Professional Development and Events

Preparing Future Faculty to Be More Than Faculty

Posted on January 10, 2018

The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program is a national movement to transform the way aspiring faculty members are prepared for their careers. The main goals of PFF, when it initially started in 1993, were to orient students to faculty roles, provide doctoral students, as well as some master’s and postdoctoral students, with opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities. Twenty-four years later, these goals still apply, but are no longer enough.

Today, doctoral students face additional challenges. There are more PhDs graduating every year, yet the number of faculty positions created has not changed significantly. Some calculations based on National Science Foundation data suggest only 2 out of 10 PhDs will have an academic job by graduation (1). Another obstacle is the stigma that suggests if you don’t get a professorship after earning your PhD you’ve failed. It doesn’t have to be this way. PhDs can do satisfying work outside of academic institutions, if they only knew the possibilities. An important implication for doctoral programs, therefore, is the need to offer preparation for diverse careers, and enhance opportunities for students to experience how to apply research in non-academic settings.

Recognizing this, ASU’s Graduate College is helping doctoral students not only look within, but also explore outside of the world of professoriate.

The updated Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx) program has expanded the course to initiate the process of mapping students’ strengths and interests to help land desired positions. It will continue to introduce the requirements of faculty positions, but will also ensure skills are transferable by identifying skillsets among various employment sectors. The course bridges pedagogy with career development skills to span across disciplines and employment opportunities.

The program introduces different types of institutions and careers outside of academia and helps prepare doctoral students, MFA students and postdocs with an overview of the requirements, career development skills, and plan stratagems necessary for a competitive career.

What you can expect

As a student in PFx you will identify different types of institutions, align your strengths and interests with multiple career pathways, and make a plan for finding employment opportunities. You will construct your CV/resume, cultivate a professional digital presence, work on a research pitch and practice how to communicate beyond your discipline.

PFx meets every other Friday in a collaborative setting. The course is setup using seminars, institution evaluation, CV/Resume preparation workshops, and the completion of an in-person professional development workshop. Through the workshop students propose and participate in internship related activities to enhance their career aspirations.

If you are interested in enrolling in PFx, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. Be pursuing a terminal degree, doctoral, or MFA at ASU
  2. Be enrolled and actively engaged in your degree program during PFx participation
  3. Be committed to completing the 1-year course

If you are a Postdoctoral Scholar, you are eligible if you meet the following:

  1. Current postdoc appointment at ASU
  2. Approval of postdoc supervisor

Watch the information session webinar to find out more at

To enroll, add GRD 791 92993

  1. JORDAN WEISSMANN (February 22, 2013). How Many PhD's Actually Get to Become College Professors? The Atlantic. (