will provide invaluable information for investigative journalists working on issues of national security.

Tow Center for Digital Journalism

The Tow Center’s primary mission will be to educate the next generation of journalists with the skills and knowledge to lead the future of professional journalism on the Internet and other forms of Digital Journalism. The Tow Center will focus on the interactions between journalists and readers, as citizens provide more reporting and commentary and readers seek ways to better understand the reliability, standards and credibility in Digital Journalism. The Tow Center also will explore and innovate with new methods of digital reporting and presentation, providing ways to create journalism and inspire dialogue that will serve established media companies, as well as newly created outlets.

The Tow-Knight Projects in News Innovation

To establish a research program at The Tow Center for Digital Journalism that will commission wide-ranging research projects and enable the Center to develop expertise in the relationship of data to digital  journalism.   The Tow-Knight Projects will serve as an influential convening power, helping to inform the profession by bringing disparate fields of expertise and knowledge together in a rigorous research and publishing program that is responsive to the needs of the industry and policy makers.

The Lede – Core Computational Competency Program

To create a new post-baccalaureate program to prepare college graduates with little or no quantitative or computational background to be successful applicants to masters and doctoral degree programs that require skills in those areas.

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Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
New York, NY

“Rethinking Crime & Punishment: Public Health Approaches to Safety & Justice”

To support a conference that will, for the first time, gather leaders of schools of public health to focus a public health lens on the problem of incarceration in the US.  This conference, “Rethinking Crime and Punishment: Public Health Approaches to Safety and Justice,” will motivate public health schools to conduct research, educate students and alumni, work with local community-based agencies, and inform policy makers on strategies to reduce the harm done by incarceration and identify alternative approaches to public safety based on public health science and practice.

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Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University

The Youth Justice New York Metro Bureau housed at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

To seed the expansion of the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s (CSJ)  Juvenile Justice Information Exchange ( by both supporting the creation of a bureau at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and challenging CSJ to raise the funds required to open four additional bureaus in university settings across the country.  The CUNY-based bureau will be staffed by a CUNY professor/journalist who will commit to producing ten in-depth juvenile justice-related stories a year while working with up to ten student journalists each semester who will develop shorter pieces of their own in addition to helping the professor on his/her larger projects.  The professors’ and students’ best work will be published on the Youth Today and websites and will be shared with other regional and national publications.

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WGBH Educational Foundation

FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowship

To create the FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowship to be awarded annually to an outstanding graduate of Columbia Journalism School who has worked closely with that school’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

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John Jay College of Criminal Justice

New York, NY

Graduate Student Fellowships

To support a fellowship program designed to prepare a select group of master’s degree students at John Jay College for work as effective policy advocates for social justice.

Tow Advocacy & Research Fellowship Initiative

To support a nine-month planning period for a fellowship program that would build the capacity of John Jay College to contribute to the development of the youth and criminal justice policy advocacy field.  The Tow Initiative seeks to raise the profile of justice advocacy within the College and will be part of a larger effort to highlight youth and criminal justice policy issues and to raise the visibility of the network of advocacy organizations working on those issues.

Tow Juvenile Justice Media Project of the Center for Media, Crime and Justice

To design and present a two-day symposium for 20+ journalist fellows from across the U.S. and all media formats to build their knowledge base and discuss prevailing juvenile justice issues with experts in the field. John Jay will collaborate with the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism to provide the fellows with online strategies to broaden the reach of their news projects, including social media, blogging and data visualization. The journalists will receive individual and group trainings after the conference and will be required to produce media projects on a juvenile justice issue of their choice.

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

New York, NY

The Tow Foundation Fellowship Program in Molecular Imaging and Nanotechnology

For a joint venture with the City University of New York to provide post-graduate fellowships to train a new generation of leaders in the fields of molecular imaging and nanotechnology.

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University of New Haven

West Haven, CT

Tow Youth Justice Institute

To create the Tow Youth Justice Institute a research-based institute in Connecticut that will support and sustain the major youth justice reform efforts now underway in the state and across the northeast. The institute, focused on youth up to the age of 21, will be a national model for expanding and sustaining progressive reform and demonstrating how alternative approaches can become institutionalized.