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Preparing Future Professors

What does it take to be a faculty member at a teaching-focused university or community college? 

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, or University of San Francisco.

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

"I strongly encourage anyone interested in seeing what it is like to work at a different type of university besides an R1 to consider applying…This was a very valuable experience for me, and I learned a lot from a true mentoring relationship with my PFP professor." — PFP Fellow 2016

"I think seeing a faculty member 'in action,' and one who really differs in their day-to-day and work from typical Stanford professor, was wonderful. It was also very interesting to interact with students from another institution." — PFP Fellow 2018

"It was incredibly valuable to see how professors see their roles at other institutions and their commitment to serving students of diverse backgrounds." — PFP Fellow 2018

"It is a good opportunity to learn more about how other institutions of higher education are run and managed. It is also a good opportunity to network and learn how an academic balances his/her time with regard to research, teaching, and service." — PFP Fellow 2016

Program Description

Stanford students are paired with professors whom they shadow weekly during Winter quarter. 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 three shadowing locations: San Jose State University, University of San Francisco, or Foothill College, a community college in Los Altos Hills.

The PFP program has several components:

  • Faculty Mentoring: Fellows are paired with a faculty mentor in a similar discipline. Mentors and students meet weekly during SJSU's or USF's spring semester (late-January to mid-May 2019) or Foothill College's winter quarter (early January to late March 2019). 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.
  • Weekly seminar, 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: Fridays, 10:30 AM to 12 PM or 12:30 to 2 PM

Foothill College is one of 114 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.

San Jose State University 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 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.

Eligibility & Selection

To be eligible you must be:

  • a Stanford doctoral student in any department or program, including: social, natural and biological sciences, humanities, engineering, and education 
  • enrolled in 2018-2019
  • 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:




Questions? Contact

Time Commitment: 
Learning Experience: 

Registration Process

The PFP application will open Spring 2019.