Community Scholars

Columbia Community Scholars

The Community Scholars Program at Columbia University is designed to offer independent, community-based scholars from Northern Manhattan access to a suite of Columbia University services and resources that allow them to work toward the completion of a particular project or to attain skill in a particular area. The program helps to foster and deepen ties between the University and the many independent members of the cultural and intellectual community surrounding it.

History: The program, part of Columbia University’s community benefits and services related to the Manhattanville Campus Expansion, resulted from discussions with the West Harlem community. The first cohort of five independent Scholars was selected from a competitive field of applicants began the program in the fall of 2013. The program is a joint initiative of Columbia’s Office of Government and Community Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the School of Professional Studies.

Objective: The Columbia Community Scholars Program was developed to enable independent scholars to pursue their lifelong learning aspirations, whether it be completing an independent project or attaining skills in a particular area. The program allows Scholars a formal opportunity to access University resources and participate in the intellectual life of the University through interaction with faculty, students, and other visiting scholars. Participation in the Columbia Community Scholars Program is not intended to enable a Scholar to enter into a degree program; no course credit, certificate or diploma is awarded upon completion.

University Access: Scholars are granted access to all University libraries (including on-line access), course auditing privileges (in departments offering auditable courses), dialogue with scholars in their field of study, and the ability to participate in seminars and social events. A Scholar may wish to avail him or herself of all or some of the services offered. The program’s administrators assist each Scholar in connecting to relevant resources.

Program Duration: 3 years

Community Scholars are expected to work toward the completion of a proposed project or to attain a skill in a particular area during their 3-year tenure. The scope of each Scholar's project is delineated at the beginning of the program. Over the course of the three years, Community Scholars will have the opportunities to share their progress with members of the University and neighboring community.

Columbia University Staff Contact: Karen Jewett, Vice President, Government and Community Affairs

More information:

Application Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Scholars & Projects