Future Faculty Fellows

In the Future Faculty Fellows program, postdocs get matched with an Illinois Computer Science faculty mentor to help prepare for an academic career in research and teaching. Join our thriving community of creative, passionate, and innovative scholars for opportunities for career development, networking, and research collaborations.

Future Faculty Fellows: Overview

Future Faculty Fellows is a two-year long program designed to assist postdoctoral researchers  in developing their skills as researchers, mentors, and teachers, and then in using those skills to achieve their professional goals.

The program has three core components that will have activities each semester: research mentoringmentoring in teaching and other professional skills, and cohort development.


An Illinois CS faculty member will be assigned as a primary research mentor, but may be supplemented by mentoring from other faculty. 

Training may include:

  • Responsible conduct for research
  • Literature search
  • Data management
  • Software development and testing
  • Collaboration skills and teamwork
  • Project leadership
  • Selecting a publication venue
  • Preparing proposals
Teaching and Professional Skills

Activities organized by Illinois CS and the University of Illinois will complement mentoring by an assigned faculty member.

Training may include:

  • Developing a new course
  • Teaching large classes
  • Learning how to be a research mentor 
  • Relationships with collaborators
  • Oral communications skills
  • Writing grants, papers, and email
  • Developing a personal website
Cohort Development

Future Faculty Fellows will participate together with all Illinois CS postdocs in activities organized by the department to enable them to form community and stimulate and support each other's development.

Cohort activities may include:

  • Weekly lunch for informal networking
  • Monthly research presentations
  • Regular discussions with faculty about professional skills and development, including classroom teaching, paper and grant writing, job search, presentation skills, and reviewing papers and proposals.

Personalized Development Plan

Each Future Faculty Fellow will be encouraged to develop and maintain a personalized development plan (PDP) covering their goals for their postdoc appointment. The PDP will be discussed with their assigned faculty mentor, reviewed by the program's directors, and updated as needed. In the second year, the PDP will be reviewed by the postdoc, mentor, and program's directors to ensure that the program is working well. 

Teacher Training

Over the two-year fellowship period, postdocs will (a) engage in teacher training provided by the University of Illinois (two semesters), (b) lead a seminar course in their own research area (one semester), and (c) participate at increasing levels of engagement in teaching one of the main departmental undergraduate courses (three semesters) — progressing from attending course staff meetings, to serving as a course co-instructor, and then teaching the course with the support of a faculty member.

Sample Future Faculty Fellows Timeline

A customized program will be developed for each Fellow based on their career goals and interests.  For example:

Year 1:

  • Semester 1:  Prepare personal development plan. Teaching training, assisting in an existing course (e.g., giving lectures). Take professional development training. Give research seminars in the department.
  • Semester 2: Participation in teaching training and mentoring by teaching mentor. Give research seminar in the department and externally. Host external speaker(s) in Illinois seminar (to assist with connections).

Year 2:

  • Semester 1: Participation in teaching training and mentoring by teaching mentor. Intensive job search preparation (integrated with graduating PhDs). Give research seminar in the department and externally. Begin job search activity. Participate in proposal preparation mock panel.
  • Semester 2:  Teach a course in the CS department. Give research talks internally and externally. Provide professional development mentoring to graduating PhD students and first year postdocs. Complete job search activity.

Application Process

  1. Identify one to five Illinois CS faculty to potentially serve as your mentor.
  2. Prepare a cover letter, curriculum vitae, teaching statement, research statement, and identify the names and contact information for three references. In your cover letter, indicate your ultimate career goals, include the names of the Illinois CS faculty with whom you are interested in working, and indicate that you are applying for the Future Faculty Fellows program.
  3. Create an account in the Illinois CS Postdoctoral Research Associate Application Portal.  Complete the application form and upload your materials.


Future Faculty Fellows: Program Directors

Nancy Amato

Nancy M. Amato
Department Head
Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering

Mohammed El-Kebir

Mohammed El-Kebir
Assistant Professor

Current Future Faculty Fellows