Graduate College

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Preparing Future Faculty (PFF)

Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) is a nationally recognized professional development program for doctoral students, MFA students and postdocs interested in pursuing a faculty position upon graduation or completion of postdoc appointment.

PFF students learn about the many roles of faculty members (research/scholarship, teaching, service) and gain an insider’s perspective from the shared experience and insight of distinguished faculty and administrators. Students learn how faculty roles differ by institution type (large public research, small private religious, etc.). PFF is a two-semester course (fall and spring), one credit per semester.

Admission is competitive and requires approval of the student's advisor (supervisor for postdocs). Prior to starting PFF, students must have completed one year of their doctoral or MFA program. Admission to PFF occurs during the spring, and the program commences the following fall. For more information, review the Q&A, or email us at

Travel awards
Up to $300 for travel expenses related to professional development may be available to PFF students who have completed the first half of the program, or have completed the entire program in the academic year prior to the planned travel. The application process is closed at this time.


PFF, the course

Three primary goals of the PFF program include:

  1. providing students with a clear understanding of the requirements of a faculty position
  2. helping students determine the type of institution they aspire to attend
  3. mapping out what it will take to be a successful faculty member, from application through tenure

Coursework guides students through the identification of different types of institutions and their key differences, which institution is most in line with their own strengths and interests, and the development of a plan to successfully join an institution (including a self-development plan, CV construction, exploration of tenure requirements, etc.).

Need more information on the PFS or PFF courses and can’t attend an information session?  Review the PFF/PFS Presentation.


PFF meets every other Friday on the Tempe campus.

Topics may include:

  • academic career paths
  • structure and organization of the academy
  • scholarship, research and creative activity
  • networking and the “elevator speech”
  • work/life balance
  • virtual/physical campus visits
  • promotion and tenure
  • negotiating a job offer
  • search committee perspectives on the hiring process
  • new faculty perspectives on the first year
  • video visit with faculty from other universities
  • teaching efficiently and effectively
  • grant writing
  • cv writing workshop
  • mock interviews
  • future of academia
  • self-development plan

Syllabus Example

Institution evaluation

Students locate CVs of recent hires and job postings from institutions in differing classifications using the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education™ to explore the characteristics of different institutions. They write a short self-reflection paper outlining their findings and how those correlate to their own professional aspirations.

CV preparation

PFF includes a workshop on preparing a curriculum vitae (CV). Students create/edit their CV, seek feedback from two faculty mentors, and revise the CV to reflect feedback.

Professional development

Students complete one in-person professional development workshop each semester to prepare them for the job search, life as a faculty member, and to encourage networking.

Applying to PFF

Students interested in applying for admission to the Preparing Future Faculty program must meet the following conditions:

Graduate student eligibility:

  1. pursuing a terminal degree, doctoral or MFA, at ASU
  2. enrolled and actively engaged in degree program during PFF participation
  3. interested in pursuing a career as a faculty member, or at least giving it strong consideration
  4. approval of faculty advisor

Postdoctoral scholar (postdoc) eligibility:

  1. current postdoc appointment at ASU
  2. interested in pursuing a career as a faculty member, or at least giving it strong consideration
  3. approval of postdoc supervisor

Application process
Submit the following as one document to by August 4, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.:

  1. application form with advisor's/supervisor's signature
  2. statement of purpose: provide a detailed personal statement that includes
     -  your career goals (e.g. educational plans after ASU, desirable future jobs)
     -  statement of interest in the PFF program (relevant knowledge/skills expected)
  3. current resume or CV (two page maximum)

For more information see the Application Fact Sheet.

Learn more
Email us at

Q & A

Is PFF a huge time commitment?
Although the workload for PFF may be greater than other 1-credit courses for which you might register, most students find the demands of PFF to be reasonable. Requirements and activities of the program are distributed throughout the year and most require only a moderate amount of time. Activities completed through PFF prepare students for faculty life.

Does PFF make a difference?
Students who have completed the PFF program have reported that participation provided them with an edge in applying for and securing academic positions, as well as a greater awareness of the expectations placed on faculty members.

What does a successful applicant look like?
A successful applicant who meets eligibility requirements will demonstrate a desire to learn about the complex role of faculty members, and express it through a well-written, well-thought-out statement of purpose.

Why must I wait until my second year to join PFF?
The first year of graduate school can be a challenging adjustment for incoming students. The addition of PFF activities in addition to first-year academic requirements could hinder your transition into graduate studies. Also, after the first year of graduate school, you should have a better understanding of your career and academic goals.

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 PFF?
Any student who is pursuing a doctoral degree (PhD, EdD, DMA, etc.) or an MFA degree is eligible to participate. Students who are pursuing professional degrees (EdD, DBH, etc.) should consult their advisors regarding the feasibility of obtaining a faculty position with their specific degree.

Why can’t masters students participate in PFF?
The program goals of the PFF 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.

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

Will PFF help me be a better teacher? Is the program only about effective teaching?
Although teaching is covered in PFF, it is only one part of the agenda. There are many professional development opportunities at ASU to improve teaching. The focus of the PFF program is on the expectations of faculty members at various types of institutions.

This is my last year, can I still participate in PFF?
Absolutely! While it is ideal that students complete PFF prior to graduation so they can utilize some of what they’ve learned, the information covered in PFF will be extremely helpful in understanding what will be expected of them as a potential faculty member.

Emeritus Faculty Fellowship

Since 2001, the Emeritus Faculty Fellowship has supported Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) students interested in becoming faculty members by providing a small number of fellowships to assist in terminal degree completion.

To be eligible to apply you must meet the following criteria:

  1. successfully complete the first semester of the one-year PFF program in the fall semester 2016 and be enrolled in the second semester in spring 2017; successfully complete the Participatory Phase of the PFF program by the end of the spring 2017 semester; OR successfully complete the Exploratory Phase of the PFF program by the end of the spring 2017 semester AND be enrolled in the second semester in spring 2018.  
  2. have advanced to candidacy, or expect to advance to candidacy before the fall semester 2017, in a doctoral or MFA degree program, and be within one year of completion.
  3. demonstrate a record of excellent research and/or creative activity.
  4. demonstrate a commitment to becoming a college or university professor.

All application materials should be submitted via email to by 5 p.m. on April 13, 2017.

Emeritus Faculty Fellowship
Application Form

PDF icon PFF_EmeritiApplication 2016-17.pdf82.18 KB