NextGen Professors Program

Michelle Wang, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology graduate student, at the 2018 Future Professors Institute

Advancing Diversity in the Academy

NextGen Professors is a career-development program focused on preparing Cornell graduate students and postdocs for faculty careers across institutional types. The primary audience for this program is doctoral students (in year three or beyond) and postdocs from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the professoriate and/or those with a demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, inclusion, access, and equity in academia. Participants are members of a cohort who, together, engage in a series of professional and career development activities including monthly NextGen Professors meetings, Power Mentoring Sessions with faculty, and the Future Professors Institute. Participants also engage in program offerings of Future Faculty and Academic Careers, which focus on effectively integrating research and teaching skills for career development.

Eligibility Criteria

This program is focused on advancing diversity and inclusion within the professoriate, with an emphasis on engaging doctoral students and postdocs from backgrounds historically underrepresented in academia and/or those with a demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, inclusion, access, and equity in academia. More information can be found on the Application Information page. Doctoral students applying to the program should be in year three of their doctoral studies or beyond.


2021-2022 Application Cycle

Application packages due: September 28, 2021
Decisions released mid-October 2021

Application Instructions

Learn more and apply

NextGen Professors Meeting & Event Schedule: 2021-2022

  • October 25 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • November 17 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • December 7 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • January 27 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • February 15 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • March 23 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • April 20 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
  • May 18 (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.)

Possible Topics for Power Mentoring Sessions may include: understanding the socialization of first-year faculty; developing your tenure and promotion plan; preparing for administrative roles; avoiding self-sabotaging behaviors; and/or preparing for the transition to a faculty position.

For those remaining on campus post-commencement, there will be an additional special event for NextGen Professors and other invited future faculty on June 21, 2022.


Learn about the cohorts participating in the NextGen Professors program at Cornell. These talented graduate students and postdocs span the major subject areas of humanities, social sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences and engineering.

Objectives and Outcomes

The objectives and outcomes for NextGen Professors map to the four focus areas of the Graduate School’s professional development framework, Pathways to Success.

Navigate Academia

  • Learn to productively and professionally interact with faculty, peers, and others
  • Seek to understand the terminology, policies, and organizational structures of academic institutions 
  • Identify and leverage resources to support your preparation as future faculty  
  • Establish intellectual and social communities and professional networks  
  • Generate insights on the unspoken rules of operation and politics of academia, especially at a department level
  • Understand the challenges that one might face as a new faculty member who may be one of few or the only from specific social identity groups 
  • Understand various institutional types and various faculty career pathways within those types of institutions

Build Your Skills

  • Development of skills that will be transferable to academic and non-academic careers 
  • More in-depth development of skills that will prepare future faculty in the areas of research, teaching and mentoring, communications, and leadership and management 

Pathways to Success logo with text reading: Navigate, Build, Create, Prepare

Create Your Plan

  • Create a dynamic individual development plan
    • Understand yourself and your priorities
    • Identify resources and areas of development 
    • Develop goals and a timeline
    • Follow through with your plan
    • Reflect on your achievements and growth, and reevaluate your plan periodically to make adjustments as your interests, skills, and goals evolve 

Prepare for Your Career

  • Application materials mapped to specific institutional types of interest
    • CV 
    • Cover letter 
    • Research statement  
    • Teaching statement 
    • Diversity statement 
  • Preparation for campus interviews, job talks, and negotiations around start-up packages, facilities and equipment, teaching load, etc.   


This initiative is co-sponsored by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement and Future Faculty and Academic Careers. This project is also funded by the National Science Foundation (grant number 1647094; CIRTL AGEP). Any opinions, findings, interpretations, conclusions, or recommendations expressed at these events and in related publications and materials are those of their respective authors and do not represent the views of the National Science Foundation.


Please contact Graduate School Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement Sara Xayarath Hernández ( or Future Faculty and Academic Careers Executive Director Colleen McLinn ( with questions about this opportunity.

Go to Application Information