About the Program
Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) is a campus-based national program designed to better equip doctoral students with the information and skills they need to be successful faculty members and family professionals. The PFF program was originally developed by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In 2003, the Department of Family Science at UMCP began a PFF program to better prepare its doctoral students for all aspects of faculty life in institutions of higher education. In 2004, the Department expanded its program to also address the interests of doctoral students who were seeking nonacademic careers in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. The new program was titled "Preparing Future Faculty and Professionals" (PFFP).
Learning about Life in Academia
- Provides opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities in the areas of teaching, research, and service.
- Offers monthly "brown bag" lunch meetings between Ph.D. students and faculty to discuss key issues relating to teaching, research, and service.
- Funds student travel to annual meetings of professional associations to help them develop research presentation skills and connect with researchers in their areas of interest.
- Encourages doctoral student participation in faculty research projects, including invitations to co-author articles and professional papers.
- Nominates students for College/University committees, including the Academic Senate, search committees, curriculum committees, and campus commissions addressing diversity issues.
- Provides opportunities to attend selected Department faculty meetings to experience this aspect of faculty culture.
Mentoring of Ph.D. Students
- Review our Mentoring: Advice for Graduate Students document. It was designed with new graduate students in mind and offers tips on many essential topics, such as choosing a mentor.
- Teaching mentoring program: pairs a faculty member with each teaching doctoral student to enable students to observe semester-long course and collaborate with mentor in preparing syllabus and teaching course; faculty mentor observes class sessions, provides feedback, and meets informally with mentee to explore successful strategies for balancing the challenges of professional and personal lives. See the Teaching Observation Tool.
- Research mentoring program: pairs each Ph.D. student with a faculty research mentor (other than dissertation advisor) to provide guidance on research projects, grant and journal article writing, and conference paper presentation. All students complete a faculty-mentored research internship which results in a student-authored journal article or research grant proposal.
- Access a complete list of Tips for Successfully Completing a Dissertation.
Partnerships and Visits to Different Types of Institutions
- Informs students about how academic responsibilities are carried out in a range of campuses with varied missions and student bodies, such as research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and community colleges.
- Arranges visits to different types of institutions, such as Howard University (HBCU), Towson University (comprehensive university), Montgomery College (community college), and Trinity University (a liberal arts institution).
- Provides opportunities for students to discuss teaching loads, research and service expectations, promotion and tenure, post-doctoral opportunities, and campus culture with faculty at the host institutions.
- Enables students to consider the "best fit" between their own research interests/skills and the needs/expectations of these institutions.
Learning about Campus Diversity Initiatives
- Enables doctoral students to take an active role in learning about and participating in campus diversity initiatives.
- Engages students in seminars/forums on: understanding and addressing diverse learning styles; incorporating diversity topics within the curricula; using intergroup dialogues in the classroom; and assessing an institution's diversity climate.
- Encourages students to participate in monthly events of the University's Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity.
- Involves students in recruiting a diverse student body to the Department's undergraduate and graduate programs.
Preparation for Jobs Outside Academia
- Provides information about doctoral-level positions in government, non-profit agencies, and consulting firms that employ family professionals.
- Arranges for speakers from research institutes, public policy organizations, and consulting firms to acquaint students with the requirements of their positions and to describe their own career journeys.
- Plans site visits to governmental and nonprofit agencies addressing family issues to familiarize students with these work environments.
Preparation for Job Search
- Engages students in the career mapping process, enabling them to examine the match between their career goals and current skills and experiences.
- Provides in-depth preparation for the job search, including exploration of faculty, post-doctoral, and non-academic positions; job application; the interview process; and negotiation of the first contract.
Information about the national Preparing Future Faculty Program is available at www.preparing-faculty.org/.