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Searle Fellows

Launching Learning & Teaching Leaders

The Searle Fellows Program is a time-honored Northwestern professional development initiative that recognizes and supports the great promise of early career faculty members who will make significant and long-term contributions to Northwestern University. 

Since 1999, the Searle Fellows Program’s mission has been to cultivate a community of learning & teaching leaders at Northwestern who center equity/excellence through pedagogical experimentation, critical reflection, and joyful celebration. Over 300 faculty have completed the Searle Fellows Program since its inception. 

Participation in the Searle Fellows Program is often highlighted in promotion and tenure dossiers. Past participants routinely report a positive impact of their participation on the progress of their academic careers. 

Applications to join the 2024-25 AY cohort of Searle Fellows are due by June 15, 2024Any early career faculty member with a minimum of two years at Northwestern who is working towards their next career milestone is eligible to apply.

 Apply Now

Program Overview

During the academic year, Searle Fellows build an interdisciplinary community with other Fellows and receive personalized coaching from Searle educational developers and a faculty mentor of their choosing. 

Each quarter, Searle Fellows participate in four types of program events—a day-long retreat, a afternoon or evening Teaching Salon, a working group session, and a meeting with their faculty mentor. These gatherings support Fellows’ development of a program portfolio centered on a self-selected, evidence-driven learning and teaching project, such as revising an assignment or course, developing a pedagogy-focused scholarly article, or conducting a learning assessment.

To support the goal of cultivating learning and teaching leaders, Fellows also share their project in a public venue, such as a talk or workshop for their department, a proposal for a conference, or an article submission.

We end the year with a recognition ceremony and celebration, attended by current fellows, mentors, and University dignitaries. 

Along the way, participants receive thought-provoking books on learning and teaching to add to their personal libraries. Upon successful completion of the program, Searle Fellows earn a certificate of recognition.

Program Expectations

To successfully complete the Searle Fellows Program and receive the certificate, participants are expected to engage with the different program opportunities:

  1. Attend quarterly Retreats
  2. Attend quarterly Teaching Salons
  3. Attend quarterly Project Group Meetings
  4. Meet quarterly with Faculty Mentor
  5. Share Project in a Public Venue
  6. Complete the program ePortfolio
  7. Attend the Ceremony & Celebration

Specific dates and times of events for the next academic year are outlined in the How to Apply section.

Faculty Mentors

Upon acceptance into the Searle Fellows Program, each new Searle Fellow recruits a senior faculty member to be their mentor throughout their time in the program. If you need help identifying a mentor, reach out to the Searle Fellows Program or your department chair.

Faculty Mentors play an important role in supporting Fellows' project development, often providing sponsorship for the public sharing of their work, and in engaging in conversations focused on critical reflection of each one's teaching philosophy and practice. 

Faculty Mentor Expectations

Because of the value in cultivating a strong mentoring relationship, the Searle Fellows Program is committed to creating an enriching experience for the Faculty Mentor as well. Each faculty mentor can expect that by participating as a mentor, they will make progress towards the following goals:

  1. Engaging in culturally aware conversations about learning and teaching with each mentee.
  2. Critically reflecting on the alignment of their mentoring philosophy, practices, and positionality.
  3. Leveraging sponsorship opportunities to endorse, amplify, and advocate for each mentee within the mentor’s extended networks.

Faculty Mentor Expectations

To ensure an equitable experience for all Searle Fellows, we ask that Faculty Mentors commit to the following program activities:

  1. Attend the morning sessions of the quarterly Retreats
  2. Meet at least once quarterly

We also encourage Faculty Mentors to join the quarterly Teaching Salons and Spring ceremony and celebration.


How to Apply to be a 2024-25 AY Searle Fellow


Any early career research- or teaching-line faculty member with a minimum of two years at Northwestern who is working towards their next career milestone is eligible to apply.

Application Requirements

Applications to join the 2024-25 AY Searle Fellows Cohort are due by June 15, 2024. Decision notifications will go out by July 1, 2024. Please secure approval from your department chair or dean before applying.

The application form will ask you for the following information and items:

  1. Contact Information: Name, Pronouns, NETID, Email, Role, Title, Department, School
  2. Attestation of your Department Chair's or Dean's approval to participate if accepted, including their name and email.
  3. Name and email of a Faculty Mentor, if you already have someone in mind.
  4. Possible project idea(s) related to learning and teaching. We are interested to learn what sparks your curiosity about education.
  5. A current draft of your Statement of Teaching or Teaching Philosophy
  6. Your CV
  7. Agreement that you will be available to attend the majority of program events and meetings (see below).

Program Event Dates

  • September 6, 2024: Fall Retreat (10:00 AM-3:00 PM; Evanston)
  • October 17, 2024: Teaching Salon (3:00-4:30 PM; Evanston/hybrid)
  • December 18, 2024: Winter Retreat (10:00 AM-3:00 PM; Chicago)
  • January 16, 2025: Teaching Salon (4:30-6:30 PM; Chicago)
  • February 20, 2025: Teaching Salon (3:00-4:30 PM; Evanston)
  • April 25, 2025: Spring Retreat (10:00 AM-3:00 PM; Chicago)
  • May 29, 2025: Celebration & Ceremony (3:00-5:00 PM; Evanston)

You will coordinate with your faculty mentor and project working group to set dates for your quarterly meetings.

Apply Now

2023-24 AY Searle Fellows