2020 Solutions Journalism Educators Academy Participants

Pauline Arrillaga, Arizona State University
Dorothy Bland, University of North Texas
Laura Castañeda, USC Annenberg
Thomas Dooley, Rochester Institute of Technology
Barbara Gray, CUNY
Ruxandra Guidi, University of Arizona
Milton Kent, Morgan State University
Matthew LaPlante, Utah State University
Jennifer Moore, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Jenny Moore, Texas A&M University-San Antonio
Tara Pixley, Loyola Marymount University
Gheni Platenburg, Auburn University
Jennifer Rauch, Long Island University Brooklyn
Ralitsa Vassileva, University of Georgia
Kelsey Whipple, University of Massachusetts
Leigh Wright, Murray State University
Curt Yowell, St. Edward’s University

It’s a competitive selection process and a prestigious experience, so congrats to the above selected participants!

Given the ongoing COVID health concerns and travel restrictions, we are postponing the scheduled 2020 Academy until Summer 2021 (dates TBD). The above 2020 participants will automatically have a slot in the Academy next summer. We are debating holding two sessions next summer so that we can accommodate more participants, but that’s still TBD. 

2020 Solutions Journalism Educators Academy (Call for Applications)

July 16 and 17, 2020 at the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon in the historic White Stag Building in Portland, Oregon.

In partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication is delighted to announce the third annual Solutions Journalism Educators Academy. This academy is an initiative of The Catalyst Journalism Project at the University of Oregon.

Solutions journalism is a rigorous and fact-driven approach to reporting credible responses to societal problems. The Academy is designed for university journalism faculty members interested in learning how to teach solutions journalism at the collegiate level. It will be held

Solutions Journalism Educators Academy

The Solutions Journalism Educators Academy is a two-day training on teaching solutions journalism at the collegiate level. The Academy covers teaching the four qualities; framing, sourcing and finding solutions stories; advocacy, rigor and impostors; community engagement and interviewing; story structure; creating learning goals and objectives; and refining assignments and instructional activities. The Academy is an initiative of the Catalyst Journalism Project and is made possible with a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network, with funding from the Enlight Foundation.

You will learn

  • How solutions journalism can engage students and audiences
  • How to teach student to frame, source, interview for and structure solutions stories for print and multimedia
  • How to develop class lectures, discussion, exercises and assignments for SoJo courses or SoJo modules within existing journalism courses

The Academy is organized by University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication faculty members Nicole Dahmen and Brent Walth. Kathryn Thier will lead the academy, with Dahmen and Walth also teaching sessions. A representative of the Solutions Journalism Network team will also participate in the Academy.

  • Nicole Dahmen, Ph.D., an associate professor, is a visual communication scholar with a focus on solutions journalism and multimedia reporting and teaching. She is becoming a leading scholar on the theory and practice of solutions journalism and other contextual reporting forms.
  • Brent Walth, an assistant professor and Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter, has 34 years of experience writing, reporting, and editing. He is a self-described “solutions journalism convert,” who brings an investigative lens to the practice and teaching of solutions journalism.
  • Kathryn Thier is a journalist and graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. She has published peer-reviewed research on solutions journalism education, and she is an internationally-recognized leader in teaching solutions journalism. She was recently named one of the top 20 innovative j-school educators by MediaShift. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Maryland Department of Communication.

To learn more about the Academy, visit:

Testimonials from previous participants

“[Kathryn’s] thoughtfulness, critical mind, and commitment to pedagogy made this a profound few days of learning for me.”

“I was blown away by [Kathryn] and the participants. Thanks so much for an inspiring few days, rich with activities that we can replicate. I’m grateful to have been included.”

“Thank you again for a great experience. I know how much effort [Kathryn] put into the training and everything that went into planning it, and it paid off!”

“Such great energy and so much insight.”

“I look forward to further implementing the lessons learned into my classes in the academic year ahead. Thanks again for all your heartfelt efforts dedicated to this event!”

To apply

Please submit as one PDF file:

  • a cover letter discussing your interest in teaching solutions journalism and in the Educators Academy,
  • a current curriculum vitae,
  • a short letter of support for Academy attendance from your dean/director/department head; and
  • the names with contact information for three academic references.

Complete applications should be emailed to Dr. Nicole Dahmen at by 5 p.m. PST on Friday, February 28, 2020. Selected participants will be notified by the end of March 2020.

Meet previous attendees:

2018 participants

2019 participants


How much do I need to know about solutions journalism ahead of time?
General knowledge of the practice is preferred, but detailed knowledge is not required. To learn more about solutions journalism, visit the Learning Lab on the Solutions Journalism Network website:

What expenses are covered by the Academy?
A grant from the Solutions Journalism Network, with funding from the Enlight Foundation, supports the Academy. The Academy covers these expenses for participants: airfare or mileage up to $650; hotel for July 15, 16, and 17; and most meals on July 16 and 17. Any other expenses must be paid for by participants.

How many participants will you accept for the Academy?
We plan to accept 15 participants for summer 2020.

Do I have to have a professional journalism background?
No, but you do have to be a full-time faculty member of a recognized journalism program at the collegiate level.

What else do I need?
A good attitude and a desire to innovate and collaborate.

When should I arrive and depart?
Participants should plan to fly in and out of PDX, arriving on Wednesday, July 15 and departing on Saturday, July 18. Selected participants will be given contact information for UO travel agents to assist with and book flights.

Where will I stay?
Participants will stay at The Paramount Hotel Portland, a boutique hotel in downtown Portland. The hotel is walking distance from the White Stag Building, as well as coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping. Visit the hotel website at

What will I eat?
The Academy provides most meals on July 16 and 17. Breakfast and lunch will be catered each day at the White Stag Building. Dinner on July 16 will be at a restaurant in the downtown area.

Other questions?
Please contact Dr. Nicole Dahmen at or at 541-346-2588.