Tomorrow's Professor Today (TPT) is a professional development program
for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows designed to facilitate the transition
from student to academic professional. The program focuses on improving
preparedness in three key areas - teaching, professional development,
and adjustment to a university career. Activities to support this endeavor
include attending workshops, observing and interviewing faculty/administrators,
preparing teaching documents, attending conferences, presenting research,
and mentoring fellow participants. Participants will gain enhanced teaching
abilities and credentials, be introduced to many of the responsibilities
faced by university faculty and administrators, attain a more comprehensive
understanding of how the various components (i.e., research, teaching,
service) of their graduate or postgraduate experience relate to one another
now and in their future careers, and be better prepared for the challenges
they will face in their future careers at a university. Participants who
complete the program are awarded a certificate and a letter certifying
their successful completion of the program to add to their job application
I. Motivation and Purpose
Research has clearly documented the mismatch between graduate training
and the numerous responsibilities facing new faculty (1).
For faculty on the tenure-track, responsibilities typically include the
traditional triad of research, teaching, and service, while for non-tenure-track
the primary focus may be teaching or administration. Regardless of the
type of appointment, many agree that effective, comprehensive preparation
for faculty careers is not widely available. In fact, new faculty consistently
report being ill-prepared for their teaching responsibilities and surprised
and overwhelmed by the variety of other demands placed on them (2).
last decade, a number of national reform initiatives, including the National
Doctoral Program Survey (3), Carnegie Initiative on
the Doctorate (4), Re-envisioning the Ph.D. (5),
and the Preparing Future Faculty Program (6), have
examined the preparation graduate students receive for future faculty
positions. All recommend that preparation for teaching be strengthened
and that doctoral students be given more opportunities to explore innovative
teaching techniques and fine-tune their teaching skills. Similarly, they
recognize how important it is for future faculty to experience successively
more independent and more varied teaching opportunities. Of the responsibilities
new faculty take on, teaching often demands the most immediate attention
and consumes the most time and energy. At the same time, many colleges
and universities have increased the emphasis placed on the quality of
teaching and often expect faculty to demonstrate creative techniques that
effectively engage students and support learning. These reform initiatives
also recommend that graduate students be given opportunities to learn
about various other aspects of academic life in order to better prepare
them for the wide range of roles that faculty play and to help them more
clearly understand what life in academe entails. Finally, they advocate
more robust and better-integrated professional development experiences
for graduate students.
Professor Today addresses all three of the major concerns-teaching preparation,
professional development, and adjusting to life at the university-stressed
by the initiatives. In general, the program will enhance the teaching
skills and effectiveness of U.Va. graduate and professional students and
postdocs while preparing them for the responsibilities and challenges
they will face as future faculty members. We anticipate this program will
attract participants who are either planning on a career in academia or
who are interested in finding out more about such a career choice. By
encouraging participants to document their teaching, this program will
help establish patterns of reflection useful at all stages of their teaching
careers. At the same time, the program will increase participants' awareness
of issues affecting faculty and the University, provide channels for mentoring
and networking, and introduce them to general institutional dynamics that
will enable a smoother transition from graduate school to a faculty position.
will leave with pragmatic results-namely, a useful credential to add to
their application packet or to discuss during the interview process-as
well as more intangible, but equally important benefits:
teaching abilities and credentials
- An introduction
to and appreciation of many of the responsibilities faced by university
faculty and administrators
- A more comprehensive
understanding of how the various components (i.e., research, teaching,
service) of their graduate or postgraduate experience relate to one
another now and in their future careers
- Being better
prepared for the challenges they will face in their future careers at
a university which may differ substantially from U.Va.
Participants will attend the TRC's annual August Teaching Workshop and
May Teaching Portfolio workshop or annual portfolio informational session,
and attend and report on 16 hours of additional workshops designed to
help participants improve their teaching, develop as professionals, and
learn about life at the university. These workshops should include at
least one from each of the three distinct, but related, categories listed
below. Participants will also document their teaching and other professional
development experiences in the TPT Dossier.
program is designed to be completed within two years. Extending the
length of time to completion is possible, but the program must be completed
while still a graduate student or post-doc at U.Va. An accelerated program
is available for special cases; contact the TRC for more information
For an overview of the program requirements, see the checklist
and sample timeline (tabulated
for a two-year completion time).
the classroom - Activities designed to help participants improve
and report on workshops on teaching and learning, including but
not limited to JTW, other TRC workshops, departmental workshops,
pedagogical workshops at national conferences, etc.
a faculty-taught undergraduate class and discuss with the faculty
member his/her teaching choices in a follow-up meeting
teaching documents: lesson plans, lecture notes, classroom or
student assessment, etc.
an original syllabus, including learning objectives
at least 5 hours teaching experience by teaching your own class,
discussion section or lab, by giving guest lectures or review sessions,
or by leading a workshop on teaching
a Reflective Teaching Statement
for a teaching consultation
with a peer partner using the Peer Observation Questionnaire
with a TRC staff member by scheduling a TAP, videotape consultation,
or classroom observation
the Profession - Activities other than teaching designed to
help participants develop as professionals.
and report on workshops on professional development, including but
not limited to ones on
teaching and research
a teaching portfolio
career options in academe, etc.
the biennial Teaching Portfolio workshop or a Teaching Portfolio
informational session (offered at JTW)
a conference in your discipline
your research at a conference or in a public forum (e.g., Departmental
Colloquia, Graduate Research Symposium)
a faculty member about his/her career, about how to network,
etc. See the Faculty Interview information for suggestions.
a participant new to Tomorrow's Professor Today.
the University - Activities designed to help participants learn
about life at the university.
and report on workshops on life in academe, including but not limited
to "What is tenure and how do you get it?"; "What
I wish I'd known when I took my first faculty position"; "What
is service work and how much time should I devote to it?"
an administrator at U.Va. on matters such as how he/she came to
position, how units of the university work together, and so on,
using the Administrator Interview information.
As a part of the TPT program, participants will produce the following:
Statement of Goals and Commitment - To be accepted into the program
applicants must submit an application letter, a statement of individual
goals and a declaration of commitment to the program. The application
provides participants an opportunity to reflect on their motivations
for entering the program while encouraging them to consider seriously
their level of interest.
- TPT Dossier
- Participants will collect the various documents produced throughout
the course of the program into a dossier. The dossier not only serves
as a record of accomplishment but also as a springboard for more formal
documentation, such as that found in a teaching portfolio.
sheets - A series of documents based on participants' answers to
a set of "scripted" questions. The questions are designed
to document participation, guide interviews, shape classroom observations,
and promote reflection on workshops and other program initiatives.
writing - Two short (2-page) essays written by participants expanding
on some aspect, directly or indirectly, related to the program agenda.
The essays allow participants to examine topics of interest and
explore them in the context of their own teaching or professional
Statement of Teaching - A one to two page essay written by participants
offering insight into some of the whys of teaching, including reflection
about motivations, perspectives, and philosophies concerning the
subject to which they dedicate themselves.
Materials: Sample teaching documents generated by participants,
including original syllabus, samples of lesson plans, CATs, exams
or assignments, and so on. The selected documents provide the participants
the simulated experience of preparing and teaching a full course
or allow those who have done so the opportunity to document it.
and Advisor's Signature: Upon completion of the program, each participant
will obtain a signature from a faculty member in his/her department
who has read through and approved the dossier. We recommend participants
select their own advisors and show them pieces of the dossier as
they are created.
Dossiers must be submitted to the TRC for final approval at least two
weeks prior to the Awards Ceremony in order for a participant to receive
IV. Evaluation Process
- An advisor
in each participant's department will be responsible for content and
for signing off on the dossier. For more details on the advisor's role,
see the Advisor Instructions & Checklist.
- The TRC
will evaluate whether the dossier is complete. Upon completion of the
program, participants will receive a Framed Certificate and a letter
certifying their successful completion of the program.
for example, Ann Austin and Donald H. Wulff. "The Challenge to
Prepare the Next Generation of Faculty." Paths to the Professoriate.
San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. Association of American Universities.
Committee on Graduate Education: Report and Recommendations.
Washington, DC: Association of American Universities. 1998. Bridget
Murray. "The Growth of the New PhD: Higher Education Takes a Hard
Look at the PhD and Finds Much That Needs Changing." Monitor
on Psychology (31). 2000. National Academy of Sciences, National
Academy of Engineering & Institute of Medicine. Enhancing the
postdoctoral experience for scientists and engineers. Washington
DC: National Academy of Science. 2000. Scott Smallwood. "Survey
Points to Mismatch in Doctoral Programs: PhD Students Aren't Trained
for the Jobs That are Available." The Chronicle of Higher Education.
E. Austin. "Preparing the Next Generation of Faculty: Graduate
School as Socilaization to the Academic Career." The Journal
of Higher Education (73). 2002. Maresi Nerad, Rebecca Aanerud and
Joseph Cerny. "'So You Want to Become a Professor!' Lessons from
the PhDs - Ten Years Later Study." Paths to the Professoriate.
San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. Donald H. Wulff, Ann E. Austin, Jody
D. Nyquist and Jo Sprague. "The Development of Graduate Students
as Teaching Scholars." Paths to the Professoriate. San Fransisco:
on-line survey conducted in 2000 of 32,000 graduate students and recent
PhDs from over 5000 doctoral programs in the US and Canada. See Adam
Fagan and Kimberly M. Suedkamp Wells. "The 2000 National Doctoral
Program Survey: An On-Line Study of Students' Voices." Paths
to the Professoriate. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. For a compilation
of survey results, see http://survey.nagps.org/.
Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) is a multi-year research
and action project to support departments' efforts to more purposefully
structure their doctoral programs. For more information, see George
E. Walker. "The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate: Creating
Stewards of Discipline." Paths to the Professoriate. San
Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. For the most current information, see
the Ph.D. is an "environmental scan" of promising practices
and concerns about the PhD, conducted with funding from The Pew Charitable
Trusts. For more information, see Jody Nyquist and Bettina Woodford.
"Re-envisioning the Ph.D. What Concerns Do We Have?" University
of Washington: Center for Instructional Development and Research. 2000.
Future Faculty Program: Anne S. Pruitt-Logan and Jerry G. Gaff. "Preparing
Future Faculty: Changing the Culture of Doctoral Education." Paths
to the Professoriate. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 2004. Jerry G.
Gaff, Anne S. Pruitt-Logan & Richard A. Weibl. Building the Faculty
We Need: Colleges and Universities Working Together. Association
of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Studies.
2000. Anne S. Pruitt-Logan, Jerry G. Gaff and Joyce E. Jentoft. Preparing
Future Faculty in the Sciences and Mathematics. Council of Graduate
Schools & AAC&U. 2002. Jerry G. Gaff, Anne S. Pruitt-Logan,
Leslie B. Sims, Daniel D. Denecke Preparing Future Faculty in the
Humanities and Social Sciences. Council of Graduate Schools &