Career Development

An important function of Women in Medicine and Science is facilitating the career development of women faculty and junior faculty members. Various initiatives have been organized by the WIMS to carry out its missions, including the Early Career Women Faculty Mentoring Program, general professional development opportunities, two career development programs, and identification of liaisons within each WFSM department to facilitate communication and disseminate information to faculty across the institution.

Career Development for Women Leaders (CDWL) Program

This professional development fellowship began in January 2008. Modeled after national programs for women in academic medicine, the CDWL fellowship covers nine one-day sessions over months. Because national leadership programs for women are becoming increasingly competitive and expensive and only a few faculty members can benefit each year, the purposes of the cross-campus CDWL program are to provide:

  • An affordable, university-based leadership development program for women who are either currently in or aspire to leadership roles at Wake Forest
  • A local, national-level-quality experience that allows more women to participate in leadership education
  • An opportunity to bring women together from diverse professional backgrounds (anesthesiology, cancer biology, theater, math) to exchange ideas and foster cross-campus collaboration.

Presenters are nationally and internationally known experts, executive coaches and senior Wake Forest University faculty and administrators. All presenters are highly respected in their content areas.

Women faculty (mid- to senior-career preferred) and senior staff (Vice President level or equivalent) are eligible to apply for the program. The call for applications opens annually in February/March for the program that begins the following September.

View 2019-2020 schedule for topics and dates (pdf)

Graduate Analytics

  • There are 154 CDWL Graduates (2008-2017): WFSM (66%); WFU (25%); other, WSSU, UNCG, High Point U & Salem College (8%).
  • Of 154 graduates, 90 (58%) have accepted a new leadership role after program completion.
  • Of those 90, 38 (42%) have accepted more than one new leadership role since program completion.
  • Only 19 (12%) graduates have left their institution. Of these 19, 74% left for leadership opportunities at their new institution. Two others retired.

Early Career Development Program for Women

WIMS also sponsors the Early Career Development Program for Women (ECDPW). Targeted toward early-career women faculty, the ECDPW is modeled after the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Early Career Professional Development Seminar and includes six day-long sessions over six month.

National seminars are increasingly competitive and expensive. ECPDW offers the following benefits:

  • The faculty member does not have to travel.
  • The program is spread out across six months, causing less interruption in research, education and clinical responsibilities.
  • More women are able to participate.
  • Cost is reasonable (modest tuition for the program and minimal/no travel expenses).
  • The program provides an opportunity for women from diverse professional backgrounds to come together to exchange ideas and develop their networks further.

Development of an Innovative Career Development Program for Early-Career Women Faculty (article - PDF)

2021 Call for Applications 

WIMS has opened the annual call for applications. Women faculty at the instructor or assistant professor rank (with a minimum appointment at current institution of one year) are invited to apply for this Program, which is modeled after the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Early Career Professional Development Seminar. The Professional Development Fellowship will begin in January 2021 and lasts for six full days in total, spread out over six months.  For 2021, all sessions will take place virtually.    

View the 2021 schedule (pdf)

Total program costs are $2,000 to be covered by the candidate’s department. To apply, the candidate must submit:

  1. Application form 
  2. Cover letter (approximately one page) responding to the following: 
    1. Regarding your current career journey, what motivates you to apply for this program and why now?
    2. What are your career goals and how can the ECDPW help you to achieve these goals?
    3. If there is any additional pertinent information that would be useful in evaluating your application, please detail it in this letter. Please be clear and concise.
  3. Current CV
  4. A strong and comprehensive letter of support from the candidate’s department chair and/or section chief should: (1) address the applicants fit for the program, detail the candidate strengths and how the candidate would benefit from participation in the program at this time (2) include a statement that allows the candidate release time for the program. This statement is particularly important since those accepted into the program must attend all sessions to receive the certificate of achievement. 

The application process will begin August 28, 2020. Applications should be submitted electronically to Heather Allison Whitley ( and must be received by September 30, 2020.

Please contact Heather Whitley, ECDPW Manager, if you have any questions.

Departmental Liaisons

Designated faculty serve as a connection between WIMS and the departments within Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. They also:

  • Assist in the recruitment of women faculty. Departmental liaisons notify WIMS when women faculty candidates are being interviewed in their department, so someone from the office can be included in the interview process or provide written material on our programming.
  • Facilitate the development of women faculty in each department.
  • Encourage women faculty in each department to attend WIMS functions by making announcements at faculty meetings or by sharing notices with the relevant audience.
  • Facilitate the WIMS Early Career Women Faculty Mentoring Program by offering the names of strong mentors within the department or by telling women faculty about the program.
  • Bring to WIMS any concerns about mentoring of women faculty and leadership roles for women in the department.