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Junior Faculty Development Program

A group of 21 people stand together in front of a screen with a slide that says Congratulations

Members of the Junior Faculty Development Program’s 2023-24 graduating class.

The Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) provides a foundation for the success of junior faculty at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Since the program was introduced in 2003, it has served as an important steppingstone for faculty interested in taking their academic careers to the next level.

The program welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and interests who share a passion for inquiry, improvement and collaboration.

The program runs from September to May each year and consists of two components:

  • A comprehensive curriculum delivered through a series of weekly lessons
  • An individual project completed under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor (assigned by the JFDP leadership)

Apply to JFDP

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About JFDP

Goals of JFDP Expand answer
  • To promote the development and advancement of faculty.
  • To nurture and cultivate junior faculty to become the next generation of academic leaders.
  • To support the retention of faculty talent through improved networking, formation of a peer group, understanding of the varied roles of the faculty in an academic health center and awareness of opportunities at Penn State.
Curriculum Topics Expand answer


  • Identifying Opportunities for Scholarship
  • Brainstorming and Refining Scholarly Questions
  • Concept Models and Concept Papers
  • Step-Back Analysis
  • Proposal Writing
  • Navigating Project Resources and Oversight
  • Proposal Review & Mock Review
  • Peer Review – Practice
  • Project Poster Presentation (Evening Session)
  • Project Presentation – Practice
  • Project Presentation – Formal (End of Year)
  • Effective Posters


  • Perspectives on Teaching & Learning
  • Building Education: Design Thinking; Backward by Design
  • Teaching Skills
  • Focus Teaching Project
  • Educator Toolbox

Professional Development

  • Getting Acquainted Activity – Professional Temperament
  • Negotiation Panel & AC-40 Role Play
  • Effective Professional Documents: CV & Biosketch
  • Time Management
  • Educator Portfolio and P & T
  • Manuscript Review and Ethics
  • Diverse Groups: Unconscious Bias/Microaggression
  • Academic Compensation in Clinical and Basic Science Departments

Professional Identity

  • Systems Thinking
  • Resilience and Engagement
  • Kick-Off
  • Conversations with Leadership
  • Working in Teams
  • Core Values/Setting Goals
Applying to JFDP Expand answer

There are two steps to the JFDP application process:

Application Step 1

  • Submit completed online application, including current CV and letter from chair or division chief as appropriate, by March 15, 2024, for the 2024-2025 academic year.
  • The letter of support from the chair (and division chief, if appropriate) should indicate that the applicant has met with and discussed participating in the JFDP, and that the chair/chief will support 0.1 FTE for the JFDP participant for the approved academic year (approximately four hours per week). Letters should also indicate that the candidate will be allocated sufficient time required to fulfill the requirements of the program and potential projects.

Application Step 2

Those who have been invited to participate in JFDP must submit a formal project proposal by April 15, 2024. Inclusion in JFDP is contingent on meeting this deadline with a satisfactory proposal. Details on the project proposal submission can be found elsewhere on this page.

Submit full proposal (only if notified to do so)

Apply to JFDP

Project Proposal Submission Expand answer

For those invited to participate in JFDP, a key component is the individual project.

Those who have been invited to participate in JFDP must submit a formal project proposal by noon April 15, 2024. Inclusion in JFDP is contingent on meeting this deadline with a satisfactory proposal.

The proposal must include:

  • Goals and background: What will the JFDP project accomplish, and why was it chosen?
  • Broad mission area: Is this project most closely related to curriculum development, research or institutional infrastructure?
  • Methods: How will the project objectives be accomplished?
  • Evaluation and milestones: How will success toward the goals be measured? Also list the explicit milestones for achievement and tangible scholarly outcomes by the end of Year 2 (May 2023) for the project.
  • Resources: What kinds of resources (people, materials, time, etc.) will be needed?
  • Alignment: How does this project align with the investigator’s career goals and with the mission of their department?

Submit JFDP Project Proposal

Past Participants Expand answer


A full directory of past JFDP participants and their mentors and projects is listed here.

The JFDP Team Expand answer

Planning Team