Summer Institute on Tenure & Professional Advancement

The Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement (SITPA) at Duke University is a mentoring and professional socialization initiative that facilitates the successful transition from junior faculty status to tenured associate professor for a broad group of early career faculty. The Institute is open to faculty members in their first or second year in a tenure track position in an accredited U.S. based college or university, who are from underrepresented groups or otherwise support the diversity missions of their institutions. SITPA seeks to help remedy the persistent underrepresentation of various racial and ethnic minority groups on the faculties of U.S. colleges and universities.

Knowledge, Advice & Guidance on Earning Tenure

A four decade-old national effort to increase the number of racial and ethnic minorities who pursue graduate degrees has been a notable success. However, progress in faculty diversity has not kept pace with student diversity. Enhancing tenure rates is the next frontier in the efforts to increase the presence of faculty of color in higher education. SITPA is predicated on the principle that tenure and professional advancement are the linchpins for hastening the realization of the goal to reduce, over time, the serious underrepresentation of minority faculty in U.S. colleges and universities.

Attaining tenure is one of the most important and visible signs of success and accomplishment for faculty in U.S. colleges and universities. Tenure not only provides faculty with the freedom and protection to pursue research topics regardless of their controversial or political nature, it also allows faculty to become long-term stakeholders in their institution, who help shape the institution’s mission, curriculum, student body, and faculty.

The Summer Institute for Tenure and Professional Advancement (SITPA) is an initiative through which select junior faculty receive knowledge, advice, and guidance on how to be successful in the quest for tenure.  SITPA is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and is administered and hosted by the Center for the Study of Race Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences (REGSS) at Duke University. REGSS is an interdisciplinary center where scholars interested in research in areas related to race, ethnicity, and the intersections of these two with gender come together to engage each other through collaborative projects, lectures and conferences.

SITPA is a two-year program that includes:

  • A required workshop on earning tenure.  In the past this workshop has been held on Duke’s campus, yet at this time, the workshop will most likely be remote.
  • 24 months of mentoring from a senior faculty in your discipline
  • Consultations on select research and/or teaching projects
  • Teaching and Research Grants


picture of workshop participates

At the beginning of their first year, scholars attend a series of online workshops held in August and September. The workshop combines interactive panel discussions with opportunities to meet fellow scholars and senior faculty mentors. The objective is to provide scholars with information, strategies, and skills needed to facilitate the transition from junior faculty status to tenured associate professor.

Projects and Mentoring

picture of mentor and fellow conversing

SITPA scholars will be matched with a senior faculty mentor from their discipline and from a college or university other than their own, but one with the same Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classification. Scholars, in consultation with their mentor, will identify two specific research or teaching-related projects (e.g. journal article, book chapter, manuscript prospectus, grant proposal, teaching portfolio, etc.) on which the scholar will work for the 2-year program period. The projects will be selected on the basis of the expectations and requirements for tenure at the scholar’s college or university, and on the basis of general tenure expectations in the scholar’s discipline. SITPA scholars are required to meet with their mentor for a minimum of 1.5 hours a month for 24 consecutive months, via an online electronic meeting platform, to discuss and receive feedback on their research and/or teaching projects.

Teaching and Research Grants

Scholars will receive a $750 grant to further their research and or teaching activities after completing one of the research or teaching-related projects, and after meeting all other program requirements. Scholars will receive an additional $750 grant upon completing their second project.


Untenured faculty entering their first, or currently in their first year of a tenure-track position at an accredited U.S. based college or university, who are from underrepresented groups or who otherwise support the diversity missions of their institutions, are eligible to apply.

Preference will be given to applicants in the following fields of study: Anthropology; Area/Cultural/Ethnic/Gender Studies; Art History; Classics; Human Geography and Population Studies; English; Film, Cinema and Media Studies; Musicology and Ethnomusicology; Foreign Languages and Literatures; History; Linguistics; Literature; Performance Studies; Philosophy and Political Theory; Physics and Astronomy; Religion and Theology; and Sociology.

(Please note: We are not accepting applications at this time.)

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