Call for Applications

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH) and Journalism + Design at The New School (J+D) seek applications from New Jersey’s community colleges for an exciting new funding opportunity. Beginning in April 2023, community colleges in NJ may apply for NJCH/J+D awards in the amount of $40,000 to co-develop and launch certificate programs in community journalism across the state.

This call for applications offers information on the program itself; the resources and support NJCH and J+D will provide to partner sites; and how to apply.

NJCH held a virtual information session for potential applicants on April 25. The event recording can be accessed below.

Program Fast Facts

Application Deadline: PASSED
(Friday, May 26, 2023)

Award Amount: $40,000 per college

Award Term: July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024

Eligibility: any of New Jersey's 18 community colleges may apply

Program Goal: Provide funding and support for at least three community colleges in New Jersey to launch their own noncredit community journalism certificates that equip students and community members with tools to better understand and articulate what's happening in their communities.

Program Description

NJCH and J+D are teaming up on a new program to co-develop and launch certificate programs in community journalism with community colleges across New Jersey. With generous support from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, we will collaborate with and fund at least three colleges in the state at the level of $40,000 each, to create free noncredit offerings that equip people with tools to better understand and articulate what's happening in their communities.

Through this community journalism certificate, participants will learn transferable skills from a variety of disciplines – including journalism, design, the humanities, media literacy and systems thinking – that challenge them to explore creative ways to better inform their community and circulate high-quality news.

This certificate program is intended to center community colleges as hubs for local news and information by expanding access to journalism education, promoting greater media literacy, and offering people opportunities to get involved in the production of community journalism that benefits their communities. It's open to any community college in New Jersey, regardless of whether or not the institution already offers some form of media- or journalism-related programming.

NJCH and J+D will provide faculty at participating colleges with a foundational curriculum for the certificate, along with support to adapt the curriculum based on their own expertise and the unique needs of their communities and college. Applicants can see a version of the curriculum that we previously led with the Community College of Philadelphia here.

Core learning outcomes for certificate participants include how to:

  • Produce quality journalism and media with and for your community;
  • Better inform your community and share important stories, through digital media and other creative, engaging ways;
  • Understand how power functions and uncover what's driving the big issues you care about;
  • Find credible information and share what's happening in your local government;
  • Use design thinking to help you solve problems and create media that's responsive to local information needs;
  • Become a more active participant and informed civic leader in your community.

NJCH and J+D will fund a faculty member at each participating college to create the certificate at their school, adapt the curriculum to their community college and teach at least one version of the program. We will also provide funding to participating colleges to support costs for administration and implementation.

After offering the certificate, colleges will receive additional funds to develop sustainability plans and/or launch new projects or community journalism programs. Funding also will be available to support community and media partners that work with the colleges to help participants and community members apply their skills and support the growth of the college as a hub for local news.

Award Details

Each community college in the program will receive an award of $40,000 to offset costs associated with developing and launching the certificate program. Award funds must be used as follows:

  • $10,000 for participating faculty stipends: $5,000 to be paid directly to the faculty member for summer/fall 2023 training, $5,000 to be paid to the faculty member via the college for spring 2024 certificate program instruction.
  • $10,000 for administrative costs associated with launching the certificate.
  • $20,000 for program sustainability and partnerships, to be disbursed upon successful completion of the first run of the certificate program in spring 2024. Colleges can use these funds however they choose, with the goals of building and sustaining the certificate program and more deeply establishing the college as an information hub in the community.


  • April 6, 2023: CFA opens to NJ community colleges
  • May 26, 2023: Application deadline
  • Early-to-mid June 2023: Applications reviewed and evaluated by Advisory Board
  • Late June 2023: Selected colleges notified and awards announced
  • Mid July-early August 2023: J+D and NJCH work with faculty from select colleges to develop the curriculum for their certificate. This will entail at least two in-person sessions.
  • August-September 2023: Colleges begin working with their administrations to approve and prepare the certificate program to accept applications. Faculty work with NJCH and J+D to gauge interest and develop opportunities among local media and community partners in collaborating on local info and storytelling projects with program participants.
  • October-December 2023: Collaborate with faculty and marketing/communications teams at each college to develop any materials, events or strategies to recruit participants.
  • Spring 2024: Each college launches their certificate program.

Call for Applications

For a complete program description and the full text of the CFA, please see the Call for Applications Information Sheet.

Click here to preview the application

The deadline for the 2023 application cycle has now passed! We look forward to announcing the selected colleges by late June 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a noncredit certificate in community journalism? Why does it benefit a college to offer this program? 

We believe that expanding access to the tools of journalism and storytelling can help strengthen civic engagement and build pathways for more people to participate in sharing high-quality stories and information in their communities. This program allows community colleges to offer low-barrier, low-cost ways for people in their communities to learn journalism as a way to better understand what's happening in their communities, increase media literacy, and fuel strong ecosystems for local news. It's also another way for colleges to forge new and deeper connections with their communities and become hubs for news and information that people can access to improve their communities and make more informed decisions.

What are some of the transferable skills that participants will gain through this curriculum?

People who participate in this program will learn a variety of skills and concepts that they can carry forward in a wealth of contexts: from their jobs to their communities to their day-to-day life. Our curriculum introduces participants to the fundamentals of the journalistic process and teaches them how to access and assess credible information, particularly information that helps their communities stay informed and engaged. Through the lens of local news and storytelling, participants will have the opportunity to learn and hone the types of essential skills that are critical for thriving in our changing democracy and economy: problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, effective communication, and entrepreneurship.

Must my community college have an existing journalism program or coursework in order to apply?

No, the NJCH/J+D funding opportunity is open to all NJ community colleges, regardless of whether they have existing journalism programs or not! Colleges that do have journalism programs or courses will be asked to explain how the community journalism certificate fits into their existing academic priorities and structures; colleges that do not currently have journalism programs or courses will be asked to describe how the NJCH/J+D certificate aligns with their non-journalism academic programming and community engagement.

Can we use this certificate as part of our academic programs for students who are earning credit?

Colleges are welcome to incorporate this certificate into any academic program in any way that works best for their communities and students. NJCH/J+D will work with the selected colleges on an individual basis to help them consider if and how to incorporate this new curriculum into degree and transfer pathways for credit-seeking students.

May a college submit a proposal even if they don’t know which faculty member they plan to designate as the campus certificate program instructor?

Colleges are not required to designate the faculty member who will serve as the campus’s certificate program instructor at the time of application; if you do have a faculty member in mind, however, please be sure to include their name and expertise as part of the proposal narrative.

Must I be a college faculty member to submit a proposal for a NJCH/J+D award?

Any faculty member, staff member, or administrator formally affiliated with one of New Jersey’s 18 community colleges may submit a proposal for a NJCH/J+D award. Please note, however, that you must receive institutional approval from your college in the form of a President’s letter of support, to be submitted with the proposal. Only one proposal per college will be accepted for review by NJCH/J+D.

Will curriculum collaboration with the partner colleges’ faculty members take place virtually, in-person, or in a hybrid format?

We will host at least two in-person sessions with faculty and project staff from each college in late July 2023, location TBD, to develop the initial curriculum and plans for their certificates. NJCH and J+D will then work with each project team virtually to solidify their curriculum and the creation of the certificate. Each college can determine the best way to offer their program based on the needs of their community.

Where else are programs like this happening? Could you give an example of what this looks like in practice?

In 2021, Journalism + Design partnered with the Community College of Philadelphia to create Community Journalism for Civic Power, a noncredit certificate that we facilitated virtually through a series of workshops. You can see a draft of the curriculum here. We also partnered with Resolve Philly, a community-based journalism organization in Philadelphia, to offer participants paid opportunities to get involved in their Info Hub Captain program that pays community members to help create a print newsletter that Resolve mails to Philly residents.



Think your college might be interested in participating? Reach out to Project Directors Nick Gilewicz,, or Cole Goins,, for more information.