The American Council of Learned Societies Names 22 Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows


(New York, NY) – The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has proudly named 22 new Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows for 2020.

Now in its tenth year, the Public Fellows program places recent PhDs in substantive roles in nonprofit and civic organizations. It serves as an important demonstration of the ways in which humanities and related social sciences PhDs can add significant value and thrive within a variety of domains beyond academia. The program is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The 2020 Public Fellows have roles in policy research, community engagement, advocacy, arts and public humanities programming, fundraising, and information management. Each will serve in two-year, full-time positions with prestigious host organizations including Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, the American Civil Liberties Union, Children’s Defense Fund, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, and Oxfam.


“During this time of ongoing uncertainty, the Public Fellows program provides important opportunities to apply humanistic perspectives and skills directly to projects led by community-focused initiatives across the country,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “In addition to helping to blaze new career paths for doctoral students, our partners are energized by the prospect of increasing their own capacity to address urgent problems with the distinctive assistance of humanities PhDs. We are deeply grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their support of our common vision of a dynamic future for advanced education in the humanities.”

Over the past decade Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows have gone on to make significant contributions within the organizations they work with and the communities they serve, as recently highlighted in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Each member of the 2020 cohort will receive $70,000 per year, as well as employer-based health insurance, a relocation allowance, and up to $3,000 in professional development funds over the course of the fellowship. In addition to contributing to initiatives that will enhance and improve communities as integral staff members, Fellows have opportunities for networking, mentoring, and career development programming, both in-person and virtually, as well as opportunities to contribute to the efforts by scholarly associations and universities to support career pathways for humanities PhDs.

Learn more about the Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program.

About the American Council of Learned Societies

Formed in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations.  As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $140 million endowment and $35 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for the centrality of the humanities in the modern world.