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 »


To be eligible for the PFF Seminar, applicants must be advanced graduate students who have achieved candidacy by May 2014 and have college or university teaching experience.  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?

As one participant at the recent Preparing Future Faculty conference had heard from her faculty mentor, "Everyone is busy. Not everyone is productive." What can you do to make sure you fall into the latter category? The conference session on Strategies, Tools and Resources for Productivity focused on developing habits while in graduate school that will lead to greater success as a faculty member. Of course, such habits are useful for scholars at any stage of their career, especially if you're balancing full teaching and research agendas. 

At the session, CRLT Assitant Director Rachel Niemer presented research showing that success in most endeavors begins with creating the right habits so that you are consistently making progress toward your goals. For college faculty, one crucial habit to develop is regular writing. But knowing this fact does not always mean acting upon it. Developing a new habit requires creating the right environment for it to grow. For regular writing, the elements of such an enviroment include: a regular trigger, opportunities to engage in the desired behavior, and a "reward" or sense of accountability for completing the behavior.
Want to learn more about how to enhance your own productivity? If you read on, you can see the Prezi presentation from the session and learn more about resources for productivity. 

Are you currently searching for academic jobs or planning a higher ed job search in the future? Beyond exploring individual schools' websites, do you know how to find good information about the institutions you're applying to? Or how to find similar institutions in a given geographic area? Or how to research salary ranges for the kinds of positions you're seeking? 

This screencast prepared by CRLT's Rachel Niemer highlights web-based resources that can answer a range of questions you might not have even known you had. The 7-minute presentation provides introductions to search tools from trusted sources like the Carnegie Foundation, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Department of Education to help you pursue a more fully-informed job search. 

For other resources for job seekers, click on the "PFF" (Preparing Future Faculty) tag below. Or click here for a range of resources from the recent one-day Preparing Future Faculty conference co-sponsored by Rackham and CRLT. 


This page refers to the September 2013 Perparing Future Faculty Conference. The event is in the past and registration is closed.  You can find resources for the event here:

Event Information
Tue, 09/24/2013 - 11:30am - 5:00pm
Location (Room): 
Michigan League - Ballroom
Theresa Braunschneider
Graduate Students and Postdocs Only