Graduate College

PFx, The Course

The goal of PFx is to help you begin to think strategically about the knowledge you are developing as researchers and masters of your art and how to mobilize that knowledge inside and outside the academy.

PFx is developed 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.

Coursework helps you identify different types of institutions and their key differences, explore multi-career pathways aligned with your own strengths and interests, and develop a plan to successfully find employment opportunities (CV/résumé construction, research pitch and communication beyond the discipline, professional digital portfolios, etc.).


PFx meets every other Friday on the Tempe campus.

Topics may include:

  • academic, alternative-academic, and nonacademic career paths
  • structure and organization of the academy
  • professional development opportunities
  • informational interviews
  • networking and the research pitch
  • work/life balance
  • cultivating a professional digital presence
  • grant writing
  • cv / résumé writing workshop
  • future of academia
  • structures of mentoring

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 the findings and the correlation to their own professional aspirations.

CV/Résumé preparation

PFx includes workshops on preparing curriculum vitae (CV) and résumé. Students create/edit their documents, seek feedback from two faculty mentors, and revise to reflect feedback.

Professional Development

Students complete one in-person professional development workshop each semester to prepare them for the job search, build skills, and to encourage networking. Students can also apply for a career development allowance. They will propose and participate in internship related activities to enhance their career aspirations. Proposed activities can include, but are not limited to, a series of in-person informational interviews or participation in a half-day long set of activities with a self-identified nonacademic mentor at the mentor’s place of employment. These on-site activities would be similar in nature to a job shadow program. During an on-site visitation, the PFx student will also provide a talk about the value of their research to the given field or industry.

Course Registration

To complete the course, you will register for PFx in both the fall and spring semesters. Although consecutive enrollment is not required, you must take the fall semester of PFx before enrolling in the spring semester. 

PFx Fall 2017 course information: 

GRD 791


Topic: Preparing Future Faculty & Scholars (PFx)