PFF seminar

The Rackham School of Graduate Studies and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) are excited to invite applications for the "Preparing Future Faculty" (PFF) seminar. PFF is a nationally-recognized program designed to help prepare doctoral candidates across disciplines for the academic job search and success in their subsequent faculty positions.

Read below for reflections from past PFF participant and current PFF program assistant, public policy and sociology doctoral candidate Kennedy A. Turner. 

For more information about the program and application process, click here: http://crlt.umich.edu/programs/pffseminar. Applications are due March 1.

Photo of Kennedy TurnerThe moment I began to seriously consider pursuing a Ph.D. occurred when I was an undergraduate, sitting in a lecture for Introduction to Sociology. My mind was blown as my professor described the social structures that had previously been invisible to me. Through a single lecture, he was able to seamlessly challenge my existing assumptions about our social world. As I listened to his words, I was enthralled by the power and possibility of the university classroom. After also learning about the research side of faculty life, I decided that pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology was the right path for me.

I know that many of my peers have similar origin stories, of an engaging professor who inspired them to pursue academia in the first place. Yet, the goal of becoming an engaging professor ourselves can easily get lost under the weight of courses, research obligations, and that whole “writing a dissertation” thing. Like research, writing, and other aspects of the job, teaching is a skill that can be learned and cultivated if taken seriously. Read more »

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CRLT is accepting applications through Monday, February 23, for the May Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar, which interested graduate students can learn more about here. In this guest post, Screen Arts and Cultures PhD student Katy Peplin reflects upon her experiences in the seminar last spring.

Katy Peplin

As with so many opportunities in graduate school, I was thrilled beyond measure to be teaching my own course in the Summer term of 2015, but was filled with an equal measure of fear. I had many goals, and spent a great deal of time imagining all the ways that my class would transcend all previous classes. It would be challenging and accessible, discipline specific and yet inviting to everyone, and be effortless to prep and teach. In my years as a GSI and as a student myself, I had cultivated considerable “back seat driving” skills when it came to others’ courses, but I had no language or framework for translating my opinions about what did and didn’t work about other courses into a syllabus or teaching philosophy.

Luckily for me, the notification of teaching assignments was in my inbox as the email encouraging me to apply for the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) seminar arrived. When I read that I would leave the 10 day seminar with a course syllabus, in addition to a teaching philosophy and a CV item, I jumped at the chance and applied. What I didn’t know is that not only would PFF help me shape my syllabus, but it would help me shape myself as a teacher, a scholar and a professional as well. Read more »

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To be eligible for the PFF Seminar, applicants must be advanced graduate students who have achieved candidacy by May 2015 and have an interest in college or university teaching.  Please complete the following web form and upload a copy of your curriculum vitae and your cover letter.  NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION (i.e., "validation error"), PLEASE TRY SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION USING A DIFFERENT BROWSER.

Your cover letter should answer the following questions (limited to 2 single-spaced pages):

  • At which type of academic institution would you like to be a faculty member (e.g., research-oriented, teaching-oriented, or a mix) and why?
  • What are your core values regarding teaching? Please provide examples from your own teaching as a GSI and/or learning as a student.
  • How will the Seminar enhance your previous training and experience as a college-level teacher?
  • What else do you hope to gain from the PFF Seminar?
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CRLT is accepting applications through February 24 for the May Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar, which interested graduate students can learn more about here. In this guest post, American Culture PhD candidate Mejdulene B. Shomali reflects upon her experiences in the seminar last spring.

Mejdulene Shomali

Although I can hardly believe it, in a year’s time, I will be applying for academic jobs and preparing to defend my dissertation. When I began my graduate program in 2009, I remember thinking I would never survive my preliminary exams. When I achieved candidacy, I remember thinking the dissertation was an immaterial dream. Now, one chapter away from completing what I thought would be an impossible document, I found myself wondering how my chosen academic communities will receive me. Will I be selected for interview? Will I make campus visits? Receive offers?

While these matters are terrifyingly out of my control, my anxiety today is very different than it was at the beginning of the PhD and after achieving candidacy. Now, my worries focus on those elements truly beyond my control (the jobs available, the increasing pool of competitive applicants, and the complex decisions of selection committees). Participating in the 2013 Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar allowed me to ease into the reality of finishing my degree and gain a stronger handle on those matters that I can control: how to prepare a teaching philosophy, how to craft compelling syllabi, and how to teach more creatively and effectively.

PFF Seminar participants discussing in groupsI would encourage anyone who feels mystified by the process of job applications and unsure of how to navigate the non-research elements of their academic career to participate in the 2014 PFF Seminar. PFF, like graduate school, is a brief but intense period of growth for students as they prepare to complete their graduate work and move on to the next phase. PFF gives participants breathing room to think in concrete ways about their future: At what kind of institution do you want to work? What kinds of classes are you prepared to teach? What strategies can you employ to navigate an academic job search and the demands of an academic career? And while it might be a scary question, PFF also provides an opportunity to ponder whether you want an academic position at all. Read more »

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To be eligible for the PFF Seminar, applicants must be advanced graduate students who have achieved candidacy by May 2014 and have college or university teaching experience.  Please complete the following web form and upload a copy of your curriculum vitae and your cover letter.  NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION (i.e., "validation error"), PLEASE TRY SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION USING A DIFFERENT BROWSER.

Your cover letter should answer the following questions (limited to 2 single-spaced pages):

  • At which type of academic institution would you like to be a faculty member (e.g., research-oriented, teaching-oriented, or a mix) and why?
  • What are your core values regarding teaching? Please provide examples from your own teaching as a GSI and/or learning as a student.
  • How will the Seminar enhance your previous training and experience as a college-level teacher?
  • What else do you hope to gain from the PFF Seminar?
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