2024 Path of Professorship builds up women in academia

On November 18-19, 2023 CAPD and the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) successfully organized the 18th annual Path of Professorship program. Path of Professorship is a 2-day workshop for women interested in pursuing academic careers. This revered tradition was created by Blanche Staton, former Senior Associate Director of OGE in 2006. 

In attendance were 38 PhD students and 30 Postdoctoral fellows. Participants attended 12 sessions focused on the academic job search. Topics included maintaining work-life balance, negotiating the offer, efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in the professoriate and starting a lab. 

This year, the program welcomed 33 panelists representing MIT and 17 other institutions including an NSF program officer. This program has a profound impact on previous planning team members who often return later in their careers to serve as panelists to share their faculty perspectives with current women graduate students and postdocs. 

Participants appreciated the networking opportunities and the inspirational messages shared such as MIT President Emerita Susan Hockfield, who shared personal stories of her trajectory as a woman in the highest level of leadership. The enthusiasm and focus of the attendees was clear in their precise and nuanced questions at the end of each panel, as well as their lively participation in networking sessions with the speakers and each other. 

Path of Professorship offers such value to participants because it helps create a safe community and jumpstart for women exploring faculty careers, an area that needs their leadership.  Attendees shared their appreciative feedback: “Overall, this workshop was extremely valuable in giving me detailed info and insights on applying to and becoming a successful professor,” and “I learned so much about my peers and feel like I really met others who shared my experiences.” 

Two speakers address an attentive crowd at the Path of Professorship workshop.
By Elsie Otero
Elsie Otero Assistant Director, Graduate Student Professional Development