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IDEA Scholars Mentoring & Leadership Coaching Program

IDEA Scholars

The IDEA Scholars Mentoring and Leadership Coaching Program is a faculty mentoring and academic leadership development program designed to promote the success of Northwestern University’s mid-career faculty (e.g., tenured associate professors/6+ years experience) while developing a leadership pipeline.


Note: This program differs from the Mid-Career Faculty Institute Program, which is open to all tenured associate professors. Faculty who are in the 2022-23 MCFI Cohort (and future cohorts) are also welcome to apply and participate in the IDEA Scholars program.

How to Apply

Please submit your materials via our IDEA Scholars Application. We will accept applications through Monday, January 2, 2023.

Information Sessions

We will host two virtual Q&A sessions in late November and in December before the campus Winter Recess:


IDEA Scholars Flyer


The IDEA Scholars program seeks to be a proactive part of the leadership-pipeline solution. Geared toward mid-career faculty members who identify as underrepresented at the university, participants are afforded access to invaluable academic and professional development experiences to provide them with a ‘peek behind the leadership curtain.’ The result is an empowered faculty who can make informed decisions about their leadership trajectory.

IDEA Scholars will benefit from:

  • dedicated mentoring by full professor faculty leaders,
  • one-on-one executive leadership coaching,
  • access to a suite of resources (e.g., leadership, wellness, productivity),
  • engagement with a robust network of renowned scholars from Northwestern University and across the nation.

IDEA Scholars is a cross-school initiative. With a target cohort of 20 mid-career faculty per year, IDEA Scholars benefit from a dedicated professional development experience.

In addition to mentoring as coordinated by OIDI, IDEA Scholars will benefit from a bespoke leadership cultivation experience that includes identifying relevant leaders (e.g, Vice/Presidents, Associate/Provosts, Institute Directors, Chairs, Associate/Deans), programs (e.g., Center for Leadership), and external partners (e.g., Cornell leadership certificate; Harvard MDP) that will lead to informed, empowered faculty as they make decisions about their timeline to full professor and, perhaps, a path to leadership.

Mentoring Team

Comprised of three members for two years: 1) the IDEA Scholar, 2) Internal Leadership Mentor, and 3) External Eminent Leader Mentor.


Idea Scholar

  • Engage in leadership networking opportunities, develop a career plan, and heighten their professional visibility in preparation for promotion.
  • Actively engage with their NU Internal Leadership Mentor and External Eminent Leader mentor.


Internal Leadership Mentor

  • Provide support and guidance as IDEA Scholar cultivates strategies to effectively interact with their unit and the institution. Mentoring should have a lasting impact on the retention and promotion of the IDEA Scholar.
  • To facilitate this professional relationship, $750 in funds are provided to the IDEA Scholar in the winter and fall quarters to help defray the costs of meeting expenses (e.g., coffee, meals).


External Eminent Leader Mentor

  • Prominent leader in the IDEA Scholar’s area of leadership interest. The IDEA Scholar may travel for a face-to-face meeting with their Eminent Leader Mentor. Likewise, the Eminent Scholar Mentor may be invited to travel to Northwestern University.
  • As an added benefit for the Eminent Scholar Mentor, if they choose, during their visit to Northwestern, can give a presentation on their research and/or leadership roles. $2000 per year to facilitate relationship.