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Purpose of the PFF Program

The Preparing Future Faculty Program (PFF) helps doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars learn about faculty roles and job expectations and helps ensure that future faculty are prepared to meet the challenges of the current academic market.

Program themes include:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Scholarship
  • External funding
  • Service

PFF students enroll in 1 credit hour for the fall and spring semester. The program begins in August and ends in May. Fellows are required to attend classes once to twice a month for the duration of the program. The class will meet on Mondays from 4:30-6:00 pm.

PFF participants have an opportunity to meet with faculty members from MU, regional universities, and community colleges.


University of Missouri graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from all disciplines are eligible to participate in the Preparing Future Faculty Program.

How to apply

Complete the application (Qualtrics survey) by August 10. Click here to apply.

PFF Alumni and Alumnae and Alumnae Testimonials

I was one of those ones who was super worried about finding a position and a spousal hire.  I learned so much about being on the job market and negotiating an offer.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you! – Letter from a PFF participant who accepted a tenure track position as an assistant professor of science education at Trinity University, a small, private, liberal arts institution in San Antonio, TX.

History of the Preparing Future Faculty Program

Although most future faculty members are trained at research universities, 93% of all US institutions are not typically involved in doctoral education (e.g., community colleges, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive institutions).

To address the training of educators bound for non-research-intensive schools, the Council of Graduate Schools, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Pew Charitable Trust, and the National Science Foundation established the Preparing Future Faculty Program.

The Preparing Future Faculty initiative at the University of Missouri began in fall 2001 and is coordinated by the Graduate School.

General objectives

  • To increase MU graduate student readiness to assume faculty roles within a wide range of academic and professional contexts.
  • To help graduate students better understand the diversity of expectations and functional realities that exists at different higher education institutions.
  • To facilitate the placement of graduates by developing wider institutional and personal networks and mentoring relationships.
  • To further enhance the graduate student experience at MU by making graduate study even more responsive to and reflective of student, disciplinary, and professional needs.

The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) course is a year-long series of activities designed to expose graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to the realities of teaching, research, and service in higher education.

The course aims to enable graduates to make the transition successfully to employment in the academic community equipped with a realistic knowledge of academic culture, behavioral expectations and career expectations.

Elements of the course

Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) students must enroll in 1 credit hour for the fall and spring semester. The program begins in August and ends in May.

Class participation

Fellows are required to attend classes once to twice a month for the duration of the program.

Academic portfolio

Fellows will develop a portfolio documenting their teaching, research, and outreach philosophies, activities, and effectiveness. This portfolio will help prepare students for the academic job market.

Multi-campus experience with a faculty mentor

PFF participants have the opportunity to visit partner institutions to gain exposure to alternative institutional contexts. One of our current partner institutions is Truman State University, a public liberal arts institution that is among the top-ranked public universities in the Midwest.  Dr. Lance Ratcliffe, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Education at Truman State University, has regularly served as a guest speaker for the PFF seminar program.

The participant and the partner-institution mentor will determine the exact nature and frequency of these visits. A partnership agreement form will be completed, and the student will provide feedback on the visit.

While at partner institutions, participants might:

  • Discuss the institution’s mission and academic culture.
  • Explore faculty roles and expectations.
  • Research the institution’s history and student population.
  • Receive mentoring for teaching and service.
  • Teach a seminar, unit, or course and receive feedback.
  • Attend faculty, committee, or departmental meetings.
  • Participate in faculty development activities.

Professional development workshops

PFF workshops cover various aspects of academic careers. Different topics and presenters are highlighted each semester. Fellows must attend a minimum of two career workshops each semester.

PFF Required Texts & Reading

Rather than a required textbook, occasional readings are assigned. Readings are listed in the syllabus on the PFF’s Canvas site and posted for student access through the MU Libraries’ ERes (electronic reserve) service.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Lissa Behm-Morawitz
Associate Dean of the Graduate School

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