Graduate College

Two future faculty working together.

Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx)

How PFx Started

Stemming from the nationally recognized Preparing Future Faculty (1993) (PFF), and the more recently developed Preparing Future Scholars (2013) (PFS) professional development programs, PFx (2017) provides doctoral students, MFA students, and postdocs with an overview of the requirements, career development skills, and plan stratagems necessary for a competitive career.

Graduate students and postdocs will have the opportunity to mobilize their knowledge for multiple audiences as they explore and consider careers as faculty members, administrators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in industry, government, and other non-profit sectors. Throughout the program, faculty, administrators, and industry professionals provide an insiders perspective on the world of scholar-professionals.

Enrolled participants explore the various faculty roles in research/scholarship, teaching, and service, and are introduced to different types of institutions and careers outside of academia.

Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx) will introduce you to the many ways of mobilizing knowledge for multiple audiences as you explore diverse career pathways. You will learn about the various roles of faculty members (research/scholarship, teaching, service) as well as administrators, entrepreneurs, and leaders in industry, government, and other non-profit sectors. PFx will help you gain multiple perspectives and develop the skills needed for a successful career.

PFx values inclusivity and is a program representative of our regional and national populations. The program, staff, and administrators recognize that race/ethnicity and gender are historically markers of diversity in institutions of higher education, but also further recognize that diversity includes socioeconomic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, veteran status, nationality and intellectual perspective. PFx supports an environment in which the diversity and variety of human experiences are welcomed and valued. 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.

PFx is a two-semester course (fall and spring), one credit hour per semester. Course enrollment approval is competitive and requires approval of the student's advisor (supervisor for postdocs) and the Graduate College. For more information, review the Q & A, or email us at

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

PFx is developed to

  1. Initiate the process of mapping students’ strengths and interests to successfully land desired positions   
  2. Provide students with a space to explore and engage in conversations about multiple career paths
    1. Introduce the requirements of a faculty position and the various types of institutions
    2. Ensure that skills are transferable by identifying the core skillset among various employment sectors
  3. Bridge pedagogy with career development skills to span across disciplines and employment opportunities

Coursework guides students through the identification of different types of institutions and their key differences, exploration of multi-career pathways to align with their own strengths and interests, and the development of 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.

Applying to Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx)


Students interested in enrolling into the PFx 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 their degree program during PFx participation
  3. Approval of faculty advisor

Postdoctoral scholar (postdoc) eligibility:

  1. Current postdoc appointment at ASU
  2. 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. One-page single-spaced 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 PFx program (relevant knowledge/skills expected)
  3. Current resume or CV (two page maximum)

Application Form

For more information see the Application Fact Sheet.

Learn more

Email us at

Is PFx a huge time commitment?

Although the workload for PFx may be greater than other 1-credit courses for which you might register, most students will find the demands to be most reasonable. Requirements and activities of the program are distributed throughout the year and most 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 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, nonacademic careers, and alternative-academic careers, and express it through a well-written, well-thought-out statement of purpose.

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.

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 PFx program in the fall semester 2017 and be enrolled in the second semester in spring 2018; successfully complete the program by the end of the spring 2018 semester; OR successfully complete first semester of the program by the end of the spring 2017 semester AND be enrolled in the second semester in spring 2019. 
  2. have advanced to candidacy, or expect to advance to candidacy before the fall semester 2018, 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 must be submitted via email to by 5 p.m. on April 13, 2018.

Emeritus Faculty Fellowship

Application form will be available in Spring.