Subscribe to our mailing list  |  Search:  
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs
Home Applicants Fellows Networking & Mentoring Contact Fellowships Home

Irvine, CA | October 21, 2018

The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program reached its 50th Anniversary in 2012 and at that time launched a bi-annual Conference of Senior Ford Fellows. This year will mark the fourth Conference of Senior Ford Fellows which will be hosted at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, CA.

2018 Conference Theme: “Magnifying Our Voices through Collective Impact”

General Description: The conference leverages the wisdom of Senior Ford Fellows and other leading scholars by sharing their expertise, strategies, challenges and insights on transforming the academy. The Conference of Senior Ford Fellows offers opportunities to connect, and re-connect, with other senior Ford Fellows, to network with colleagues, and to participate in interactive professional development sessions. This year's conference is structured to build on our work since the 2016 conference toward the development of a Society of Senior Ford Fellows, through which we seek together to preserve scholarly rigor and democracy in academia and in society. The first half of the day will engage us together in interactive workshops designed to elicit our individual and collective vision. The second half of the day will promote professional development through sessions by and for Senior Fellows.

Highlights of the 2018 Conference of Senior Ford Fellows include the following:

  • Launching the Society of Senior Ford Fellows: Review and comment throughout the day on our draft mission statement and bylaws for a soon-to-be-launched Society of Senior Ford Fellows.

  • Interactive Workshops: These morning sessions, facilitated by leaders from the OpEd Project, are designed to activate our individual and collective thinking toward becoming ever more visible and impactful scholars.
Among the topics covered are:

OWNING EXPERTISE: In this highly-interactive workshop, we will engage in a large group experiment to explore how credibility works--and works unfairly--in the world. We'll surface hidden beliefs about expertise and power, and explore ways to walk through difficult terrain with integrity. Participants will walk away with bold ideas, a deeper sense of what they know and stand for, and actionable steps

ESCAPING A PIGEONHOLE: In this highly-interactive workshop, we’ll explore how to escape a pigeonhole, and how we can use what we know to speak to what we don’t know. Participants will learn techniques of triangulation and pattern recognition, will take a crack at escaping their own pigeonholes, and will walk away with tools for thinking bigger, as well as greater awareness of the larger implications of what they already know.
  • Professional Development Sessions in the afternoon are designed to address and provide practical help and discussion around individual issues in career and professional development of ‘senior’ (mid-career, post tenure, wise) scholars.
Among the topics covered are:
    • Navigating Advancement to Full Professor and Beyond
    • When, If, and How to Hear the Call to Institutional Leadership (Dean, Provost, President)
    • Starting Programs, Institutes, and Centers
    • When, If, and How to Move From Academia and Into Other Spheres of Influence 
AND Following the Conference
WRITE TO CHANGE THE WORLD: The OpEd Project’s highly dynamic curriculum is built on time-tested models of transformational learning, thinking with purpose, and changing minds. Games, high-stakes scenarios and live “thought experiments” will challenge participants to think in new and bigger ways about what they know, why it matters, and how to use it. We’ll explore the source of credibility and how to establish it (quickly); the patterns and elements of persuasion; the difference between being “right” and being effective; how to preach beyond the choir; how to escape a pigeonhole; how to address opposition and build consensus; and how to think bigger. Each participant will learn to make a bold case for their ideas, whether in an op-ed in print or online, on TV, at a PTA meeting, before a board of directors, to potential funders, or on the steps of Congress. Participants in full-day or longer programs have ongoing access to The OpEd Project national network of journalist mentors, for individual feedback on their op-ed drafts.

Click here to view the Draft Agenda
. In addition to THE SENIOR CONFERENCE ON SUNDAY THE 21st, a reception for Conference of Senior Ford Fellows attendees will be held THE NIGHT BEFORE on Saturday, October 20th at 6:30 PM at the Beckman Center.

Registration & Hotel Information:

Registration opens on July 9. 

To register for the 2018 Conference of Senior Ford Fellows, please click here. Please register only if you are sure you will attend as costs at the Beckman Center will still be incurred for Fellows who register but do not attend. There will be no registration fees and all costs of the meeting itself will be covered by the Ford Foundation. Participants will be responsible for their own travel and hotel costs. For those wishing to participate in the daylong writing-intensive workshop on Monday, October 22nd, a separate registration and fee is required at this link.  

Senior Ford Fellows who are participating as volunteers at the 2018 Conference of Ford Fellows may arrange to extend their stay at the Ford Fellows Conference hotel but will be required to pay separately for the additional night(s). If you have been selected as a volunteer for the 2018 Conference of Ford Fellows, plan to stay for the Conference of Senior Ford Fellows, and wish to stay at the conference hotel, please contact the Fellowships Travel Office at (202) 334-2909 or You will be asked to provide a credit card for the additional night(s) lodging.

If you are attending the 2018 Conference of Senior Ford Fellows only (not attending the 2018 Conference of Ford Fellows), you may book a room at the conference hotel (Newport Beach Marriott) at the negotiated conference rate using the Marriott online booking system Pass Key, or you may call (877) 622-3056 to speak directly to reservations. All costs of lodging will be charged to your personal credit card.

Ethical Conduct during the Senior Ford Conference: The Ford Fellows work toward an inclusive environment in academe and society. We affirm that all kinds of harassment including sexual, sexual identity, racial/ethnic, abilism and bullying are unethical. In accordance with this goal, please note that by registering to present and/or attend the 2018 Senior Ford Conference you specifically agree that "it is unethical in any professional setting, including the Senior Ford Conference, to use the inequalities of power that characterize many professional relationships to obtain personal, sexual, economic or professional advantages"’ By registering you agree to do your part to create and maintain an inclusive and open conference environment for all attendees.

Questions may be directed to the Fellowships Travel Office at (202) 334-2909 or