Pathway to Faculty departmental competition guidelines

The Wayne State Pathway to Faculty program is an innovative initiative to diversify the professoriate at WSU. In this program, pre-faculty fellows will be guided to and prepared for the acceptance of tenure-track faculty positions. Ongoing support will be provided by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Individuals who identify as members of groups historically underrepresented in their chosen field in higher education are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Successful candidates will have shown exceptional promise in research or creative activities and scholarship along with a demonstrated desire to pursue a tenure-track position while advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Applicants must have or be seeking a:

  1. Doctoral degree
  2. Terminal masters degree
  3. Professional degree
  4. Up to two years of post-graduate training (i.e., postdoctoral equivalent or creative activities)

Applicants must have a confirmed date of degree completion. Depending on standard practice in the specific field or discipline, fellows will receive 2-3 years of funded post-terminal degree training followed by 2-3 years of funding as an independent, tenure-track faculty member, for total support not to exceed 5 years.  Up to five scholars, annually, will be hired through this mechanism. The program is comprised of two phases. 

Visit the public-facing Pathway to Faculty page to see current open positions, as well as the list of new pre-faculty fellows. 

Departmental or programmatic area competition

The deadline for departmental submission will be posted soon.

To ensure that hiring aligns with unit goals and that there is a strong commitment to a welcoming and supportive environment through the adoption of practices and principles of inclusive excellence and equity-mindedness, an internal competition will be initiated to determine the units to host fellows.

Applications will be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dean will organize and chair a committee that will be comprised of

  • Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Vice President for Research
  • Two department chairs
  • Two faculty members

The committee will evaluate departmental/programmatic area applications for participation and recommend to the provost the units which will be involved in this initiative. The provost will make final determinations as to the participating units. This committee will also support units during the formation of recruiting and search plans as well as the hiring process.

Application Materials

  • Description of unit priorities and goals as they relate to DEI of faculty, staff, and students.  (1 page maximum)
  • Position description and how hiring in the area of interest will increase unit and university diversity as well as standing at a national and international level. This statement should also include how this hire will increase research, teaching, and outreach/engagement in the unit and how the hire aligns with the WSU mission.  (1 page maximum)
  • Recruiting and Search Plan: A plan for recruiting that describes efforts to ensure a qualified and diverse pool of applicants.  A plan for conducting the search should be submitted which includes details to mitigate bias during applicant evaluation and interviews and to ensure equity in all aspects of the search and hiring process. (2 page maximum) 
  • Timeline for progression from pre-faculty fellow to faculty and deliverables that will inform successful transition to a tenure track position in the unit. (1 page maximum)
  • Letter from the School/College Dean in support of the application, providing further context into the type of support the College/School will provide for the position and how this position supports the School's/College's goals. (2 page maximum)
  • Outline of a plan to support a "Brain Trust" model for faculty mentoring.  This model utilizes the following individuals as a mentoring team (2 page maximum):
    • Peer Mentor
    • Career Mentor
    • Internal Advocate
    • External Advocate
    • Challenger
    • Sponsor

Note: Only one application per department or programmatic area will be accepted

The definition of each of the mentoring types is below. It is expected that the Career Mentor will be the faculty member responsible for training the Fellow during the postdoctoral phase of the award. The Internal Advocate will be the unit head in which the fellow is appointed.  All other positions can be filled at the discretion of the unit. These positions need not be filled within the unit. Please provide short biographies for each member to be appointed to the Brain Trust. 

Mentoring types

Roles Responsibilities Qualifications
Peer Mentor Develop a relationship with the mentee that facilitates a sense of belonging; offer information related to internal and external resources for work-life satisfaction; provide support when negative behavior is encountered; inform the mentee of unwritten rules and processes that impact success; provide the collegiality of a peer. Early-career tenure track faculty member at WSU who has excelled in the professoriate and has a demonstrated commitment to DEI; the Postdoc Office can assist in identification of this member of the Brain Trust, if needed.
Career Mentor Act as the advisor for the pre-faculty fellow and allow independence and provide mentoring during the faculty phase. Share experiences, skills and perspectives; listen and be open minded and equitable, have the self-reflection needed to leave the mentoring relationship if needed.  Work with fellow to create or expand the IDP; hold oneself and mentee accountable; meet when agreed; spend some political capital on the success of the mentee. Identify and facilitate the development of the mentee's relationship with the external advocate.  Tenured WSU faculty member who has achieved the same or similar career goals of the mentee. Have scholarly activities which support the interest of the mentee. 
Internal Advocate Get to know the fellow's skills, abilities, interest, passions and goals; know what drives them; promote the mentee in situations within the unit, school/college or university; facilitate the inclusion of the mentee in opportunities that drive them; offer mentee's talents for consideration when collaborations are sought or resources are available; spend political capital to facilitate the mentee's success.  Is a unit or school/college decision maker (e.g., chair). Shares disciplinary interest.
External Advocate Similar to the internal advocate but assist mentee in exploring new directions in scholarship and creative endeavor; facilitates networking; nominates mentee for memberships, fellowships and awards as well as opportunities for national and international exposure. Shares disciplinary interest; holds a position outside WSU; well recognized in their field.
Challenger Willing to point out areas of professional blunder and scrutinizes mentee activities; comfortable in pushing the mentee to their limits of comfort; very specific in critiques and never personally attacks. Holds a position of trust and prominence; is admired and respected; the Postdoc Office can assist in identification of this member of the Brain Trust, if needed.
Sponsor Recognizes and owns position of power and influence in the unit and school/college and will use this position to support the success of the mentee. Is a decision maker and will help to protect the mentee from distracting obligations; spends political capital to promote mentee success. Dean or high level administrator who has influence in the school or college where the mentee is appointed; the Postdoc Office can assist in identification of this member of the Brain Trust, if needed.

For more information on the roles and their qualifications, contact the Graduate School at

Units awarded at this stage will then be instructed to proceed to the fellow search and interview phase. 

Fellow search and interview

The search and interview process will begin 60 days after the selection of departments or programs. Each selected unit will appoint a recruiting and search committee. The chair of this committee will ensure that the committee receives training designed to mitigate bias, racism, and inequity and to conduct a culturally aware search and hiring process. Departmental review of candidates will be based on a standard rubric. The rubric will be utilized to conduct a first-level blind review of applicants based on documents, which should include a statement on DEI, in which demographic information will be redacted. To request a copy of the rubric, contact the Graduate School at

To facilitate this process, all fellow applications will be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School. Upon submission, the applications will be scrubbed of all identifying characteristics. After completion of this review, the same rubric will be used for the second-level review of the CV and other documents which will contain demographic characteristics of the applicant.

Interviews, which are the third and final level of review by the search committee, will also be conducted based on this rubric.   Opportunities for freely written comments will be included at all levels of review to accommodate discipline-specific review criteria. The Pathway to Faculty committee will work with the recruiting and search committee to provide opportunities for training for all individuals involved in the search and hiring process. This includes all who are involved in in-person visits, seminars or presentations by the applicant, and meetings with proposed Brain Trust members.

Frequently asked questions