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.


Postdoc Workshops and Community

Once enrolled in the program, postdocs become eligible to participate in the PAI Workshop Series. This series includes highly interactive virtual sessions that are focused on developing the skills needed for transition to a tenure-track STEM faculty position. Topics include:

  • Leading Breakthrough Science Teams
  • Mentoring Up
  • Conflict Resolution/Difficult Conversations
  • Grant Writing Resources and Strategies
  • Well-Being and Mental Health

Postdocs will also gain access to a rich archive of session recordings from the last 5 years and a supportive multi-institutional community of postdocs from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups with which to share advice and experiences.



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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