Due to the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus and the public health recommendations that come with it, Arizona State University will be celebrating with its graduates in the 2020 Spring commencement in a virtual, online ceremony. The format may be different, but our enthusiasm for celebration has never been more inspired and we encourage you to join us in honoring ASU graduate and undergraduate students the week of May 11. Planning is underway. For more details, please check back here for updates and additional information about online activities. Commencement FAQ page

Enrich Your Experience

Home / Current Students / Enrich Your Experience / Professional Development / Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx) Program

Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars PFx Program

PFx is a two credit, one-semester course, of seminars, discussions and activities designed to expose doctoral and MFA students and post-doctoral fellows more fully to an insider's view of a practicing scholar-professional. The main goal of the program is to enable participants to transition successfully to employment in an academic, alternative-academic, or nonacademic community. Students become equipped with a realistic knowledge of academic, industry, non-profit and entrepreneurial cultures and career expectations.



A nationally recognized professional development program

PFx stems from the nationally recognized Preparing Future Faculty program and other Graduate College initiatives that help prepare graduate students for multiple career pathways. PFx prepares doctoral students, MFA students, and postdocs to enter the career of their choice, whether in academia, industry, government, or the not-for-profit sector.

Where will you make a difference?

This is an important question, because ASU is a unique kind of research university that is not merely interested in replicating itself, but in producing innovative thought leaders who are committed  to enhancing their regional, national, and global communities.

In this two credit, one-semester course, you will gain a better understanding of the post-graduate landscape and your place within it. You will participate in hands-on workshops hosted by a variety of experts who share ASU's vision. You will practice pitching your research to a multiplicity of audiences, and so much more.

PFx supports an environment in which the diversity and variety of human experience are welcomed and valued. The program, staff, and administrators recognize that race/ethnicity and gender are historically markers of diversity in institutions of higher education, and also further recognize that diversity includes socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, nationality and intellectual perspective. As PFx reflects and represents the makeup of our regional and national populations, we acknowledge and appreciate the unique history of each student and are committed to meeting the needs and providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere sensitive to all students.

For more information, review the Q&A or email us at gradinfo@asu.edu.

PFx: The Course

The coursework will help you identify different types of institutions and their key differences, explore multiple career pathways aligned with your own strengths and interests, and develop a plan to successfully realize your career goals.

PFx is designed to

  1. initiate the process of mapping your strengths and interests to successfully land the kind of positions you want.

  2. provide you with a space to explore and engage in conversations with other students and professionals about multiple career paths.

    1. introduce the requirements of a faculty position and the various types of institutions.

    2. ensure that the key skills of communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are transferable by examining this core skillset among various employment sectors.

  3. bridge pedagogy with career development skills to span across disciplines and employment opportunities.


PFx meets every Friday on the Tempe campus.

Topics may include:

  • wellness and practicing work / life balance
  • structure and organization of academia
  • de-mystifying faculty rank
  • digital portfolios and informational interviews
  • non-faculty roles in academia
  • putting your advanced degree to work in industry, entrepreneurship, government, and not-for-profit endeavors
  • pitching your research to diverse audiences
  • crafting a CV and a résumé
  • building networks


Students are expected to attend all PFx seminars and participate in all PFx related course activities:

  • curate a digital portfolio using the provided Digication template, to include an about me page, contact information, 3 reflections, and your CV or résumé
  • conduct an informational interview
  • attend a professional development workshop
  • complete a final team project


Is PFx a huge time commitment?

Most students will find the demands of the course to be most reasonable. Requirements and activities of the program require only a moderate amount of time. Activities completed through PFx help to prepare students for successful career pathways.

Will PFx make a difference?

Students who have completed the traditional PFF and PFS programs have reported that participation provided them with an edge in applying for and securing competitive positions, as well as giving them a better understanding of the demands of their chosen career paths.

What is a terminal degree?

A terminal degree is the highest degree awarded in a specific discipline. The most widely known terminal degree is the doctoral degree (PhD, EdD, etc.). The MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) is a terminal degree for many of the creative arts disciplines. Most institutions of higher education require faculty to hold a terminal degree.

Which terminal degree students can participate in PFx?

Any student who is pursuing a doctoral degree (PhD, EdD, DMA, etc.) or an MFA degree is eligible to participate.

Why can’t masters students participate in PFx?

The program goals of the PFx program are to prepare students who wish to pursue academic, tenure-track positions requiring a terminal degree in their chosen field. The master’s degree is not a terminal degree.

Further, the PFx program ensures that those pursuing a terminal degree learn to clearly articulate the skills honed during the degree process should they choose to pursue a professional career path.

Can PFx count toward my degree?

It depends on your academic unit. Ask your program advisor and graduate program coordinator if the PFx seminars can count as credit towards your Program of Study (POS). Most units do not allow PFx to count toward the degree at this time.

Will PFx help me be a better teacher? Is the program about effective teaching?

Although teaching is covered in PFx, it is only one part of the agenda. There are many other professional development opportunities at ASU to improve teaching.

This is my last year, can I still participate in PFx?

Absolutely! While it is ideal that students complete PFx prior to graduation so they can utilize some of what they’ve learned, the information covered in PFx will be extremely helpful in understanding what will be expected of them as they transition beyond the academy.

PFx Spring Events

The spring events are open to the ASU graduate and postdoc community. 

February 21, 12:00  to 1:30 p.m., Hayden Library, C34

Academic Introvert, No More: Building Authentic Professional Relationships (Brown Bag)

Do you avoid introducing yourself to faculty, peers, or esteemed professionals because you have no idea what to say? Do you want to learn how to comfortably converse with people outside your research field? Then, join us to learn a few general tips about how to cultivate professional relationships. 

Annie Maxfield, Director, Graduate Center & Professional Development, University of Texas, Austin, and Renee Klug, Senior University International Educator, ASU Office of the University Provost, are joining forces to offer an easy framework to help you build long-term professional relationships.


March 20, 12:00  to 1:30 p.m., Hayden Library, C34

Designing Your Teaching Portfolio (Online)

Learn what to include in your teaching portfolio and what hiring committees expect to see. Bring a copy of your teaching portfolio with you to workshop the materials with your peers during the event.

Duan Roen, Dean and Professor, ASU will discuss expectations for your teaching portfolio, provide you with quality examples, and offer some formative feedback. 


April 9, 4:30 - 8:00 p.m., STPV 121 Senita

Postponed: Graduate College Professional Etiquette Dinner

During this four-course dinner, ASU etiquette expert Melissa Werner will offer tips on navigating professional-social situations that are often a part of interviewing processes and likely will be an integral part of your future career.