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Society of Fellows seeks applications

New initiative to promote faculty excellence, diversity, inclusion across all campuses

Northwestern faculty members can now apply to be part of the first cohort of the Society of Fellows, a new program designed to promote excellence, diversity and inclusion.

Part of the Faculty Pathways Initiative, the Society of Fellows will be a robust community of scholars dedicated to cultivating interdisciplinary research collaborations and enhancing research excellence among Northwestern’s faculty. 

The first cohort of Fellows will begin in Fall 2020. Each year, the Society will select three senior and six early-stage faculty Fellows, all of whom will serve three-year terms. Applications for the first cohort are due by March 16. The application form and a description of application materials can be found here

A central goal of the Society will be to contribute to the intellectual culture of the University by drawing on a diversity of perspectives and scholarly approaches that can be found across the faculty.

“Research shows that we’re smarter together — groups that include a variety of perspectives tend to be more creative and have a greater impact than those that don’t,” said Baron Reed, director of the Society of Fellows and a professor of philosophy. “The Society of Fellows aims to build on the University’s disciplinary strengths by creating a vibrant intellectual community in which scholars with different kinds of expertise are brought into a sustained conversation with each other. This will enable them to tackle bigger problems and reach a broader audience.”

Faculty members who are chosen for the Society will receive one course release per year, and an annual stipend of $15,000 for Senior Fellows or $10,000 for Junior Fellows. All Fellows also will receive an annual $5,000 research fund.

Fellows will be expected to attend weekly meetings on the Evanston campus, as well as occasional dinners, lectures, panel discussions and other events throughout the year. Fellows also will be expected to engage in mentoring at a variety of levels and may play a role in choosing future cohorts of the Society. 

When the Society is at full strength, it will comprise three cohorts of Fellows, or 27 members. Members of the Society’s Faculty Advisory Council also will participate in Society activities. Some lectures and panel discussions will be open to the broader Northwestern community. 

The Society is designed to add to the University’s interdisciplinary strengths, already visible at Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, the Institute for Policy Research, the Kaplan Institute and other programs. Reed envisions the Society of Fellows building on these programs by reaching across a broad cross-section of the University. It could, for instance, connect humanists with engineers, natural scientists with lawyers, or creative artists with experts in corporate leadership, he said.

“We are especially looking for highly creative faculty, who are looking to step outside of the familiar and who will be excited about the prospect of helping to form the activities and ambitions of the Society as it takes shape in the coming years,” Reed said.

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