PFF

photo of apple on deskIn STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are frequently the launching point into the professoriate. However, given the demands of their research commitments, many postdocs have very limited teaching experience when they begin applying for academic jobs.  To enable postdocs to build their skills in teaching in the sciences, CRLT and Rackham Graduate School collaborated to create a unique opportunity for U-M postdoctoral scholars: the Postdoctoral Short-Course on College Teaching in Science and Engineering (PSC). The PSC has been offered seven times in a face-to-face format since its debut in 2012, and an online version of the course has been offered twice with Rackham and the U-M Office of Academic Innovation.

CRLT is currently accepting applications for the face-to-face version of the course during the Winter 2017 term. The course will meet on Wednesdays from 9:00am-12:00pm from Jaunary 4th through February 22nd, 2017. Applications are due by 8:00am EST on November 11th, 2016. More information about the face-to-face and online versions of the course can be found on the PSC webpage.
 
Feedback from previous participants attests that the PSC can be a transformative experience for postdocs:
  • “I wasn’t planning on teaching as part of my career.  PSC showed me that not only do I enjoy teaching, but that I am capable of doing it well.  It’s changed the type of job I’m applying for.” (from a postdoc in engineering)
  • “During a campus interview, the search committee chair asked me how I would actively engage students in their introductory courses with over 100 students.  After PSC, I was totally prepared to answer this question and could provide examples from my course design project and practice teaching session.”  (from a postdoc in the biomedical sciences)
In order to flexibly accommodate the demanding research obligations of U-M’s postdocs, the PSC uses a “flipped class” model. Before each of the sessions, participants watch short video podcasts and complete preparatory online assignments to establish basic mastery of teaching and learning concepts.  During face-to-face meetings, the postdocs engage exclusively in hands-on, experiential learning, practice applying the concepts, and participate in reflective discussions.  Both online and during class, the instructors model research-based teaching strategies, so that participants can experience these approaches from the perspectives of their future students.  
 
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Academic work can be demanding, and academics need to take care of themselves, particularly those who are underrepresented in their fields. This page features online and print resources 

 

 

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity. U-M is an institutional member of this organization, and their website features seminars, courses, discussion forums, and other resources for thriving in the academy for underrepresented graduate students, postdocs, faculty members, and administrators. If you are associated with U-M, you can register for an institutional sub-account here.

Underrepresented in Our Fields: Strategies for Faculty Success. CRLT's list of online and print resources that discuss challenges and opportunities for faculty who are members of groups underrepresented in their disciplines. Read more »

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At any given point in your academic career, you are likely to have to teach. CRLT offers many, many resources to help you at every stage of teaching, from course design to acting as a graduate student instructor to leading a large lecture course as a faculty member. This page features links to some of our most popular resources.

 

Resources: Web

Preparing To Teach. Learn how to write a syllabus, design a course, prepare lesson plans, and create an inclusive classroom.

Teaching Strategies. This page provides resources to support excellent, innovative instruction in a variety of educational settings.

Testing and Grading. Best practices for an aspect of teaching that can be challenging for new instructors.

Diversity and Inclusion. Create a fair and equitable classroom for your students. Read more »

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How do you manage your time and resources effectively in the academy? Whether you're starting your graduate career, writing your dissertation, or starting your faculty research career, academics need to learn how to manage their time wisely. The resources on this page will be helpful to graduate students, postdocs, and faculty alike.

 

Resources: Productivity

Productivity Handout. This collection from a 2015 PFF workshop on productivity presents multiple web resources on productivity.

Best of Grad Hacker: Productivity. More resources from Grad Hacker on how to maintain productivity in graduate school.

Lifehacker's Best Productivity Tips. From the people who live and breathe productivity, here are their favorite tools and techniques.

  Read more »

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With fewer tenure track positions and more competition for available positions, how do you distinguish yourself as a candidate among hundreds of other applicants? Leverage your network to help you land a job, either academic or not.

Building Communities of Support Toward a Successful Academic Job Search. Pursuing an academic job can be an intellectually demanding and highly competitive process. Proactively and intentionally developing professional relationships can maximize your opportunities to stand out as a job candidate. The materials from this 2015 PFF workshop outline specific strategies for fostering professional relationships that will lead to greater success in your academic job search and beyond. Presented by Paula Wishart (Academic Program Officer for Professional Development, Rackham Graduate School) and Larry Rowley (Adjunct Assistant Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, U-M).

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