About Us

Click Here for Information on the 2016 COMPASS Summer Fellows Program

For over the past decade, a group of universities with doctoral programs in media or communication studies has sponsored a select group of Ph.D. students to spend a summer in Washington, DC.  COMPASS Summer Fellows learn about the real world of U.S. federal policy making, and make contributions to the policy process through their research and writing.

COMPASS Fellows have been placed in congressional offices, the State Department, the Federal Communications Commission and a variety of research and advocacy organizations such as Common Cause, Free Press, and the New America Foundation.

COMPASS provides full financial support for the students and assists them in securing meaningful internships in DC.  The program in 2015 will start on June 16 and extend through August 8.  In addition to their work with the institutions where they are placed, students will participate in a weekly seminar on the mechanics of the policy process, including how communications scholarship can assist policy makers.

The goal of COMPASS is to provide substantially-rich work that enhances the students’ doctoral work and makes a solid contribution to the host institution’s policy engagement.   By the end of the eight-week period fellows will have acquired an in-depth understanding of a particular topic or area of concern, and gained experience in dealing with policymakers.  We bridge the research interests of future scholars with active policy agendas.

Background and Mission

In 2004, a group of department chairs and deans from Communication Studies programs around the country formed the Consortium on Media Policy Studies.  The current sponsoring programs include the following universities:

Other universities are invited to participate.

The purpose of the consortium is to build bridges between the academic study of legacy and emerging media and the needs of policy makers.  COMPASS seeks to train more graduate students in the areas of media policy, law and regulation; we are dedicated to making the academic study of the mass media and communication systems more relevant to and informing of national and international policy planning and regulatory proposals.   Our initiative seeks to address the paucity of well-informed, well-researched media policy and regulation, and the threat all this poses to democracy, both in the United States and around the world.  We seek to stimulate and generate a new cohort of scholars, activists, and policy-makers who can deal with the realities of contemporary U.S. state and business power, and the resultant democratic deficit experienced by people here and around the globe.