McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University
News from McCormick
Katherine Faber Co-Directs Program to Help Women Faculty Sharpen Skills for Success
Early career women faculty in the fields of science, technology and medicine at Northwestern University are learning the language of success. An important institutional step forward and a first for the University, the “Navigating the Professoriate Program” is addressing the concern that women faculty remain significantly underrepresented, especially in the higher ranks.
Response to the new program, held this academic year and supported by the Provost’s Office, the vice president for research, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Holly Falk-Krzesinski, one of the program directors and director of Northwestern’s office for research development.
One of the most important goals of the program is “networking and leadership development,” said Falk-Krzesinski, who recently received the annual Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Women in Science, Chicago Area Chapter, for her efforts with the program.
Katherine Faber, program co-director and Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, worked with Falk-Krzesinski to organize six sessions on different topics related to professional career advancement.
Faber and Falk-Krzesinski were assisted by an advisory committee of women faculty from multiple departments on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses. “Our advisory committee members identified themes critical to their own career success,” said Faber, who was honored with a Faculty Award by Northwestern’s Women’s Center at its 20th anniversary banquet in April.
“We want these women to thrive as investigators, mentors, leaders, colleagues and educators through offerings in research, laboratory, grantsmanship, management, teaching, networking and other professional skills,” added Falk-Krzesinski.
Speakers for each session included Northwestern senior faculty women in science and science-related fields. In addition to learning new skills, the sessions provided opportunities to develop peer networks, opening doors for future collaboration between junior and senior women faculty.
“We wanted it to be valuable and highly rewarding,” said Falk-Krzesinski. “We really have the right people to talk to this group.”
Surveys taken by participants at the end of each session have provided constructive criticism and positive feedback. “Nearly all, 99.9 percent, of the participants would recommend this program to a colleague,” said Falk-Krzesinski.
The success of this pilot program has led to the consideration of hosting similar programs in the future for both women and men.
The final session for the 2007 program will be held June 21 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Evanston.
-- Megan Fellman