University of Washington College of Education is proud to continue its Community Partner Fellows initiative to foster and grow research + practice + community partnerships. The Community Partner Fellow program builds relationships with our community partners to enhance their equity-focused research and evaluation capacity. For our PhD students, it provides critical professional development opportunities and funding to support the next generation of practitioners and scholars. Our two-fold goal is to provide increased capacity to local community partners while providing increased funding to ensure we recruit and retain the most competitive PhD students. With increased public and private funding support, we envision growing this program over the next 5 years to offer 10 internships per year.

As one of Unite:Ed's key initiatives, Community Partner Fellows has experienced exponential growth in the past year with 5 Fellows in 2018 to 29 in 2021 and our pool of committed community partners continues to deepen. Our cohorts 4 & 5 include the following partners: Equal Opportunity Schools, Washington STEM, Seattle Public Schools African American Male Achievement initiative, Seattle Public Schools Research & Evaluation Department, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, College Success Foundation, Puget Sound College & Career Network, and Treehouse. One fellow will also work for both Technology Access Foundation & Pacific Science Center in a unique collaborative project. Other past partner organizations include: Supporting Partnerships in Education and Beyond (formerly known as Somali Parents Education Board), Schools Out Washington, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC), Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR), Teach for America, and One America.

Students selected for these internships will be tasked with projects that range from:

  • Performing landscape analyses
  • Conducting statistical analyses
  • Conducting oral interviews and observations
  • Conducting environmental scans
  • Engaging in the co-design and study of educational initiatives & programs
  • Curriculum design and implementation

What Are Learning & How Are We Evolving Community Partner Fellows?

Building off of our pilot year learning and feedback from faculty area listening sessions, we have modified the recruitment timeline to allow for more time in the process while still keeping it aligned with the admissions cycle for incoming students. Based on feedback from students and faculty, we are exploring ways to make this opportunity more student-centered by opening up the application process, providing more staff support, and aiming to build a cohort experience. The biggest change for subsequent recruitment cycles is that we will now allow UW COE PhD incoming and current students to self-nominate for the Community Partner Fellows program so as to make the opportunity more equitable. This will still allow faculty to put forth recommendations but also allows students to determine whether this is a good fit for their doctoral experience and career trajectory. For cohort 6, we also anticipate offering a professional learning community that will meet regularly over each quarter and offer community-based content.

Fellowship Support

For academic year 2022-2023, the internship fellowship award was valued at $44,802 which includes a tuition waiver, non-resident tuition waiver (if needed), a scholarship, and a stipend. Students are eligible for health insurance benefits through the Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP). Please be aware that it is not a GSA or GRA appointment and that the student intern is not an employee nor part of the UW collective bargaining. Please note that the value of the fellowship award will be adjusted for tuition increases in 2023-2024 as needed.

For incoming PhD students, the Community Partner Fellows award provides 4 years of guaranteed funding. The first two years will be supported by a combination of a fellowship and a Research or Teaching Assistantship, while the second two years will be supported by the internship placement. 

How to Apply

For the 2023-2024 academic year, we will award 3 fellowships to new incoming PhD students. We will also open our recruitment process for one-year OR two-year internship fellowships beginning in September 2023 for a limited number of continuing PhD students. We are still confirming the number of fall 2023 community partner placements that we have to offer, so we ask for your patience through this year’s application process. 

Our Fall 2023 community partner placement sites are: Southeast Seattle Education Coalition, Technology Access Foundation, and Building Changes. Please see embedded links for the scope of work for each organization. For continuing doctoral students who are interested in applying, I encourage you to read the documents carefully with an eye on alignment with your own knowledge areas and research skills to determine goodness of fit. I also encourage doctoral students to apply when they are in their 3rd or 4th year when coursework demands lighten and commitments are more flexible. 

For those selected by the community partner organization for an interview, I anticipate that those will take place in April 2023. This set of fellowships would start in late September 2023 to coincide with the start of fall quarter. For those incoming PhD students selected for a fellowship, you will not receive your placement until September 2025.

Required Application Materials

To apply for one of these Community Partner Fellows positions, please submit the following by Wednesday, March 15, 2023 though the consolidated funding application portal.

UW COE PhD Students: Please be advised that if your academic program has a required internship or practicum requirement, you will need to work closely with your faculty advisor to determine whether this opportunity is a good fit. If you are an international student, you will also need to work closely with your advisor and UW staff to ensure that this opportunity does not exceed your CPT and/or OPT hours. All students must be in good academic standing and be enrolled as a full-time PhD student at the time of appointment and maintain full-time status during the duration of the appointment.

For incoming PhD students: 

  • A letter of support from their faculty advisor that describes how the student shows promise and specific interest in working with community partners. This may include reference to previous work and academic experience in community settings. Our collective goal is to award a four-year funding package to attract and support the most competitive incoming PhD students. If faculty can provide a commitment to any Research or Teaching Assistantship positions, please include this information but note that this is not required. 
  • Student’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé.
  • A cover letter stating their interest in working with community-based organizations on equity-focused research and evaluation projects. 

For current PhD students:

  • A letter of support from a faculty member that includes a description of the applicant’s fit for the work and contributions to the College with special attention paid to their academic accomplishments, pertinent methodological skills, writing and analyzing abilities, and previous work/academic experience that is relevant to interning in a community partner setting. There is no need to include the financial plan as current students will be awarded two-years of funding through this opportunity.
  • Student’s curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé.
  • A cover letter stating their interest in working with community-based organizations on equity-focused research and evaluation projects. Please identify which community partner organization you are applying to work with.

Key Dates in the Winter 2023 Application Process 

  • February 17 - Community Partner Fellows application opens to both incoming and current students with announcement posted to COE Faculty & Student listservs, social media communications, and to the website: 
  • March 15 – Application deadline for both incoming and current PhD students to apply. 
  • April 3-5: COE staff notifies incoming students and their advisors of the award offer. The deadline to accept the Community Partner Fellows award is April 15, which is consistent with the University of Washington & the Council of Graduate Schools’ national resolution. Incoming students will receive their partner organization sites closer to the start of their internship in September 2025. 
  • By May 5: COE staff notifies current students and their advisors of the award offer and partner organization placement site. The deadline to accept the Community Partner Fellows award is May 19. Orientation will take place in mid-September and the internships will begin in late September 2023. 

If you have questions about the application process or the Community Partner Fellows program, please contact:

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