The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program is a national movement to transform the way aspiring faculty members are prepared for their careers. PFF programs provide doctoral students, as well as some masterís and postdoctoral students, with opportunities to observe and experience faculty responsibilities at a variety of academic institutions with varying missions, diverse student bodies, and different expectations for faculty.
The PFF initiative was launched in 1993 as a partnership between the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). During a decade of grant activity, from 1993-2003, PFF evolved into four distinct program phases, with support from the The Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Science Foundation, and The Atlantic Philanthropies. During this time, PFF programs were implemented at more than 45 doctoral degree-granting institutions and nearly 300 "partner" institutions in the United States. While the grant periods have expired, the Council of Graduate Schools continues to provide administrative support to existing programs and to those wishing to develop new PFF programs.
Since the PFF initiative began, a number of institutions and programs have developed PFF programs without external funding. These programs incorporate many or all of the activities and components of grant-funded programs, and have been significant contributors to the PFF community.
PFF programs have three core features.
First, PFF programs address the full scope of faculty roles and responsibilities that include teaching, research, and service, emphasizing how the expectations for these responsibilities often differ in different campus settings.
Second, doctoral students participating in PFF programs have multiple mentors and receive reflective feedback not only for their research activities but also for their teaching and service activities.
Third, PFF programs meet both of these goals in the context of a cluster of institutions, typically involving a doctoral degree-granting institution or department collaborating with various partner institutions or departments. The cluster might include, for example, a doctoral institution, a liberal arts college, a community college, and a masterís university. Within the cluster, the partners work together to provide experiences that will allow the participating graduate students to learn about the roles and responsibilities of faculty members at each institution. This may involve arranging for a teaching experience, working with a teaching mentor, observing faculty committees, learning about faculty governance, and attending faculty development activities designed to address the special needs and interests of the students at another institution.
The cluster is an evolving paradigm. Some PFF programs have modified this paradigm to involve partnerships between multiple doctoral institutions, or between an academic institution and partners in industry. Other programs have provided professional development opportunities at research universities for faculty at partner institutions in exchange for the benefits that doctoral students derive from partnerships between institutions.
To learn more about
the PFF program you can download our brochure as a
PDF document or continue browsing our website.
For guidance in creating new PFF programs, two PFF manuals are available for download: Preparing Future Faculty in the Sciences and Mathematics and Preparing Future Faculty in the Humanities and Social Sciences. To purchase these publications, visit the Publications page of the CGS website.