Office for Professional Development
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


- Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) -



The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program was established by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools to address a need to prepare graduate students for a future faculty career. Typically, doctoral programs are research focused and not designed to provide guidance for those interested in faculty careers. The PFF program is intended to help potential faculty by offering opportunities to gain knowledge and experience in teaching and service as well as in research. Universities and colleges are increasingly interested in hiring new faculty who are fully prepared to excel in all areas of endeavor. Since these changing expectations may not be addressed in all doctoral programs, the national PFF movement came to be.

What is PFF at IUPUI?

Initiated in 2000 as a joint endeavor between the Office for Professional Development (OPD) and the university's Graduate Office , the PFF program offered at IUPUI is designed to introduce advanced graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to the full range of professional responsibilities in research, teaching, and service that will be encountered in the academy. As part of a larger effort to expand professional development in graduate education, PFF program objectives are to:

  • Supplement the academic credentials of our graduate students.
  • Enhance marketability of PFF participants.
  • Support schools and/or departments in producing more effective and knowledgeable future faculty.
  • Provide the best possible preparation for future faculty in collaboration with each individual’s school and/or department.

The PFF program offered through IUPUI is not intended to replace departmental programs, but rather to enhance them. The topics we cover in this program are those that are, or should be, of interest to graduate students and postdocs across all disciplines seeking careers in higher education.

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What are the requirements for participating in the IUPUI PFF program?


Advanced graduate students (having completed a minimum of one year of master’s program or three hours of doctoral program coursework) and postdoctoral fellows located at IUPUI may enroll in the PFF program.



PFF Scholars choose from a wide variety of university workshops, activities, seminars, courses, and events to improve their knowledge of faculty life and roles. These opportunities are updated each semester and outlined in the Program Plan. To earn a letter of participation, PFF Scholars satisfactorily completing a variety of unit-based activities that must include a minimum of:

  • Six units in teaching related topics
  • Five units in research, service, or organizational and business/professional development related topics
  • One unit in a capstone experience

Organizational and business/professional development topics may also include those that are related to career advancement approaches, e.g., mock interviews, job search strategies, and portfolio preparation.

The capstone experience is chosen by the scholar. This could include, participating in the mentoring portion of this program, developing a portfolio, developing a grant proposal, serving on an academic committee, etc. Scholars will be expected to submit a reflective essay on their experience with the program, as part of the capstone experience.


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Application Process

All applicants must attend a group orientation session or have an individual orientation session with the program director or coordinator. Next, complete the application and mail or hand-carry it to:

Alicia Gahimer
IUPUI Preparing Future Faculty Program
Office for Professional Development
755 West Michigan Street, UL 1140
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5196

The application consists of:

  • Applicant information
  • Brief statement of interest describing why you wish to participate
  • Brief summary of your current career goals and interests
  • Current curriculum vita, resume or biosketch
  • Letter of recommendation from your program advisor
Meet our Scholars and Alumni
  • PFF Scholars. PFF Scholars represent a wide range of disciplines on campus. Several schools and departments are promoting PFF as part of their graduate programs.
  • PFF alumni. PFF alumni are teaching and conducting research at IUPUI and various institutions across the country. Over 30 scholars have completed the PFF program since 2001.

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Mentoring Program

Program Description

The mentoring program was developed to further enhance the overall IUPUI PFF program. Through this mentoring program PFF Scholars are paired with a faculty member from one of the partner institutions and given the opportunity to participate in a series of activities that provide more in-depth and first-hand knowledge of faculty life from a diverse range of experiences and perspectives.

The program is open to all current PFF Scholars at IUPUI. Those interested in being paired with a mentor should complete the PFF Scholar Profile Form and forward it to The information provided will be entered into a database and the process to find a match will begin. Once a potential match has been made, the PFF office will facilitate an initial meeting between the mentor and scholar to establish a plan for accomplishing mentoring goals and activities that will help him or her achieve specific skills and competencies needed to achieve success in the professoriate. In addition, a mentoring contract will be signed by the scholar and mentor at this point. Once the plan has been established, the scholar will begin visits (a minimum of four) with the mentor at his or her institution. It is strongly encouraged that the scholar’s academic advisor participates in the initial planning meeting to ensure a proper balance of activities is achieved.

Program Expectations

Throughout the course of this mentorship experience, scholars have the opportunity to observe and take part in a variety of faculty related activities. These activities may include but are not limited to working with the faculty member and his or her colleagues on pedagogical development; under the direction and support of the mentor teaching a class or portion of a class at the partner institution; attending faculty, departmental, and administrative meetings; consulting with the mentor regarding faculty obligations at that institution; and discussing how the mentor balances the demands of teaching, research, and service. The Activity Planning Guide for Mentors and PFF Scholars document will be used to formulate and direct the activities.

The scholar is required to submit to the PFF director an analytical essay on his or her mentoring experience, not only describing the activities undertaken, but also reflecting analytically on them, considering how they contributed to his or her professional growth. Scholars will also be expected to share this experience with others at the PFF capstone event. It should be noted that the reflective piece required for the mentoring program is different from the one required at the end of the overall PFF experience.


While there is a minimum of only four visits with the mentor, Scholars are encouraged to spend more time, if possible, at the host institution, to allow for both sustained interaction with the mentor and a sufficient range of experiences over the course of the six-month or year-long period. With this in mind, Scholars should be at a stage in their graduate program that allows them the most flexibility to spend as much time as possible with the mentor on-site.


Scholars choosing to participate in the mentoring program may use this experience in lieu of four of the required units in research, teaching, service, or any combination of the three areas, depending on the type of activity.

To Participate

PFF Scholars interested in the PFF Mentoring Program should contact Etta Ward, PFF Director, by email or at 317.278.8427. You will need to complete and submit the aforementioned PFF Scholar Profile Form to This will aid in establishing the appropriate mentor match. View Available PFF Mentors


Faculty interested in becoming a mentor for the IUPUI PFF Mentor Program should complete the Faculty Mentor Profile Form and forward it to Alicia Gahimer.


PFF Partner Institutions

Butler University
Indiana University-Bloomington
Indiana University- South Bend
Indiana University-Kokomo
Ivy Tech Community College





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