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The Preparing Future Faculty Program at Arizona State University

Tomorrow's Academic Careers

Message Number: 
43

Folks: 

The following note from Jennifer Trelewicz, a graduate student in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics at Arizona State University describes an interesting program on preparing graduate students of academic careers. It would be great to hear about other such programs, of which there are now a number. 

Rick Reis 

The Preparing Future Faculty Program at Arizona State University 

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I am in the Preparing Future Faculty program at Arizona State University. Although I am not an official spokesperson for the program, I thought that you and your subscribers would find the following comments of interest. 

>From the PFF brochure: 

"Preparing Future Faculty is a national program designed to develop new approaches to preparing doctoral students who are seeking careers in the professoriate. The national program is directed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools under funding through the Pew Charitable Trusts. The project is designed to encourage fresh thinking and planning in the comprehensive preparation of future faculty, put in place new support programs, and identify strategies to improve the quality of teaching and learning." 

My additional comments: 

The program has two phases: 

I. An exploratory phase, during which we are exposed to seminars and workshops on effective teaching, working within the academy, professional service, and other related topics. 

II. A participatory phase, during which we engage in projects with the local partner campuses, which include ASU West, Grand Canyon University, and Maricopa County Community Colleges. The projects in this phase can include teaching and laboratory direction, undergraduate project design, and other activities. At the end of Phase II, the PFF "students" participants in a Capstone Fair, which is open to the university at large. At the fair, the Phase II projects are summarized in poster and notebook format, so that they can be discussed with the attendees. 

I am currently beginning the second phase of the program, although I can already appreciate some of the benefits from Phase I such as: 

1. I have learned the importance of service, which has led me to participate in both university and community service activities related to my field. These activities have added another dimension of learning to my program of study. 

2. I have learned more about the different Carnegie classification of institutions of higher education. Since I have only attended Research I institutions, I was largely ignorant of the unique characteristics of liberal arts, comprehensive, and two-year schools. 

3. I have had the opportunity to interface with people whom I would normally not encounter, including deans from ASU and other schools, faculty in many disciplines from other institutions, and ASU doctoral students from other disciplines. 

Phase II activities that I currently have planned include assisting in a laboratory project at the community college and attending the Engineering Education Scholars Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in July. I'll be glad to drop you a further note at the end of my Phase II activities. 

If you are interested, I can write more at the end of Phase II. 

Jennifer Trelewicz, 
jentre@asu.edu 
Arizona State University 
Departments of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics