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Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx)

A nationally recognized professional development program

PFx prepares doctoral students, MFA students, and postdocs to enter the career of their choice, whether in academia, industry, government, or the not-for-profit sector.

Where will you make a difference?

This is an important question, because ASU is a unique kind of research university that is not merely interested in replicating itself, but in producing innovative thought leaders who are committed  to  enhancing their regional, national, and global communities.

In this two credit, one-semester course, you will gain a better understanding of the post-graduate landscape and your place within it. You will participate in hands-on workshops hosted by a variety of experts who share ASU's vision. You will practice pitching your research to a multiplicity of audiences, and so much more.

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 gradinfo@asu.edu.


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 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

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 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.


Is PFx a huge time commitment?

Most students will find the demands of the course to be most reasonable. Requirements and activities of the program 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 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 pff-emeritiapp@asu.edu by 5 p.m. on April 13, 2018.

Emeritus Faculty Fellowship

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