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Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars PFx Program

The PFx program helps graduate students and postdocs explore careers in and outside of academia, build career readiness confidence, consider the value and future of higher education, and critically engage with an interdisciplinary group of peers and mentors through seminars, workshops, events and other opportunities.

"PFx enabled me to think critically about my values, interests and skills so that I could confidently explore and pursue the jobs that best align with them." — Mark Huerta, Engineering Education Systems and Design


A nationally recognized professional development program

PFx stands for Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars – where “x” is the variable that you determine as scholar-professionals in the making. The program stems from the nationally recognized Preparing Future Faculty program that has, since 1993, helped prepare graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for their future careers.

PFx recognizes that while many may desire university faculty positions, for some this may not be the career you’re aiming for, nor where you’re assured to land. Some may aspire to work in government, not-for-profits, or industry—or remain in higher education in a role other than faculty.

In its varied seminars, workshops, and other opportunities, the PFx program complements the skills you develop in your discipline through tools and resources for growth in

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Networking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Collaboration, and
  • Self-assessment and reflection.

The PFx class showed me that the skills I developed in my PhD program are valuable in many areas even beyond academia.” – Evvan Morton, Sustainable Engineering

Where will you make a difference?

PFx helps you consider this question by encouraging you to recognize ASU as a unique kind of research university and remember what it was that attracted you to its mission to begin with. ASU is not merely interested in replicating itself, but in producing innovative thought leaders who enhance their regional, national, and global communities.

In PFx, we emphasize that as a comprehensive public research university, ASU produces scholar-professionals who are unlike many of its peers. Here, you’re trained to learn from inclusivity rather than exclusivity, and you’re charged with using the knowledge and skills you acquire to responsibly shape the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities you serve.

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

PFx: Seminars

As of Fall 2020, the hybrid PFx seminars are offered as A and B sessions.

  • Session A  PFx: Faculty Career Development offers a broad overview of the academic landscape, access to career mentors and a glimpse at the expectations of a faculty career in higher education.
  • Session B – PFx: Non-faculty Career Development focuses on diverse career paths, providing you with an overview and access to experts in careers beyond the professoriate.

We strongly recommend you complete coursework prior to enrolling in a PFx seminar. The seminars will be more beneficial for master’s students after they complete their first year and doctoral students who are in their third year or beyond.

We looked at the structure of the University in ways that were not typical of graduate students. In this, I gained an understanding of high-level university issues.” – Sean Moxley-Kelly, English, Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacies

PFx Seminars are 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 career development.
    1. introduce you to a multiplicity of careers for advanced degree holders and look at the expectations in those careers.
    2. expand your competencies as transformative leaders, effective team members and engaged communicators.
    3. explore the value and presumed responsibility of your degree in the New American University and beyond.


PFx seminars are hybrid, meeting both in-person and online. Seminars are scheduled to meet every Friday on the Tempe campus unless otherwise indicated by university policy in response to COVID-19 or directed by seminar faculty.

Each session provides you with opportunities to learn from and connect with diverse speakers, such as university administrators, faculty, industry professionals, and other leaders in the field.

Topics may include:


Session A Session B
Planning for the Future Planning for the Future
Structure and Organization of Academia The Future of Work
Faculty Rank Nonfaculty Roles in Academia
Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Government and Industry Careers
Pitching Your Research Not-for-profits and Professional Associations
Postdoc Panel Publication and Public Scholarship


You are expected to attend all PFx seminars, engage with online content and complete all assignments with graduate quality work.

An essential learning experience of each seminar is the final group project.

Other required assignments may be:

  • article length readings

  • self-assessments
  • reflections
  • informational interview

Beyond preparing for an interview or preparing materials, I learned how hiring committees vary by department and are interested in qualities of job candidates on and off the page.” —  Celina Osuna, English Literature

“PFx helped me talk to experts in my field earlier in my PhD program so that I could make changes in research priorities during the remainder of my program.” — Joshua Steele, Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering


Are the PFx seminars a huge time commitment?

Most students will find the demands of the seminars to be reasonable with a moderate amount of time spent on assignments. Activities completed through PFx help to prepare students for successful career pathways.

Will PFx make a difference in JOB PROSPECTS?

Students who have completed the PFx seminars 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.

Who can participate in PFx?

ASU students who are pursuing a graduate degree or ASU postdoctoral fellows are eligible to enroll in a PFx seminar and participate in the PFx program. We recommend that all students complete required course work before enrolling in a PFx seminar. For doctoral students the seminars are most beneficial when in their third year or beyond and master’s students after the completion of their first year.

Can PFx count toward my degree?

It depends on the academic unit. Students should check with their program advisor and graduate program coordinator to see if the PFx seminars can count as credit towards their 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 to engage with multiple offerings from the PFx program throughout a student’s time at ASU, even in the final year, PFx seminars, workshops and events are still extremely helpful for students to better understand the expectations and realities of their future career possibilities as they prepare for that transition.

2021-22 PFx Event Calendar

PFx events are open to the ASU graduate student and postdoc community.  Attendance is free and registration is required. For Fall 2021, these lectures will be open to in-person attendees only, with limited seating available. 


More than a statement: Justice, equity, inclusion and diversity

Friday, September 10, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Join PFx for a special discussion with Paradis Mahdavi, Dean of Social Sciences in The College, on writing diversity statements for faculty job positions.

Register for the 9/10 lecture here:


Communication and sharing your knowledge: Learn to pitch your research

Friday, September 17, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Join PFx for a special discussion with Peter Goggin, Associate Professor of English in The College, on effective strategies for sharing your knowledge and pitching your research.

Register for the 9/17 lecture here:


Faculty rank: What's behind the title?

Friday, October 1, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Join PFx for a spcial discussion with Deborah Clarke, Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, to understand faculty rank, titles, hiring and tenure.

Register for the 10/1 lecture here: