Updated 22 April 2019

Learn About Beyond the Professoriate



Beyond the Professoriate (“Beyond Prof”) is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) incorporated in Colorado. In general, a PBC is a mission-driven business that operates for the benefit of the public, not its owners or shareholders. Learn more here.

Beyond Prof’s mission is to empower PhDs to build impactful careers and engaged lives, wherever smart people are needed.

We provide career education and professional development to individual graduate students and PhDs, and partner with educational institutions, to prepare the next generation of scholars for careers in academia and beyond.

Beyond Prof maintains offices in Canada to deliver services and programs for Canadian institutions.


Beyond the Professoriate is 100% owned by two PhDs: L. Maren Wood, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Jennifer Polk, PhD (University of Toronto). Maren and Jennifer know first-hand how difficult it is for graduate students and PhDs to access the resources and mentorship they need to launch careers inside and beyond academia. In building Beyond Prof, they leverage their research, expertise, and personal experience to help graduate students and PhDs launch their next great careers. Learn more about Beyond Prof’s founders here.


Beyond Prof is funded by subscriptions to programs and platforms, ticket sales to annual online conferences, and coaching services tailored to serve its mission. There are no outside investors, shareholders, or funding.

Over 90% of Beyond Prof’s revenue provides income for individual employees, contractors, and contributors. The balance sustains marketing and business development; developing, hosting, and maintaining platforms; and delivering effective programming.


Beyond Prof takes great care to only collect essential information about its users and audiences to reach them, deliver services and programming, and efficiently operate its platforms.

Aurora, e-learning by Beyond the Professoriate

Aurora is an e-learning platform available by institutional subscription. Users are limited to the individual students, postdocs, faculty, and staff of subscribing institution. Beyond Prof’s team and contractors create and maintain the platform. There are no third-party users on the platform. Learn more about Aurora here.   

User are presented with the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy the first time they access Aurora.  Administrators and staff at subscribing institutions review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy on behalf of students and postdocs before subscribing.

Beyond Prof has designed Aurora to maximize the privacy of users.

What users can do on this platform

Users can access programs that include on-demand videos to explore career options and learn job search strategies, complete worksheets and exercises in a private note widget, and take quizzes to earn a certificate of completion.

Over time, Beyond Prof will add additional modules and tools to Aurora to further its mission of providing career education and professional development to graduate students and postdocs.

Beyond Prof provides a safe learning environment to users. There are no opportunities for users of Aurora to interact with each other or see other users who are active on the platform; no user can see the activity of, or interact with, other users on the platform.  

What Beyond Prof sees

Aurora is integrated with, and accessed through, an institution’s Single Sign-On portal. The institution authenticates a user, allowing them to access the e-learning platform. The first time a user accesses Aurora, a user account is generated using the user’s name and institutional email address.

Through their user account, an individual can track their progress through the programs of study, takes private notes, and completes quizzes.

To understand utilization and detect problems in performance, Beyond Prof uses Google Analytics and a tracking plugin. These tools show which users are logging in and when, pages users visit, how long users spend on a specific page, devices used to access the platform (phone, laptop, tablet), and which browsers users choose (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc).

When a user completes a quiz or marks a unit as “complete,” it is recorded in the admin panel of Aurora and accessible by a Beyond Prof administrator. Completing a quiz or marking a unit as “complete” is optional.   

What Beyond Prof does not see

No personal information Other than a user’s name and email address, is released by subscribing institutions to Aurora. Beyond Prof does not receive demographic information, visa or employment status, or the home department, of a user.

In terms of user activity on the platform, Beyond Prof does not see which videos a user watched or any notes created in the private note taking widget.

How Beyond Prof uses information from Aurora

The Beyond Prof team generates aggregate reports about an institution’s users for designated program administrators. The reports show how many users from an institution accessed Aurora, which programs and pages were viewed, and the number of certificates earned. Beyond Prof does not share information about individual users without user consent.

Quiz grades are used by Beyond Prof to verify a user’s completion of the programs of study in Aurora and to issue certifications.

Beyond Prof analyzes aggregate data to understand the efficacy of its programs,  improve the functions and content of the platform, and to develop additional programming.

Beyond Prof only sends emails to users of Aurora to provide information about updates and changes to the platform, and to collect substantive feedback to improve the platform and develop additional programming.

Beyond Prof will never sell any information about users to third-parties.

How data from Aurora is stored

Aurora is hosted on a Virtual Private Server and platform data are located and secured with consideration of applicable international standards.  (Learn more about VPS here.)

When data is analyzed by Beyond Prof team, user information is anonymized; email addresses and names are removed and replaced with an unidentifying ID number.

Community, by Beyond the Professoriate

The Online Career Hub for PhDs is hosted on Mighty Networks, a third-party software as service platform. It is an entirely separate platform from Aurora. Graduate students and PhDs have the option to join the Community by registering and purchasing an individual membership. Learn more about Mighty and read its privacy policy.  

What members can do on this platform

When joining the community, members are required to set up a profile using their real name. Including a profile picture or a bio is optional.

Members join groups, follow topics, complete courses, watch recordings of past webinars, and learn about upcoming events. Members interact with one another and the Beyond Prof team through written posts and comments, shared resources, and private messages.  

The Community is private; members are only known to each other and the Beyond Prof team. The Beyond Prof team moderates discussion to ensure that the community is a positive, supportive, and inclusive space.

What Beyond Prof can see

Information a member shares in their profile and bio, including name and location, are visible to other members of the community including the Beyond Prof team.

Comments or posts made by members in the main network, groups, or courses, are visible to other members and the Beyond Prof team. Private messages sent between members are private.

Mighty Network provides Beyond Prof with aggregate information about the community through an analytics dashboard. That information includes the total number of community members, growth and retention rate, post activity, and the type of content members find most engaging.

Beyond Prof staff can view reports that includes members’ names, email addresses, resident city, groups joined, topics followed, and when members last accessed the community. Learn more here.

In addition to the analytics provided by Mighty, Beyond Prof uses Google Analytics to better understand how members use and engage with the platform content.

What Beyond Prof doesn’t see

Messages sent between members are private. Beyond Prof does not see individual member activity such as videos watched, course units completed, posts read, or resources accessed.   

Beyond Prof cannot export or download a copy of the community, or analyze user comments or activity.

Beyond Prof does not sell personal information to third parties.

How Beyond Prof uses data from Mighty Networks

Beyond Prof uses the data provided by Mighty and Google Analytics to improve member experience and engagement and to refine programming and services.

From time to time, Beyond Prof sends emails to subscribed and unsubscribed members about upcoming events and community posts and activity. Members can opt out of receiving messages by logging into Mighty the Community and updating their profile settings. Members can unsubscribe from receiving emails by clicking  the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email campaign.

Beyond Prof never sell personal information to any third party.

Third Party Providers

Beyond Prof uses the following third parties to deliver programming, products and services.


All videos embedded in Beyond Prof platforms and website are hosted on Vimeo. When a viewer watches a video, they are watching that video on vimeo. Learn more about Vimeo’s privacy.

What Beyond Prof see and don’t see

Vimeo provides Beyond Prof aggregate data via a statistics dashboard. Information Vimeo shares with Beyond Prof includes: the url of the website or platform the embedded video was accessed from, number of plays a video received, how long viewers watched a video, devices used to access the video (phone, laptop, tablet), and browsers viewers choose (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc).

Vimeo never shares individual user data with Beyond Prof. If a viewer rents a Beyond Prof video through Vimeo On Demand, Vimeo handles payment processing and manages refunds. Vimeo does not share personal information with Beyond Prof about who rents videos.

How Beyond Prof uses information from Vimeo

Beyond Prof analyzes aggregate data provided by Vimeo to refine programming and services to meet the needs of Beyond Prof’s audience, in service of its mission.

Beyond Prof never sell personal information to any third party.


Community members have the opportunity to attend Open Discussions and New Member Welcomes. These member-only discussions are held via Zoom meeting.

Beyond Prof hosts live webinars via Zoom webinar. Read Zoom’s privacy policy.

What Beyond Prof sees and doesn’t see

Attendee’s share their name and email address when they registers for a webinar or meeting.  

Beyond Prof may ask additional questions when attendees register for a webinar, such as an attendee’s academic rank (graduate student, faculty, postdoc), employment status, and academic area of specialization. Beyond Prof uses this information to refine programming and reach its targeted audience.

Webinar attendees are in “attendee-only” mode, which means that the participant’s webcam and mic are disabled. Attendees only participate in the webinar via text-chat.

The Beyond Prof team member who hosts the webinar, and guest panelists or speakers, see the names of attendees. Comments or questions an attendee asks in the text chat or Q&A are visible to webinar hosts, panelists, and other attendees. Beyond Prof keeps a record of questions and comments shared during the webinar to inform future programming and research.

All webinars are recorded (video and audio); names of attendees, questions, or comments from the chat are not included in the recording.

When attending a Community member attends an Open Discussion or New Member Welcome, members are encouraged to participate using webcam and mic, although this is optional. Members can ask questions, make comments, or share resources in a text-chat. Open Discussions and New Member Welcomes are never recorded.

How Beyond Prof uses information from Zoom

Webinar attendees are added to Beyond Prof’s mailing list and begin receiving weekly newsletters. Webinar attendees can opt out from receiving the newsletter by clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of any email campaign.

Beyond Prof team members analyze questions and comments asked by attendees to understand the needs of graduate students and PhDs, to refine programming, and to create additional content and services to meet the needs of the academic community.

Beyond Prof never sell personal information to any third party.


Stripe is a secure payment processing software that Beyond Prof uses to manage subscriptions to the Community. Read Stripe’s privacy policy.

What Beyond Prof does and doesn’t see

Stripe shares with Beyond Prof a member’s name, email address, the last four digits of a member’s credit card, and the expiration date on that card.

Stripe does not share with Beyond Prof a member’s address or full credit card information.

How Beyond Prof uses this information

Beyond Prof uses information provided by Stripe to assist members with billing issues and to verify a member’s subscription plan to the community.

Beyond Prof never sell personal information to any third party.


Beyond Prof send weekly newsletters through Mailchimp to subscribers of its email list. Community members receive a separate email notifying them about member-only events and information about the community. Learn more about Mailchimp and read its privacy policy.

Subscribers to Beyond Prof’s mailing lists can cancel anytime; simply click the “unsubscribe link” at the bottom of any email campaign.

What Beyond Prof does see and doesn’t see

Mailchimp provides Beyond Prof with analytics about each email campaign, including which subscriber opened an email, and if the subscriber clicked on links included in the email. Learn more about Mailchimp email campaign tracking.  

How Beyond Prof use this information

Beyond Prof use this information to curate events and resources shared with newsletter subscribers.

Beyond Prof never sell personal information to any third party.

Please direct any questions to L. Maren Wood, PhD, CEO & Co-founder of Beyond the Professoriate

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