The Faculty Affairs Office supports Feinberg faculty members in their professional development through a number of programs and initiatives. Learn more about how we work within the medical school and through the broader Northwestern University system to encourage faculty growth and success.
Career Development for Researchers
The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute is an integral link in Northwestern University’s clinical and translational research enterprise, accelerating translational innovation by providing research teams with consultative resources and expertise. View the NUCATS website to explore the many resources it offers to support faculty in their research and career development, including popular Mentor Development Workshops.
This series serves as an introduction to some of the most important aspects of transitioning from researcher-in-training to investigator leading a research team or collaborating with peers. It is a joint venture of the Faculty Affairs Office, Feinberg School of Medicine, and the NUCATS Institute. Questions about the series can be directed to Rick McGee, PhD, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Professional Development, at 312-503-1737.
Over the past several years, through the efforts of the Faculty Affairs Office, NUCATS, and several individuals, a number of new resources and approaches to improved mentoring in FSM have been developed.
These resources and approaches include:
- Regular workshop series for beginning junior faculty
- Greater emphasis on institutional and individual K awards
- Grant Writers’ Groups for faculty writing first or second NIH R or K applications
- Mock Study Sections for in-depth review and feedback on grants before submission
- New workshops to guide the development of important mentoring skills
Listed below are links to access many of these new resources.
There is no skill or activity that more explicitly marks the progression of a scientist from novice to expert, from someone doing research on others' ideas to constructing and studying their own novel ideas, than the preparation of written research proposals. Many biomedical PhD programs have recognized this essential skill and have integrated it as one of the early milestones of the PhD through inclusion as part of comprehensive or candidacy exams, or as separate exercises.
Beyond this early learning phase, young or early scientists have historically learned the essential skill of writing research grants from mentors. Some mentors do a superb job of teaching the art and science of proposal writing, but at best they are in the minority and the rest range from providing minimal guidance to none at all. The presumption has typically been that this is the only way one can learn to write grants, along with the alternative of learning it "by the seat of your pants".
Recognizing the inadequacy of this as a teaching design strategy, a wide array of efforts have been mounted at institutions or through consulting and business arrangements to provide grant writing workshops. These workshops typically last a few hours to a few days, are largely focused on NIH-style proposals, and many are very well designed. However, having a conceptual idea of what goes into an NIH-style proposal is very different from actually constructing one. Furthermore, when one actually tries to write a proposal there is complex interplay between the rhetorical patterns and styles of writing and the scientific thinking and research design itself.
Over the past 12 years, Dr. Rick McGee has developed an alternative approach to teaching the art and science of writing NIH-style research proposals that he has used at various levels of training. This method has become the cornerstone of faculty development efforts to assist faculty who are in their early career stages to develop research programs at Northwestern University. Read a description of the process.
New writers groups are formed 3 times per year, about 4 months before each major NIH submission cycle deadline. If you would like to be put on the list to be notified when new groups are forming, please email Dr. Rick McGee, Associate Dean for Professional Development: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the Grant Writers Groups to assist junior faculty in the early stages of writing of NIH (R or K awards) and similar non-NIH proposals, we have recently added an invaluable opportunity to have your completed proposal fully reviewed by two FSM faculty in your field who are experienced NIH reviewers. The reviewers will be NIH-funded Northwestern faculty who have significant experience with peer review. The choice of reviewers will be individually customized to the scientific and/or career development activities being proposed. This new offering is intended to complement, not replace, other guidance on developing and writing successful research proposals, such as the Grant Writers Groups led by Dr. Rick McGee, departmental/division mentoring and peer review activities, and general collegial support.
This new peer review process was piloted in 2013 and is now fully implemented. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, you have to plan ahead. Refer to the document below regarding what needs to be submitted and when.
Feinberg has launched an online resource for residents and fellows who are interested in conducting research. The Housestaff Research Portal provides a roadmap for conducting research, including resources that span the entire research spectrum, from building a strong mentoring relationship to identifying funding sources, developing a hypothesis, disseminating research findings and planning for a career in research. Faculty may find this a helpful resource in mentoring residents and fellows, or find some of the resources on this site useful in their own careers (e.g., Career Advancement Plan for Junior Faculty).
Career Development for Educators
Our mission to support faculty at the Feinberg School of Medicine and affiliated institutions in their quest to become more effective educators irrespective of educational venue: simulation-based settings, small groups, the lecture hall, and the workplace while caring for patients. Our goal is to ensure that Feinberg faculty have knowledge and tools they need to prepare our medical students and residents for their professional lives and provide high quality, compassionate patient care both during their clinical training and throughout their careers.
The Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators (FAME) is committed to advancing the educational mission of the medical school through the recognition and career development of outstanding faculty educators. We also sponsor faculty development programming that is open to the entire Feinberg community, such as the monthly TIME lecture series and the annual Feinberg Medical Education Day. Our mission is to develop, promote and reward great clinician educators.
The Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching focuses on enhancing learning and teaching at all levels of the University and is dedicated to four core activities: faculty development; graduate student and postdoctoral scholar development; undergraduate academic support and enrichment; and assessment, evaluation, and education research. Through its wide range of programs, services, and research, the Center seeks to assist all members of the Northwestern community in developing highly effective learning environments and experiences for their students, their colleagues, and themselves. Since its founding, the Center has substantially grown in breadth and reach, and its staff make meaningful contributions nationally and internationally to the literature on learning and teaching.
Career Development for Clinicians
The Academy for Quality and Safety Improvement (AQSI) is a seven-month professional development program designed to equip practicing healthcare professionals at Northwestern Medicine with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively lead quality improvement (QI) in interdisciplinary teams. Participants attend classroom sessions and complete a QI project in which they apply the principles and methods learned. AQSI accepts applications from interprofessional teams who each propose the QI project they will execute. To foster participants' learning and success in their projects, AQSI pairs each team with a clinical mentor, a performance improvement coach, and support in data acquisition and analysis.
The Office of Continuing Medical Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine promotes such excellence in patient care and safety through accredited education activities based on up-to-date, clinically relevant, scientifically rigorous, evidence-based medical information.