Preparing Future Faculty

Brief History

The Graduate Schools of UNC Greensboro (UNCG) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T), in partnership, established the Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) program in the early 2010s as a strong foundation for graduate student professional development and career preparation. The program was designed to provide valuable, transferable skills and knowledge that will prepare currently enrolled, degree-seeking graduate students to be successful and dynamic visionaries in their chosen disciplines and careers as they complete their degree.

The PFL program originally consisted of two tracks: one for aspiring faculty and another for students interested in careers in business, industry, government, and non-profits. Because of the excellent services available to current graduate students seeking careers in business, industry, government, and non-profits in the Office of Career and Professional Development, the Graduate School’s program now consists of the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) track only, and emphasizes pedagogical and professional development in areas of teaching, scholarship and service. 

Preparing Future Faculty is a nationally recognized program intended for students with an interest in becoming faculty members. Students who finish the program at UNCG have this indicated on their transcript.

Program Goals

  • Deliver focused programs, workshops, and resources for professional development that enhance student marketability, career opportunities, and competitiveness in the job market
  • Promote interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities for student engagement with peers and faculty mentors
  • Support student excellence in learning, responsible research, teaching, community engagement and leadership experiences
  • Strengthen student understanding of the job search and the full range of roles, responsibilities and requirements for success in a future career

Current Status of PFF

  • Preparing Future Faculty at UNCG was discontinued in 2021–22. Currently enrolled students were advised to finish the program prior to May 2022. If you have questions about PFF, please contact the Graduate School.

PFF Requirements

Preparing Future Faculty was designed for currently enrolled, degree-seeking graduate students who plan to pursue an academic career as faculty. The PFF program was designed to take two semesters to complete. It required students to attend a series of professionalization workshops, lectures and meetings; practice teaching, responsible research and assessment skills; develop job materials and teaching documents; and learn important strategies for searching and landing an academic job. They also were required to work closely with faculty mentors to compile an electronic portfolio consisting of personal reflections, essential job materials, evidence of workshop completion, and other relevant documents.

Selecting a Mentor

Successful Mentoring Relationships Provide:

  • Professional socialization with working and experienced professionals in your discipline
  • Personal support and encouragement throughout your graduate career
  • Advice, support and feedback for the advancement of your research, presentations, publications, and teaching
  • Models for productive, ethical, and responsible professional conduct
  • Guidance, advocacy, and networking for successful job placement

Although you need to identify a primary mentor, it is beneficial to seek out several mentors to provide diverse perspectives on becoming a faculty member in your discipline.

Building an effective mentoring relationship is a mutually rewarding experience that can be broken down in five steps.  

Step 1 – Understanding Goals and Expectations for Your Mentorship

Before you begin thinking about potential mentors, it is often useful to reflect on what your expectations, desires, and goals are for your mentorship.

Step 2 – Identifying Potential Mentors

Potential mentors should be faculty members who share your research interests or who inspire you. Speak to other graduate students to gauge their experience with mentors.

Step 3 – Approaching Potential Mentors

When meeting with a potential mentor, be clear about your goals and how they can help you achieve them. Determine a clear understanding of the time commitment you’re seeking. If they’re unable to help, ask for their recommendations for another mentor.

Step 4 – Beginning Your Mentorship

Once you’ve begun to work with a mentor, think about short- and long-term goals, frequency of meetings, and preferred methods of communication. Agree upon clear expectations on both sides.

Step 5 – Working with your Mentors

As your relationship with your mentor evolves, it may be necessary to seek out other expertise or change mentors. Clear, consistent communication is vital to a healthy mentor/mentee relationship.

For additional ideas and strategies for making the most of your mentorship see:

For questions related to the Preparing Future Faculty Program, please contact the UNCG Graduate School in 270 Mossman Building.