Professor of the Future

Developing top-quality faculty candidates is vital for the future of Penn State Engineering. With the increase in academic positions in other universities occupied by graduates of Penn State, our stature and influence increases, and the uniqueness of our graduate program is confirmed. Branding our PhD graduates as leaders-in-the-making is the main objective of the Professor of the Future fundraising thrust. We also seek to host potential faculty members on short post-doctoral fellowships, a tactic often employed by top U.S. schools.

Merit PhD Excellence Fellowships

To compete more effectively with the top engineering colleges in the U.S., a significant expansion of our PhD program is required. Competition for the top students is intense, and the most competitive students receive multiple full fellowship offers for the duration of their PhD studies. We seek to offer highly competitive fellowships that are at least at the National Science Foundation fellowship levels, and include allowances for professional development, conference attendance, and much-needed equipment purchases.

Graduate Enrichment Awards

Placing our PhD graduates as faculty in the top universities is an exceptionally important aspect that will underpin the medium- and long-term excellence of the College. We want to offer our final-year PhD students opportunities to work in top-ranked universities as post-doctoral researchers supported by graduate enrichment awards. With support of our alumni, we will communicate with world-renowned professors to offer short-term placement of our students in well-respected labs, while being funded by the College. Such placements will enhance our students’ prospects of winning searches in top tier universities, since they will combine a Penn State PhD with research experience in one of the top five engineering schools in the nation.

Teaching and Leadership Awards

Placing a minimum of four of our PhD graduates annually as faculty in top universities is an exceptionally important aspect that will underpin the medium- and long-term excellence of the College. We want to place our senior PhD students into the classroom, to take responsibility, under supervision, for a regular class, and be the instructor-of-record. This experience will not only provide them with rare experiences in teaching, but also will enhance their employability in academe since they are already proven teachers.

Visiting Scholar Fellowships

The competition of exceptional faculty members is intense. To increase our chances of hiring the best and brightest junior professors, we would like to offer summer placements to top PhD students from excellent U.S. universities, to work in the labs at University Park, get to know the faculty, and appreciate the quality of Penn State Engineering.