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Preparing Future Professors

The 2022 Preparing Future Professors Program application will open spring 2021.

What does it take to be a faculty member at a teaching-focused institution?

Preparing Future Professors gives you a chance to experience faculty life first-hand, by shadowing a faculty member at San Jose State University, Foothill College, Menlo College, West Valley College, San Francisco State University, or University of San Francisco.

Even though these are uncertain times, we do know with certainty, that having knowledge and exposure to faculty roles and responsibilities remains important while seeking an academic career. Therefore, we are prepared to offer this program within the guidelines of the State and local public health guidelines and related university policies that are in place during the Winter Quarter, whether it be in person, all virtual, or a combination. Each host campus is prepared to assign you experienced mentors, who are now, also experienced in responding to teaching situations under the guidelines and restrictions due to the pandemic. Note that our program campuses are within three contiguous counties, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, all within the “Northern CA” boundaries as defined by Stanford.

Learning Objectives

As a Preparing Future Professors (PFP) Fellow, you will:

  • gain a deeper understanding of faculty roles at different institutions
  • align your own skills and aspirations with a faculty career
  • benefit from the experience of your faculty mentor, and of your PFP peers and their mentors

"Definitely take this class! The first-hand experience is invaluable and meeting up to hear about your other classmates' experiences each week gives you a comprehensive overview of many different types of institutions.— PFP Fellow

“Being able to shadow my mentor in this program was a life-changing experience for me. For the first time, this program showed me a job where having experienced it, I really WANT the job.” — PFP Fellow 

"One of the most valuable things for me was gaining exposure to non-R1 university/college setting. My undergraduate institution was also a private R1 school, so I really didn't know much about the structure of state colleges, community colleges, or Jesuit universities. Being able to observe and contribute to a class at a community college taught me a lot about that environment." PFP Fellow 

Program Description

Stanford students and postdocs are paired with professors whom they shadow weekly, virtually, or in person, during Winter quarter and into the host institution's Spring semester. PFP broadens graduate students' perspectives on higher education and helps them compete for, and successfully teach in, faculty jobs at undergraduate-focused institutions. This highly successful program is offering students one of six shadowing locations: San Jose State University, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Menlo College, West Valley College, or Foothill College.

The PFP program has several components:

  • Faculty Mentoring: Fellows are paired with a faculty mentor in a similar discipline. Mentors and mentees meet weekly during semester schools' spring semester (late-January to mid-May 2021) or quarter schools' winter quarter (early January to mid March 2021). Students shadow mentors in their day-to-day activities as a faculty member, observing their classrooms and participating in the variety of on-campus activities that compose a professor’s on-campus life. Students have the opportunity to discuss with their mentors the rewards and challenges of faculty work. If the program is conducted virtually, students will “shadow” their mentors through various Zoom or other online contacts and participate in online classes, along with the mentor’s students. PFP students may also have the experience of teaching online via Zoom.
  • Weekly practicum, Winter quarter: All PFP participants participate in this seminar covering academic careers across all sectors of higher education. The course format provides an opportunity for in-depth conversation about what students are doing and learning as they shadow their faculty mentors: meets Fridays of Winter quarter.  

Foothill College (founded 1958, 122 acre campus)is one of 115 colleges in the California community college system which serves 1.5 million undergraduate students, primarily lower division. Foothill is ranked number one for a college of its size, in transfer and graduation rates. Foothill has an average class size of 27 students, and offers the associates degree in arts or sciences and transfer programs to four year universities. It also offers the AS degree in seven accredited allied health programs, and one baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene. Over 37% of the students are URMs and including Asians, over 66% are students of color. The average student age is 26 and the modal age is 20 and 55% of all students are female. Over 64% of the students attend part-time. Foothill has no residential facilities and students commute.

Menlo College (founded in 1927 as Menlo School and College, 40 acre campus)is an independent private, four-year institution which has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1; and enrolls 850 undergraduate students. It has been named one of the “Best Colleges in the West" according to Princeton Review for ten years running. Menlo College has earned AACSB accreditation (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), a distinction earned by less than five percent of the world’s business schools. It offers bachelors degrees in business and psychology. Over 52% are students of color while 25% are international. Students are primarily full-time, 45% are female, and 35% of students are first-time freshmen who are first in their family to attend college. Most students stay in residential facilities and students also commute. 

San Jose State University (founded 1857 as the Minns Evening Normal School, 154 acre campus)is one of 23 campuses of the California State University system which serves 484,000 undergraduate and graduate students statewide. SJSU is known as a comprehensive university and one of the 200 top research universities in the nation, and enrolls more than 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students in eight colleges; 13% of the undergraduates transferred in. SJSU offers the bachelors and master’s degrees and an Ed.D. in education. Over 31% of the students are URMs, and including Asians, 73% are students of color.  The students are primarily full-time and 51% are male. SJSU has limited residential facilities. but is also known as a commuter campus.  

University of San Francisco (founded in 1855 as the St. Ignatius Academy, 55 acre campus)is one of 38 Jesuit Catholic universities and colleges in the United States. USF is an independent, private, non-profit institution which has a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, and enrolls over 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students in five schools and colleges. It is listed as a Tier One National University in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report. It offers the bachelors and master’s degrees, as well as three doctorates, including the JD, and Ed.D. Over 28% of the students are URM’s, and including Asians, 51% are students of color. The students are primarily full-time and 64% of the students are female. There are residential facilities on campus, though students also commute.

San Francisco State University (founded 1899 as San Francisco State Normal School, became part of the CSU system in 1960, 144 acre campus) – is one of 23 campuses of the California State University system which serves 484,000 undergraduate and graduate students statewide. SFSU is a pubic, comprehensive university and enrolls more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven colleges.  SFSU offers the bachelors and master’s degrees and an Ed.D. and Ph.D. in education and clinical doctorate in physical therapy with UC, San Francisco.  Over 51% of the students are URMs; and including Asians, 82% are students of color.  The average undergraduate student age is 22.  The students are primarily full-time and 57% are female. Over 1500 students are first-time freshmen who are first in their family to attend college. SFSU has residential facilities but is also known as a commuter campus. 

West Valley College (founded 1963, 143 acre campus)  is one of 115 colleges in the California community college system which serves 1.5 million undergraduate students. West Valley ranked number one in transfer and graduation rates for a college of its size.  West Valley has an open admissions policy and enrolls 8,000 students per term, has an average class size of 16 students, and offers the associates degree in arts, sciences, and transfer programs to four year universities.  Over 60% of the students are under-represented minorities (including Asians). The average student age is 26 (with a modal age of 19) and 55% of all students are female.  Over 65% of the students attend part-time.  WVC has no residential facilities and students commute. 

Eligibility & Selection

To be eligible you must be:

  • a Stanford doctoral student in any department or program
  • enrolled in 2020-2021
  • advanced to candidacy and making satisfactory academic progress

You must also be able to fully participate in all program components:

Selection of PFP Fellows is based on a holistic review of applications and the ability to match promising applicants at their desired institution. As noted below, the endorsement of your advisor is also required.

How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • current Curriculum Vitae (PDF)
  • personal statement describing your career goals and what matters to you as a teacher (PDF; maximum 3 pages)
  • endorsement of your primary advisor

You are encouraged to discuss your application with your advisor in advance. After you submit your application, an email will be sent to your advisor, who will be directed to a web site to indicate support for your application. If a confirmation of support is not received from your advisor by the application deadline, we will need to remove your application from consideration.

Application Timelines

Spring Quarter

  • Round 1 online application opens
  • Round 1 notification of acceptance into program 

Fall Quarter

  • Round 2 online application opens, if program space allows 
  • Round 2 notification of acceptance into program

More Information

Meet the recent PFP Fellows.

Read more about PFP:

•  NAVIGATING CULTURE SHOCK, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

•  PREPARING FUTURE PROFESSORS: A CROSS-INSTITUTION MENTORING PROGRAM, CHANGE

•  PREPARING FUTURE PROFESSORS, STANFORD TEACHING COMMONS

Questions? Contact vpgeapplications@stanford.edu.

Intensity: 
Time Commitment: 
Learning Experience: 

Registration Process

The 2021-22 PFP application will open Spring 2021.

Contact vpgeapplications@stanford.edu with any questions.