Professorial Advancement Initiative

The goal of the Professorial Advancement Initiative (PAI) is to increase the number of underrepresented minority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics faculty hired at the participating Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

This goal is supported by two objectives:

  1. Create a pool of underrepresented minority postdocs, prepared and trained for success in a tenure track position; and
  2. Educate faculty members and faculty search committees about diversity hiring.

The program is funded by a National Science Foundation Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate -Transformation grant.


Benefits of Becoming a PAI Postdoc

Faculty Mentoring Group
Each PAI postdoc has a mentoring group, normally consisting of his/her advisor, another faculty member on the resident campus, and two faculty members at other participating Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions. Participating postdocs meet regularly with the mentoring group, to discuss the essentials of becoming a successful professor and how to avoid early career difficulties. Mentoring materials have been prepared by the program team and serve as the guide for the mentoring sessions.

Searchable Directory: Highlighting PAI Postdocs to Hiring Committees
An online searchable database of PAI participants is designed to increase the visibility of postdocs who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to higher education, and is promoted among hiring committees on Big Ten Academic Alliance campuses.

Monthly Professional Development Meetings
Each month over lunch the Office of Postdoctoral Studies hosts a screening of the Preparing For The Professoriate webinar series offered by the program. Topics have included grant writing, publishing, networking and forming your mentoring team. In addition, during these meetings PAI postdocs have the opportunity to meet other UW–Madison postdocs from underrepresented groups in person, and share advice and experiences with one another.



Postdocs wishing to participate in the PAI must meet the following criteria established by the National Science Foundation:

  • Working as a postdoctoral scholar in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics discipline at a Big Ten Academic Alliance participating university. Full list of eligible disciplines.
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be an African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander


How to Join

Contact Imogen Hurley, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Studies ( if you are interested in learning more about the PAI.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under AGEP-Transformation #1309028. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Questions about the PAI?
We can help. Contact us.

Imogen Hurley, PhD

Director, Office of Postdoctoral Studies

(608) 265 6225

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