PFF

CRLT is accepting applications through Monday, February 22, for the May Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar. Interested graduate students can learn more about the program here. In this guest post, past participant Katy Peplin (Ph.D. candidate in Screen Arts and Cultures) shares reflections from 2015 seminar participants:  

After participating in the Preparing Future Faculty Seminar in May 2014, I was lucky to be able to work with the team that facilitated the seminar in 2015. I loved the chance to contribute to a program that was so deeply useful for me, and I loved seeing how valuable the program was for others even more. You’re welcome to read my own thoughts on why I found the PFF experience so valuable, but here are reflections from some of the May 2015 Seminar participants:  

“PFF gave me exposure to what faculty life really looks like (in terms of family, work/life balance, tenure expectations, teaching loads) - at U of M but also at different types of institutions. I had the opportunity to ask questions of U of M faculty that I might not be comfortable asking my advisors, and it was immensely valuable to see what faculty life looked like at other types of institutions.”

“The PFF seminar was an invaluable experience!  It demystified much about professional academic life including the workings of the tenure process, dimensions of faculty work-life balance, and differences between institution settings. And it helped me enormously to clarify and crystallize my own pedagogical values and approach.  I would highly recommend it to others.”

“PFF broadened my horizons, showing the real challenges of the job market but also equipping us to confront them.”

“As a STEM person with little-to-no teaching experience, just having an awareness of much of the teaching related methods and pedagogies was very helpful. It was a true experience of an inclusive teaching environment and I really appreciated that experience.” 

“Wonderful! I found the panels, roundtable discussions and campus visits very helpful, and teaching demonstrations and information on inclusive practices to be helpful as well. I really feel like I have a better understanding of potential careers, job searches and being a more inclusive teacher!” 

Read more »

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To be eligible for the PFF Seminar, applicants must be advanced graduate students who have achieved candidacy by May 2016 and have an interest in college or university teaching.  Please complete the following web form and upload a copy of your curriculum vitae and your cover letter.  NOTE: IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION (i.e., "validation error"), PLEASE TRY SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION USING A DIFFERENT BROWSER.

Your cover letter should answer the following questions (limited to 2 single-spaced pages):

  • At which type of academic institution would you like to be a faculty member (e.g., research-oriented, teaching-oriented, or a mix) and why?
  • What are your core values regarding teaching? Please provide examples from your own teaching as a GSI and/or learning as a student.
  • How will the Seminar enhance your previous training and experience as a college-level teacher?
  • What else do you hope to gain from the PFF Seminar?
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Planning to pursue a career in academia? Or wondering what such a career might entail in different fields and at different kinds of institutions? This conference is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are actively pursuing faculty jobs as well as those who are exploring academia as one possible career path. Concurrent sessions include both hands-on workshops and panels of faculty members from a range of colleges and universities sharing their insights about pursuing and succeeding in academic careers. The conference will also feature informal networking opportunities and information about campus offices that provide support for academic job-seekers, including CRLT, Rackham, the Career Center, and the International Center. Snacks will be available throughout the afternoon.

Event Information
Dates: 
Wed, 09/30/2015 - 12:30pm - 5:35pm
Location (Room): 
Michigan League - Ballroom
Audience: 
Graduate Students and Postdocs Only
Eligible for Certificate: 
Not eligible for Certificate
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CRLT is accepting applications through Monday, February 23, for the May Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar, which interested graduate students can learn more about here. In this guest post, Screen Arts and Cultures PhD student Katy Peplin reflects upon her experiences in the seminar last spring.

As with so many opportunities in graduate school, I was thrilled beyond measure to be teaching my own course in the Summer term of 2015, but was filled with an equal measure of fear. I had many goals, and spent a great deal of time imagining all the ways that my class would transcend all previous classes. It would be challenging and accessible, discipline specific and yet inviting to everyone, and be effortless to prep and teach. In my years as a GSI and as a student myself, I had cultivated considerable “back seat driving” skills when it came to others’ courses, but I had no language or framework for translating my opinions about what did and didn’t work about other courses into a syllabus or teaching philosophy.

Luckily for me, the notification of teaching assignments was in my inbox as the email encouraging me to apply for the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) seminar arrived. When I read that I would leave the 10 day seminar with a course syllabus, in addition to a teaching philosophy and a CV item, I jumped at the chance and applied. What I didn’t know is that not only would PFF help me shape my syllabus, but it would help me shape myself as a teacher, a scholar and a professional as well. Read more »

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CRLT is accepting applications through February 24 for the May Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar, which interested graduate students can learn more about here. In this guest post, American Culture PhD candidate Mejdulene B. Shomali reflects upon her experiences in the seminar last spring.

Although I can hardly believe it, in a year’s time, I will be applying for academic jobs and preparing to defend my dissertation. When I began my graduate program in 2009, I remember thinking I would never survive my preliminary exams. When I achieved candidacy, I remember thinking the dissertation was an immaterial dream. Now, one chapter away from completing what I thought would be an impossible document, I found myself wondering how my chosen academic communities will receive me. Will I be selected for interview? Will I make campus visits? Receive offers?

While these matters are terrifyingly out of my control, my anxiety today is very different than it was at the beginning of the PhD and after achieving candidacy. Now, my worries focus on those elements truly beyond my control (the jobs available, the increasing pool of competitive applicants, and the complex decisions of selection committees). Participating in the 2013 Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar allowed me to ease into the reality of finishing my degree and gain a stronger handle on those matters that I can control: how to prepare a teaching philosophy, how to craft compelling syllabi, and how to teach more creatively and effectively.

I would encourage anyone who feels mystified by the process of job applications and unsure of how to navigate the non-research elements of their academic career to participate in the 2014 PFF Seminar. PFF, like graduate school, is a brief but intense period of growth for students as they prepare to complete their graduate work and move on to the next phase. PFF gives participants breathing room to think in concrete ways about their future: At what kind of institution do you want to work? What kinds of classes are you prepared to teach? What strategies can you employ to navigate an academic job search and the demands of an academic career? And while it might be a scary question, PFF also provides an opportunity to ponder whether you want an academic position at all. Read more »

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