GRS 390N Preparing Future Faculty Internship

Richard Cherwitz
Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

Intern Experiences and Testimonials by UT College

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As a PhD candidate in Theatre History, Theory, and Criticism, I have had many opportunities during my graduate career to develop teaching skills in the "typical" courses of my area of specialization: Play Analysis, Intro. to Theatre, and Theatre History. Yet, the academic jobs that appeal to me are not at large research universities, where I might stay entirely in the curriculum of theatre studies, but in smaller colleges where I will have the opportunity to teach both courses in history/analysis and in the practical crafts of acting and directing. Though I have an undergraduate degree in performance, I have had little experience with teaching either acting or directing. I approached Dean Cherwitz about the PFF program in the hope that I might find an internship that would help fill this gap.

In pairing me with Susan Loughran at St. Edward's, the program found me a near ideal situation in which to begin learning how to teach performance skills to undergraduate students. St. Edward's is a university with a fine theatre program, mounting several productions a year and offering a solid core of coursework. I arranged with Prof. Loughran to participate as a teaching assistant and observer in one section of her Acting I class for theatre majors.

Prof. Loughran was incredibly generous and flexible, offering me a high degree of participation with the students and their training. She encouraged me to join the activities when I felt competent to guide the students or wished to try the technique they were learning. She also allowed me to observe from the sidelines when I wished to take notes or watch her more carefully, and took pains to reserve time after every class to discuss the day's lesson. She often asked for my opinion of the lesson's success or problems, and encouraged me to share my thoughts on the students' progress and how best to encourage their growth as actors. She even allowed me to offer short, spontaneous explanations on the historical and theoretical background of techniques or concepts in the lesson plans. I worked directly with students on refining their monologues, led exercises and warm-ups, and gave the review session for their final examination.

In the semester I spent as an intern in that acting class, I feel that I gained a much clearer understanding of how to structure such a course, build a syllabus, and approach beginning acting students with techniques and concepts. My observation process revealed many aspects of group dynamics that I had never noticed as an undergraduate acting student. I feel that Prof. Loughran excellently modeled how to treat beginning actors with respect and kindness, while maintaining the direction and focus necessary to the lesson. I feel strengthened by the experience, better prepared to instruct such a course, and eager to develop my teaching skills in the craft. "Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world."

I have been working with Dr. John Fleming, at Southwest Texas State University (SWT) in San Marcos since the beginning of the semester. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in Theatre History, and John was one of my colleagues in the program when I first arrived at UT-Austin. John and I also have similar backgrounds, since we both taught an Introduction to Theatre class of 300-400 students and worked with the same mentor. So that makes it especially nice to work beside him at SWT.

My duties as an intern include observing and guest-teaching two classes: an undergraduate theatre history class and a graduate dramatic theory class. I've taught both classes now, and received excellent feedback from John about my teaching style. One of the classes I taught, for the undergraduates, was a survey of the period I study in my dissertation. Preparing that lecture was incredibly challenging, since it required that I step back from my typical position and explain the time period in introductory/survey terms. After teaching the students about 1870-1914 theatre, however, I realized that I was ready to write my dissertation introduction, and transferred the teaching experience to my writing life. This was a particularly rewarding experience – to realize how one's research can inform and be informed by the lessons we teach students. Although I stand firmly against research prerogatives that encourage teachers to mold lectures and construct classes to suit their research interests, I embrace the fact that sometimes your lesson plan serendipitously reflects your personal work.

A few weeks ago, John told me that the chair of the Theatre department at SWT was looking to hire an adjunct acting teacher. Having taught non-majors acting at UT for two years, I followed up on his advice, and submitted my CV to Dr. Sodders, the chair. John was especially helpful with my resume, looking over it carefully and making suggestions for better legibility. He even copied his own CV for me, and let me look at how he had represented similar experiences and achievements. Based on his suggestions, I revised the CV and met with Dr. Sodders. Our conversation was lively and enjoyable, and he was most impressed with my experience thus far, which made me feel much more confident about entering the job market. He said, for example, that I had a resume equal to many graduates, and the fact that I hadn't finished yet amazed him. He was impressed with my publications and awards, and asked specific questions about some areas of my research. We talked at length about my project, and he surprised me by being open enough to pull out his dissertation and show me the sections with which he struggled the most. It felt like a collegial conversation, even though it was a job interview. At the end of the meeting, he offered me an adjunct position at SWT in the spring of 2002. I was flattered and we made an appointment to talk further about the job offer in May. The timing is perfect for me, since I will be done with writing by then; and since the position is an adjunct one, Dr. Sodders doesn't mind that I would be applying for other full-time jobs at the time. It will give me outside experience and another reference, as well as increasing my teaching portfolio (since I will be teaching theatre majors, rather than non-majors). Plus, he promised that he would schedule both classes on Tuesday/Thursday, back to back, to facilitate my commute. And, thankfully, the job doesn't require committee work.

For these reasons, my PFF internship has been a fantastic experience. I read with interest about others' experiences. For me, as for many other PFF participants, this internship has provided a welcoming/hospitality committee, buffering the transition between student and professor and making the job-seeking process all the less overwhelming. I feel privileged to have had this opportunity, and would recommend it to my colleagues.


I received my doctorate in Anthropology at UT. In my final fall semester, as I worked on job and post-doc applications, I also took advantage of a more in-depth look at academic life at different types of universities offered through the Preparing Future Faculty Program. In a series of campus visits, UT students can spend a half day at each of the four partner schools visiting with students, faculty, and administrators, attending classes, and learning about the roles and responsibilities of faculty members in very different academic settings. While I found all of these visits interesting, I was especially excited by my visit to St. Edward's, a small liberal arts college much like the sort of school where I would like to teach. I learned that, although St. Ed's does not have an undergraduate anthropology program, they have several anthropologists teaching in the New College, a program for working adults, and they also offer an innovative general education program called Cultural Foundations. I found this program, which addresses cultural diversity and social issues from both American and international perspectives, so interesting that I decided to sign up for one of the internships sponsored by the Graduate School. So, rather than spending my last semester as an unemployed and unhappy Ph.D., I co-taught a course on American multiculturalism and observed a course on social problems which emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills. I was welcomed by my mentor and other faculty members at St. Ed's, and I both enhanced my marketability and learned some really useful teaching skills.

I am a third year Ph.D Student in Sociology, currently a PFF-intern at the Sociology department at Southwest Texas State University. As an international student I have done all of my teaching and most of my research in my homeland. The PFF internship at SWT gives me an opportunity to look into a faculty at a midsize American university, their teaching methods and styles, and their administrative procedures.

I am working with Dr. Patti Giuffre [a former PFF student at UT], researching gender socialization, preparing syllabi for introductory and industrial sociology courses and lecturing on gender issues in the military. I am attending faculty meetings regularly, as well. The department is very friendly and offers much insight.

Although there is no faculty member at SWT who specializes in my area of expertise (industrial relations), Dr. Giuffre incorporates my knowledge into her courses, thus giving me an opportunity to teach in her class. As an Associate Professor Dr. Giuffre is kept busy with many administrative tasks, but is always available to answer questions and to give me helpful input on how to prepare best for the academic job market.

I find the internship an overall rewarding experience.

Printed from St. Edward's University NewsWhile studying for her doctorate at the University of Texas, Kerstin Somerholter knew that she wanted a career as a professor of German. As she progressed, she knew something else too: While she loved the education she was getting at UT, she wanted her teaching life to be spent someplace smaller and more personal.

Somerholter's experience is common for doctoral students whose focus is on teaching rather than research. And thanks to an innovative partnership between UT and four other institutions including St. Edward's University, many UT students are getting smaller school experience before they ever graduate.

The program, called Preparing Future Faculty, pairs doctoral students with faculty at St. Edward's, Huston-Tillotson College and Austin Community College in Austin and Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos in for-credit internships.

"An incentive for students is to get experience for their resumes that they worked with a faculty member at an institution like this and got TA (teaching assistant) experience at a small campus," says Robin Eanes, a St. Edward's professor of education and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. "The advantage for the mentor is they get to have a graduate assistant, which is a huge benefit. We don't have those at St. Edward's."

The cost to St. Edward's is minimal, consisting of a fall reception for UT students in the PFF program and for closing events in the spring. Eanes says the SEU faculty are enthusiastic about the program, though they needed some coaxing when it began five years ago. "In the first couple of years, I was begging people to do it," she says, explaining that some faculty members felt the interns would be more of a distraction than a help and others felt UT was taking advantage of St. Edward's without a reciprocal benefit. "Then what happened is they really liked it. They especially liked working with doctoral students who were doing research in their fields."

"Most faculty were open to letting the interns participate in the teaching and planning process. Almost all of the interns have had at least some class experience here and interaction with the students."

Eanes adds that the teaming experience for St. Edward's students has also been enhanced, saying the undergraduates see the interns as role models and will ask some questions of the interns that they might not ask of a professor.

Somerholter, who, unlike many of the UT interns, had some prior teaching experience at UT, was profoundly affected by her internship with SEU Associate Professor of German Harald Becker. "At UT, I would see my students one semester and then never again," she says. "I like the continuity at St. Edward's. Harald said that often he sees students for their whole academic career. It gives you a chance to see students who might struggle at the beginning and watch them progress through the years."

Somerholter worked with Becker on his German IV course last spring. The course is focused on conversation, and Becker says that, "My students have been hearing me talk for four semesters, so it's really helpful to have another native speaker." Somerholter adds, "When it's a large group, it's hard to keep all of the students involved in the conversation. Having me there, we could break into smaller groups." Becker will have another intern this spring. "Our students have liked them and the interns get a feel for what a small university is all about," he says. "In Kerstin's case, she fell in love with the university."

In a first for the PFF program at St. Edward's, Somerholter, who will finish her doctorate next fall, was hired as an adjunct lecturer this fall, teaching German 111. Next fall, she is scheduled to teach a new course in the MBA program called Doing Business in Germany. She is expecting her first baby, a boy, in late January.

Richard Cherwitz, associate dean of graduate studies at UT and coordinator of the PFF program, says that the program has been valuable in giving students awareness and hands-on experience working at a non-research institution. "From a pragmatic standpoint," he adds, "it has been really effective. We have found our students are able to get employed and are doing very well."

The program begins in the fall with an academic job market workshop with faculty from UT, St. Edward's and the other consortium institutions. The workshop includes such career planning activities as mock job interviews and advice in curriculum vitae preparation.

Also in the fall, students make campus visits to the consortium institutions, meet with faculty and find out about the institutions. From these visits, the students list their internship choices in order of preference. The internships occur in the spring.

"The program has led us to a larger, full-service professional development program," Cherwitz says. "We're trying to prepare our Ph.D.s for life after this university." Eanes says St. Edward's is equally pleased with the results of the partnership. "The interns have been fabulous," she says. "They're not out to just get something from St. Edward's; they are also out for an enriching experience. The only way for them to do that is by collaborating so significantly that they become assets, not burdens."

I am a Ph.D. student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I was an intern at Concordia University at Austin in the Spring of 1998 under the supervision of Dr. Maria Salas. My responsibilities consisted of teaching a Spanish II class, and that meant putting together a syllabus, grading papers and assigning grades.

Although I have had the opportunity of teaching lower division courses since 1996 at UT, this experience as an intern was extremely enriching. As the Spanish program at UT is the largest in the USA, most of the teaching is standardized, leaving little if no room at all, for input from Teaching Assistants. Hence, when teaching at Concordia I faced many challenging situations for the first time, such as making my own syllabus, planning classes, and dealing with a smaller number of students.

Dr. Maria Salas, a former graduate of UT herself, was an inspiring mentor. She provided me with enough freedom so as to try different teaching methods in the classroom, and she was always ready to advise me about the functioning of the institution.

Dr. Richard Cherwitz was also instrumental in making this possible for me, because there were no agreements at the time between UT and Concordia. In addition, my duties at Concordia were considerably larger than those of the usual intern. Nonetheless, Dr. Cherwitz understood the importance of my being exposed to a different student population and agreed to this innovation.

Although I have not yet experienced the consequences of this internship in the job market, my time at Concordia already proved to be very beneficial in my academic pursuits. The Spanish Department, with the authorization of the Dean of Liberal Arts College, is sponsoring for the first time the teaching of an upper division Spanish course by a graduate student in the Spring 2000. I believe I was the chosen graduate student because of the responsibilities I faced during my internship at Concordia.

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology. I have been working with, and team-teaching two courses, Professor Joseph O'Neal at St. Edward's University.

The first course, Critical Inquiry, involves working with students in the New School, who are typically older than traditional-aged students and often in the process of a career change. Working with older students has been a wonderful experience. I have found them to be highly-motivated and strongly-invested in their education. In this course I have taken over lecturing and leading discussions for portions of each class. I also have graded and met individually with students who seek help with their writing assignments.

The second course, Human Rights in International Perspective, is an honors seminar in the regular college. In this course, I have lectured on course material and led a couple of discussions. I also am assisting Joe in the revision of course assignments and exams. Joe is also interested in developing a service learning segment to this course, and updating the web version. For this project, we have met together with the faculty of the Experiential Learning Center and the Computer Technology Faculty Resource Center on campus. I plan to continue researching the different options for revising this course.

I have also had the opportunity to attend department faculty meetings, participate in a faculty workshop at the beginning of the semester, and will present my own research at the Anthropology Club meeting in April.

This interning experience has been valuable in many regards. I feel that it has given me first-hand knowledge that is leading to the development of my own approach to pedagogy and course planning. Many inspirational moments interacting with Joe and the students has made it clear that I do enjoy teaching. I also appreciate the chance to see the inner workings of a smaller institution. Since both my undergraduate and graduate education were at large research-focused state institutions, interning at St. Edwards has given me the opportunity to experience a smaller private college, that values quality teaching and a supportive collaborative faculty.

Entering my third-year of graduate school in Anthropology with little classroom teaching experience, I looked forward to this PFF Internship with a mixture of na•ve excitement and nervous fear. As an African American woman working in African Diaspora Studies, I looked forward to the chance to intern at Huston-Tillotson, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). However, being a student in Anthropology, I was nervous about interning with a Professor of History in a survey class on U.S. History, since I took my last class on that topic in high school. My internship adviser, Professor Vanessa Davis, provided me with both reassuring words and a realistic portrayal to help me adjust to a new environment.

During the internship, I have observed lectures, participated in classroom activities, given a lecture, led discussion groups, and held writing conferences. In observing lectures, I have learned ways in which Professor Davis relates historical knowledge to the students' own knowledge. Throughout her lectures, she conveys history as the culmination of both micro- and macro-level events, providing the significance of events and a "window into history." Through questions and activities, she allows students to fill in the blanks left by the books and place themselves within a historical moment. For example, one of the activities--in which I was able to take part--consisted of class groups identifying artifacts from the period of Western expansion in United States. I served as a facilitator, moving from one group to the next to pose questions that might help them conclude not only what the object itself happened to be, but also what the object told them about the people living in that particular period. When it was my turn to lecture (on W.E.B. DuBois), I realized exactly how difficult it is to both draw students in to the content of history and to talk for nearly a full class period while the students' attention/gaze is focused on writing notes. Leading a discussion group consisting of half of the class proved much more to be my style, in which we could interact with both the text and each other more intimately. I also conducted one-on-one conferences with students on paper drafts, helping them correct grammatical and structural errors. Helping students with papers provided me with the opportunity to view different levels of student writing and performance, including assisting a student with a learning disability.

From this experience, I have learned of the heart and work necessary to run a small Black College. Professor Davis shoulders tremendous responsibility, serving on several committees, including those on curriculum, budget, and course scheduling. After 4pm, her office is filled with the sounds of the Gospel choir, who, lacking their own building or separate space, practice only down the hall from the offices of the Social Studies Professors. On a day in which she leaves at 6pm, she informs me that she has been at the college since 6am. The professors and administrators, to whom she introduces me, seem to share her accepting kindness toward me, as well as that weary look of the long hard work of loving to teach (and teach for lower pay at a smaller school). At some of our meetings, she'll ask if I still want to teach. Behind my answer of "yes" is the recognition, gained in part through this experience, of both the art of teaching and the heart of teaching, neither of which can exist without the other and neither of which I would give up the chance to express.

In my internship I'm working with Mark Busby at Southwest Texas. My area of concentration within the English department is American literature with a special focus on Southwestern literature and cultural studies. Mark is the director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest, and he divides his time between the Center and the English department. I observe and assist his work in both these areas. This includes attending a portion of the interdisciplinary undergraduate/graduate class he is teaching on the study of the Southwest and discussing the curriculum with him. Additionally, I sometimes teach portions of the class, at times with him observing and at times when he is away from the class. The Center for the Study of the Southwest puts out two journals, Texas Books in Review and Southwestern American Literature. I have helped edit the former journal and will assist in editing the latter when the time comes. I have also reviewed submissions, written a book review for Southwestern American Literature, and edited a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute grant. Further, he has given me advice for a NEH grant I am currently writing for another organization. One of Mark's other goals is to introduce me to other English department faculty, especially those with related interests. He was able to do this when I read a paper on a panel that he chaired at the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Association Meeting in Albuquerque. Further, in the near future, he plans for me to attend some English department meetings with him.

I feel that I'm developing a number of skills in this internship. Even though I've been teaching my own classes at UT for three years now, having Mark observe my teaching and discussing his curriculum gives me insight into pedagogical techniques and ideas about how to present regional studies to students. My work at the Center gives me practice editing and reviewing submissions, as well as insight into the grant writing process. Also, the chance to write a book review will allow me to add another publication to my CV. I'm looking forward to attending some of the faculty meetings because I'll be able to learn about another dimension of faculty life and hopefully get to hear some more perspectives on Southwest Texas as an institution. In addition to all this, I am also finding that students are somewhat different than those at UT. They usually come from smaller towns and as a whole seem to be a bit more reticent in offering their opinions in class than UT students. This makes me think even more about ways to engage students in the course material.

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Economics. I am doing an internship in the School of Business in St. Edward's University. I teach Principles of Microeconomics. My internship is being a very rewarding experience thanks to the advice, involvement, and interest, of my mentor Professor Wani Tombe.

I am also teaching the same course though, the content is not exactly the same in the Economics Department in the University of Texas. Since the student-audience that I have at St. Edward's is not the as the one I have in UT, I have found myself running an interesting and challenging "experiment," in which the goal is to accommodate my lecture style and techniques to optimize the learning of all my students.

My class is on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:45 am. This fact alone has serious implications for my lectures. Many students believe Economics is a difficult subject and some even find it unappealing. Teaching Economics early in the morning early from the point of view of students, that is makes it even harder. This has a positive effect on my lectures, though, since it has increased my awareness about making sure that my students are involved in my lectures.

In order to maintain my students' attention and interest in the lecture, I rely on real world applications of the subject that is covered; I provide my students with copies of a subject-related article from a newspaper or magazine. Also, whenever possible, I require students to solve problems during class. To keep students participating in the lecture, I ask short and simple questions to those who seem not to be following the lecture, or appear disinterested or even about to fall to sleep. Finally, to induce my students to keep reviewing the material covered in lecture, in the syllabus I provide for quizzes that may be given at the end of a Thursday session. The quiz may test only the material covered in that week. The fact that a quiz need not be given every Thursday session saves lecture time while providing an incentive for reviewing the class material.

In the syllabus I assigned four problem sets due on the last session before a midterm. These must be typed on a word processor--an attempt to deter students from waiting until the "last minute" to do the homework. However, the system did not work for the first midterm; many students did not complete the problem set and so they lacked some skills for the examination. As a result, I made some changes in the syllabus to allow for the last session before a midterm to be a problem workshop-review session. The grades on the second midterm improve considerably.

The inclusion of problem workshop-review session in my class schedule, as well as the need for applications of the material covered in lecture, have their toll in terms of reducing the scope of the course. But I realized that my students at St. Edward's could not keep up with the lecture pace needed to cover all the topics I planned to covered initially, I had to do something about that. I firmly believe this adjustment was in the best interest of my students.

I am a doctoral student in the Department of French and Italian. My major interest in doing this internship was to get some closer experience on the teaching style in a smaller institution, as I am getting ready to go to the job market. In the Fall of 2001, I started an internship at Austin Community College under the supervision of Professor Stuart Smith, and I must say that it has been both an exciting and educational experience. I was very excited as I already worked with Stuart Smith earlier on the publication of the French manual "Horizons," as a textbook consultant for the part devoted to La Cte d'Ivoire. In the beginning of my internship, I learned the difference between a community college and a State university, as explained to me by Stuart who mentioned that a community college puts more emphasis on teaching than research and that Professors and Instructors combine their teaching duties with administrative work. Smith told me that a community college is more social-oriented, as it accepts students with different performances and at various levels, thus the emphasis on teaching to face this challenge.

Another Faculty member who was instrumental in my experience at ACC is Marc Prevost who shared his teaching experience in this community college. As an Assistant instructor of French at UT, I was curious to learn how courses are taught differently at ACC, and I was given a first-hand experience with the opportunity to observe two classes. I observed the same lesson taught by two senior Professors in two different classes: I was particularly attentive to the different techniques used by the Professors to get their students involved.

I also took part in a Foreign Languages departmental meeting; it proved to be more exciting and dynamic than I had expected. I learned how a departmental meeting is run in a Community college. All faculty were present and the coordinator was the Associate Dean. I learned new ideas from the discussion such as the possibility to observe other faculty's class as part of the "Faculty development ideas" as well as the setting of a Faculty development website, including workshops. Another interesting suggestion was to encourage the sharing and discussion of books or articles about teaching methodologies; I found it stimulating and professionally rewarding.

The idea of Collegeial Teaching Teams is also very instructive as it aims at enhancing collaboration among faculty members. Each faculty is responsible for a group of adjunct faculty, and cannot evaluate anybody on her or his team. This gave me a sense of collaborative work with an emphasis on objectiveness.

More beneficial has been to have Stuart Smith as mentor, as she gave me the opportunity to not only learn from her experience and others', but also to participate in a collaborative work on teaching French in college, where I participated as a textbook consultant and was very glad to see the same textbook being used by the same people who designed it.

I was on the job market this year and have accepted an offer for a tenure track position in the Psychology Department at Central Washington University. I'm excited by the facilities and human environment there, and am certain I wouldn't have even pursued this position were it not for the Preparing Future Faculty program. In particular, the internship I completed at St. Ed's - under the mentorship of Helen Just - helped me understand how a small liberal arts university was a good fit for me.

I am a doctoral student in Sociology. My PFF internship has given me the opportunity to co-teach the Capstone course at St. Edwards University. The Capstone course is required for all students in order to graduate. As a liberal arts school, St. Edwards believes that the education they provide should enable students to assume the role of a responsible citizen aiming to improve our collective world and the Capstone course is one way of preparing students for this. The Capstone course requires students to integrate the skills they have learned throughout their liberal arts education by studying an individually selected social controversy. The role of instructor is somewhat different than other courses. While lectures were presented to the entire class early on in the semester, my predominant work was providing guidance, feedback, grading and one-on-one interactions with each student as the semester went on.

Overall I have found this experience to be very enjoyable and valuable. In terms of my own career plans, this experience re-confirmed for me that I truly enjoy student interaction. I particularly liked working with them on a progressive project. I was able to work with the students as they struggled up front over narrowing their topic to the end where they had done significant research, both literature and field interviews, and drawn an educated conclusion on solutions. I was also able to help them improve their writing, but even more importantly, I (hope) was able to help them further develop their critical thinking skills. I don't think a typical lecture course would have provided this depth of interaction with each student.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity that I had at St. Edwards. I also feel that I made a difference for the students and brought something the class. I'm glad that UT facilitates the PFF internship. I would recommend one to other graduate students.

I am a doctoral candidate in History. One of the most valuable aspects of this internship was the opportunity to discuss teaching and history as a discipline with an experienced teacher in a safe setting. Much as I love UT and my department, it was a welcome change to meet with someone in the field who was not on my committee or responsible for giving me evaluations that might determine future funding or appointments. The grad student experience is often like being a goldfish in a fish bowl, always being watched and evaluated. I have received lots of useful advice from my advisers at UT, but I was able to have frank and honest discussions about teaching history with Dr. Heenan that I would not have been comfortable having with my advisers. I felt free to admit and discuss my concerns and weaknesses. Perhaps this sounds like a small thing, but in my opinion the chance to work outside UT, ask questions, and experiment with lecture and teaching styles in a safe setting is one of the most significant benefits of the PFF program. This internship came at a perfect time in my graduate career. I am ABD and will be leaving Austin to do dissertation research in London next semester. While it has been a busy semester, I have had more time to devote to the internship than I would have had at any other time, which allowed me to benefit from and enjoy the internship much more. The positive experience I had with students at St. Edwards and with the small-college environment will serve me well as I prepare to go on the job market in a few years, and I look forward to keeping in touch with my mentor.


This article appeared in Science's Next Wave in Spring, 1998

Mentoring Programs: "Preparing Future Faculty"
Participant: Benjamin Shults

I began graduate school in the Mathematics Department of the University of Texas, Austin (UT Austin), in the fall of 1990. At that time, neither the department nor the graduate school had a program to prepare graduate students for the kinds of tasks they might be expected to perform upon graduation. The exception, of course, was that the department prepared the students to do research. There was no organized training on teaching, applying for grants, serving on committees, submitting to journals, or refereeing papers--skills that you need to survive as a researcher.

Some graduate students were fortunate. They had thesis supervisors who looked after them and made sure they were learning what they needed to know. Other students formed relationships with faculty members besides their supervisors and, through these informal relationships, learned what they needed to know. However, not all students could do this, and not all students knew that having a mentor could be helpful--and even essential--to their careers.

Inside PFF

When I heard about the daylong visits to undergraduate campuses sponsored by the PFF program, I was keenly interested. Through the program, students are taken to the campuses of nearby colleges and universities to meet faculty, staff, and students. We heard about the missions of the various institutions and got a realistic idea about what faculty life was really like.

The PFF program also began to host mock job interviews and other events on the campus of UT Austin to which they invited faculty and administrators from these nearby institutions. At these events, graduate students were able to witness the mock interviews and discuss the process. Many questions about what an interviewer seeks during the job-application process were asked and answered.

These experiences helped to solidify my goals and inclinations. With the information I picked up, I was able to judge with more knowledge what kind of academic job--research, teaching, or a mixture of both--best suited my personality. At the time, my thesis research was in a field called "automated theorem proving." I worked on systematizations of some kinds of reasoning used by mathematicians to prove theorems.

Formal Mentoring

During my last year of graduate school, I took part in a new initiative within the PFF program. About a dozen students were each assigned to a faculty mentor at a nearby institution. I was assigned to Laura Baker, a professor of computer science at St. Edward's University, a small, private, 4-year liberal arts college in Austin with connections to the Roman Catholic Church. Because my research is interdisciplinary between mathematics and theoretical computer science, this was a fortunate assignment. I spent several hours every week at St. Edward's talking to Baker, attending her classes, and helping her students in the lab. On a day when she had to be out of town, I was in charge of her class, and I once attended a faculty senate meeting with her.

Through my relationship with Baker, I got close to an inside view of faculty life at a school unlike the large research institution I was attending. Baker enjoyed her work and did an excellent job at it. Her attitudes toward students were exemplary. She also provided a model for how senior academics can relate to novices such as myself. It would have been impossible for me to learn the things I learned from her without the formal structure provided by the PFF program.


In 1997, when the market in mathematics was (and still is) very tight, I applied for more than 80 jobs at all kinds of institutions (large research institutions, small liberal arts colleges, and many levels in between). In the end, I had three interviews, and the job I accepted was my dream job. I now hold a 2-year position teaching mathematics and computer science at Kenyon College, a very small and exclusive liberal arts college in Gambier, a tiny town in Ohio. Another position I was also courted for during my job hunt was a permanent staff research position in an artificial intelligence lab at Stanford University. The third interview, where I was not offered a position, was at another small, exclusive, liberal arts college in Ohio. I believe that my experiences with Baker made the difference in getting all three interviews. Our relationship gave me more formal and documented experience in the computer science classroom, which was a great help at the small liberal arts colleges.

The greatest benefits I took from these experiences are less tangible. I believe I am a better teacher, researcher, mentor to my students, and colleague to my peers on account of the PFF program and the mentoring I received.

I'm a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry Department. I did my PFF internship in the Spring of 1998 at St. Edward's University with Dr. Eammon Healy. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. The class that I observed and taught had only seven students! It was very different than teaching at UT, because it is a small school that emphasizes teaching over research. I learned that you don't have to do traditional lectures especially when you have such a small class. Dr. Healy was a creative instructor and had the students very involved in the learning process. The students even gave many of the lectures, which I thought was a good idea.

In addition to my teaching/observing, I also had many fruitful discussions with Dr. Healy about finding a job in the academic market. I made some connections at St. Ed's and I also now have a good reference for my teaching abilities. Overall, I thought the experience was a valuable use of my time and it didn't detract from my work at UT - it enriched it.

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry. I did an internship at ACC on the Rio Grande campus. It was with a Dr. John Young who taught introductory chemistry courses. I attended his classes and watched how he interacted with the students, and I met with him before and after class briefly to discuss what I had observed. I also attended a few of his lab sessions. It was a very interesting and informative experience. He also took me to a high school teacher's conference in the Austin Convention Center, where I saw a fascinating and funny presentation by Dr. Peter Atkins. His talk was about errors in illustrations in scientific textbooks. I also attended several of the ACC chemistry teacher meetings where they discussed curriculum and testing issues. I saw all the behind the scenes aspects of being a teacher. Overall, I found it to be an extremely useful and informative internship.

I am a PhD candidate in Botany. My faculty internship is at St. Edward's University with Dr. Bill Quinn in the biology department. Dr. Quinn is teaching a plant biology course this semester; the first plant biology course offered at St. Edwards in several years. Consequently, the course material is directly related to my academic field and allows me to confidently contribute to course activities.

The activities I have been involved with so far include a small role in course design, lecturing, involvement in small group discussion, field trips, one on one lab instruction, and attending committee meetings. As the course had not been offered for quite some time, a syllabus had to be constructed. Trying to encompass the broad field of plant biology into one course forced us to decide what areas were of greatest importance in the context of a upper level class composed mostly of students with little background. It was decided that the goal of the course should be to help the students understand their everyday interactions with plants, rather than emphasizing the typical academic fundamentals. The students taking this class aren't likely to go further in the field and we wanted to give them a basic understanding of their surrounding floral environment. Consequently, the curriculum decided upon is heavily weighted with morphology and systematics of flowering plants. Lectures generally consist of discussion of predetermined topics that closely follow the layout of portions of the textbook. Laboratory exercises are dominated by the collecting and identification of flowering plants native to the Austin area. A plant collection, properly presented and identified, is a major component of the class grade. This process requires much individual and small group work with the students, as the dichotomous keys used to identify plant species are loaded with specific and dense morphological terminology.

Teaching duties aside, my main goal from this internship was to get a view of the more bureaucratic duties of a liberal arts university professor. To this end, I have attended a meeting between the faculty biology department and the academic counselors of the university to make sure the advice given to incoming freshman was consistent with the guidelines proposed by the biology department. I had previously never seen much of this mundane side of academia, and although hardly fascinating, it is interesting to see the dynamics that exist both between the faculty themselves and also between the faculty and outside groups.

St. Edward's is a small, private university and has many different characteristics than the large research institutions I have attended over the last ten years. I found that the smaller student body allows the class to become a closer knit group as many of the students have shared numerous courses together. In contrast, at UT the student that come through my classes generally remain strangers throughout the semester and rarely even learn each others name. This camaraderie found at a smaller school allows for greater involvement in class discussions as the fear of speaking out is diminished.

Some unexpected insight gained from spending time at St. Edwards include understanding the demands of counseling students and the relative unimportance of research. The faculty describe heavy counseling demands that were an unexpected duty when they first arrived themselves. Though counseling is an expected duty, the amount of time that this consumes was surprising. In addition, very little research is carried out by faculty members. To me this is not a deterrent. After experiencing seven years of mostly frustrating and stressful research I would welcome a dramatic reduction in my expected productivity.

The most valuable thing I will take from this internship is a partial affirmation that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It has given some validation to my long time career goal of being a teaching professor in a liberal arts setting. It would be very upsetting to arrive at my first job and after a semester or two realize that what I have been working towards for the last decade is not interesting to me in the least. This internship is no guarantee that this won't happen, but it does provide a little security from those midnight cold sweats.


I received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from UT. My experiences during PFF were exceptionally valuable in preparing for academia as well as my recent job interviews. The value of PFF is even more evident now that I am a new faculty at California State University, Sacramento, where high-quality education is especially valued. As a PFF intern during the spring of 1998, I was hosted by Professor Earl Doderer, a civil engineering faculty member in the Department of Engineering Science at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. The internship included: 1) observation of teaching styles of faculty members, followed by one-on-one interviews; 2) study and discussion of teaching philosophy and pedagogy; and 3) creation of a journal of gleanings and reflections on engineering education based on experiences during the internship. Due to restrictions associated with my dissertation and travel time to San Antonio, a planned lecture and critique were not feasible. Below are a few excerpts from the journal of gleaning that I wrote during PFF.

Through my visits to Trinity, I enjoyed a unique opportunity to view a teaching-oriented program as a veritable insider. Special insights provided by the faculty members and discussions with various students gave me a lasting impression of the value added to undergraduate engineering students in a teaching-oriented engineering program like Trinity. When attending my first class at Trinity, I carefully watched eager freshmen tackle statics. During my final visit, I observed seniors present their design projects with composure, maturity and confidence obviously developed throughout their four years. The PFF experiences helped me put together the pieces of the "engineering education puzzle." In the course of a semester, I saw more clearly how a teaching-oriented program actually achieves its goal of developing high quality engineering graduates who have the ability to think critically and creatively and who possess a strong background in the fundamentals of engineering.

The PFF experience provided me a rare opportunity to carefully consider my own teaching philosophy and approaches to implement it. Nothing could be more valuable to a future academic than a prolonged period of time to consider, actively discuss, and in some measure participate in engineering education at a teaching-oriented institution. The most essential factor to the success of PFF--and a prime benefit--is the relationship developed between the experienced faculty member serving as a mentor and the intern. Everything from a free flow of fresh ideas, insight, and balanced advice to the seeds of a long-lasting friendship is included in that relationship.

I highly recommend participation in PFF for doctoral candidates interested in entering academia, particularly at institutions where teaching is highly valued. PFF provided me unique experiences in engineering education that my department was unable to provide.

I am a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Program. Ever since enrolling at UT, I have had a strong desire to enter academia. Since the TA positions available to me are limited due to the lack of an undergraduate BME program at UT, the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) internship sounded like an ideal opportunity for me to learn more about teaching and gain practical experience.

The first obstacle I faced was the absence of engineering curricula at the four partner PFF schools. I was eventually assigned to Dr. D'Maris Allen of the biology department at the ACC-Rio Grande campus. The course she was teaching at the time was microbiology. Overall, the experience was wonderful. D'Maris provided me with the opportunities to assist in the lab as an unofficial TA and to lecture occasionally. The latter opportunity was both challenging and extremely rewarding because I was put in actual teaching situations in which the material covered and the manner in which it was discussed was completely up to me. D'Maris constantly gave me constructive criticism about my teaching style and valuable information such as why she used a given teaching technique during lecture, or why she assigned specific homework problems.

I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in teaching, and especially to grad students who do not have the opportunity to teach or TA at UT. Of course, the overall experience largely depends on the mentor with whom one works, but I think that the benefits and experience offered by the program are invaluable. I had originally thought only of teaching at a Research I institution, but the PFF internship opened my mind and piqued my interest in the smaller-school environment.


I am a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology specializing in quantitative methods. I am working with Dr. Alan Swinkels at St. Edward's University. My duties include observing Dr. Swinkels introductory statistics course once a week, delivering class lectures, observing student advising, and attending departmental meetings.

Working with Dr. Swinkels through the PFF program has been a valuable learning experience. Observing Dr. Swinkels' innovative style of presentation and interaction with students (he has received an award for excellence in teaching at St. Edward's) has provided me with many great examples and ideas for my own teaching. Additionally, Dr. Swinkels has also familiarized me with the workings of a small University, introduced me to the Psychology faculty and staff, and has been a valuable resource for helpful information and tips on job searches and interviews.

In summary the PFF experience has been a very positive and valuable learning experience. I am glad to hear that it has been helpful for the rest of you as well!

I, like a couple of others, come to you by way of the Educational Psychology Department (area 2 - human development and education). This semester is quite exciting for me, because I am working with the education department at Huston-Tillotson college under the guidance of Mr. Alan Sherman. Fortunately, I have been afforded the opportunity to co-teach an educational psychology class. The best thing about this experience is that I am involved in a distance learning collaboration that has been established between several historically black colleges in the Texas area. Cutting edge stuff...its great!!!

Using the technology was a bit challenging initially, but I'm having a good time manipulating the cameras in the classroom now. I have been fully involved in the teaching experience (e.g., lecturing, interfacing with students via email, writing exam questions, etc.) and I do enjoy it. However, I think one of the down sides to distance learning, if there is one, is the depersonalized experience that one has with the students "on the other end". While I can readily connect with the students at Huston-Tillotson college--both inside and outside of the classroom--the distance between me and my students at Wiley college (located in Marshall, Texas) has created a bit of inner turmoil for me. I see myself as very people-oriented and I actually attempt to use this attribute to my advantage in the classroom. A live video feed just doesn't seem to lend itself to readily allowing me to forge such connections. In addition, the students in the classroom with me tend to feel more comfortable interjecting questions and more readily engage in discussion about the subject matter. I constantly find myself checking to see if the students at Wiley are still there? Actually, I try really hard to ask questions specifically to them and I try to pause for longer periods of time when asking questions, because I realize how odd it must be to them to have an individual lecturing to them through a T.V. screen!!!

Well just so you will know, I highly recommend that we all get some distance learning experience under our belts! The way that things are going I wouldn't be surprised if all institutions go to this format as the so many more dollars can be made by institutions with this instructional technology. don't get left out!

I'm a Ph. D. student in the Educational Psychology Department. I'm enjoying my Spring (2000) internship at St. Edward's University under Dr. Helen Just's supervision. I have my regular office hours every Tuesday 2-3 p.m. in Dr. Just's office. I am assigned to teach at least once in four different courses, which are Counseling and Guidance, Senior Internship, Community Service, and Child Development.

In addition to teaching some classes, I am also observing Dr. Just's state-of-art lectures. Dr. Just is a wonderful mentor for me because she taught me many things that never were taught in my other classes in graduate school, like how to make a good syllabus, how to deal with students with disabilities, how to make a balance between job responsibilities and own private life, many usage of multi-media presentations during lectures, etc.

Because I am also in the process of job search, Dr. Just taught me many other helpful things for job search, how to revise my CV, how to prepare interviews, and taught me many "do's" and "don'ts" during job searching process.

I really appreciate my opportunity to work at St. Edwards.

I am a Ph.D candidate in Multicultural Special Education. I would like to thank Professor Cherwitz and St. Edwards for assisting in locating a mentor that was close to my area of focus. I believe I was paired with two other persons before meeting with Armando Sanchez.

Dr. Sanchez is a wonderful instructor and a fine artist! He has truly been accommodating to my schedule. We have had the opportunity to visit and discuss the class syllabus, what to include in a vitae, and other particulars to university teaching. I have observed and interacted with the students in his Language Acquisition class and I have to admit, it has been great! Information that I have learned from my coursework as well as my experiences was so applicable in the classroom. The students are so very receptive and want to hear your explanations.

I am teaching the section on Multicultural Education from Dr. Sanchez's Children's Literature class. There is so much information (besides what is in the text) that I want to share. I am really going to have to check myself! I suppose a critique of this teaching experience will give me a greater sense of do's and don'ts. I have also been invited to attend faculty meetings. Hopefully, I will be able to attend before the semester is over.

This has really been a good experience. I feel right at home in the classroom!

I am a candidate in the Counseling Psychology program of the Department of Educational Psychology, doing my internship at St. Edward's University under the mentorship of Dr. Helen Just. The experience has been rich in ways I had not anticipated.

First, I should note that Helen has been very supportive and present – allowing me the freedom to participate as much as my schedule permits, while not burdening me with expectations that exceed my resources. She has given me full responsibility for a course in Community Service in Psychology, which is required of Psychology majors at St. Ed's, and we are co-teaching two sections of an introductory class in Statistics for Psychology majors.

I designed, on the basis of her previous experience, the syllabus for Community Service, and have had full autonomy in structuring the classroom experience, which is designed to help the students reflect critically on their volunteer experiences with various agencies around town. In addition, required readings and discussions are designed to help them contextualize the services they are providing within the parameters of the Human Services professions. Just to give you an idea of the range of experiences: there are students working in a methadone clinic for heroin addicts, providing meals to the homeless in a downtown soup kitchen, working for an agency providing supervised visitation to divorced parents, as well as many working in social services programs in elementary and junior high schools.

Classes have been lively, with the students feeling free to exchange ideas with a great deal of confidence. They have reported feeling particularly challenged by the nuances of applying the ethical standards of the professional organizations appropriate to their sites, especially in terms of being respectful of the values of clients that in some cases are very different from themselves.

The statistics classes have been more challenging for me. I've lectured three times, and helped design and implement computer exercises. It's been fun to discover that I actually understand more about basic statistics than I thought I did! Helen and the students have both commented on how helpful it has been to have me keep some focus on the point of the statistical methods they are learning, rather than just the procedures for computing them.

The experience has been very positive. I've long felt that I would like to teach at a Liberal Arts college, and this has given me a more realistic picture of what that may entail. I have enjoyed witnessing the cameraderie among the faculty from very diverse departments whose offices are located together in a general classroom building. Also, some of the committee work is conducted informally – for example in the coffee shop on campus.

Finally, I have been pleased to see that St. Ed's is trying to move more into research in psychology, and have recently set up a lab – classically in the basement of an older building – with the aim of providing space to faculty who maintain a program of research. That is a definite advantage when thinking of pursing a position at such an institution.

I am a student in the Executive Leadership Program offered by the Department of Educational Administration. My major goal for this internship was to get a good look at the "inner workings" of a department of education within an institution of higher learning.  My placement with Dr. Marla McGhee at Southwest Texas State University has provided a wonderful opportunity to witness the world of "a junior faculty member," as she calls herself, up close and personal with the added benefit of being able to ask questions about the many facets of the role(s).

The entire SWT Ed. Admin. faculty has made me feel very welcome and has allowed me to be privy to discussions of even the most sensitive of issues.  One of the most valuable experiences I have had involved sitting in on the interviewing process for an individual seeking to teach for SWT this summer.  The panel of professors each offered questions to the candidate which appeared to me to be indicative of not only their personal styles, but also their collective concern for he quality of instruction they provide as a department to their master's and certification students. The amount of discussion in the meetings I have attended which pertains to students and academic programming has pleasantly surprised me.  I witnessed the faculty having to take a stand on their performance expectations for their graduates.  During one department meeting, a professor put forth concerns about the lack of progress being made by student during the internship phase of the program.  It was decided that they should form a formal faculty review committee that would meet with this student to provide honest and helpful feedback in an effort to develop a plan of action together. Such circumstances are rare--but they do occur and I was fortunate to watch the interaction as they modeled a true problem-solving approach to the issue.

In addition to Ed. Admin. Department meetings, monthly faculty meetings have allowed me to become familiar with the various types of committee and group work expected of professors.  Topics have included: faculty searches, departmental evaluation review, planning for the spring semester 2002 class schedule, nominations for University awards, research proposals and conference attendance and participation.  At each meeting, budget seems to enter the discussion, and given my 20 years in public education, I found the discussions/concerns to be strikingly familiar.  In particular, the lack of resources and the need to make $ stretch as far as possible without compromising services to students was a pervasive topic.  In addition, the expectation that faculty members present at conferences and deliver academic papers is always present, even though the funding is not.  The resulting frustration is real and something with which an organization must deal if they want to get optimal performance from staff.

With my interest in curriculum and my teaching background, my desire has been to view multiple teaching formats used with students and to become familiar with the various programs through which students achieve their masters degrees and administrative certification.  In addition to talking with the professors themselves, I have attended classes taught in settings beyond SWT, including the MITC program (Multi-Institution Teaching Center).  This collaboration between SWT, ACC, Concordia and Temple College provides programs ranging from associate's to master's degrees. Most beneficial, however, has been the opportunity to work with a mentor like Dr. McGhee.    She has been committed to providing authentic experiences from which I have learned a great deal.  She has also spent time sharing her expertise in research methodology and has been instrumental in helping me to plan for focus groups which I will be conducting in May as part of my own study.

I am a doctoral student in Educational Psychology. I worked with Dr. Shirin Khosropour at Austin Community College this semester. Primarily, my time was spent working independently on various assignments geared at the development of a Web-based Introduction to Psychology course. Dr. Khosropour and I met several times over the semester and spoke weekly by telephone.

During the first part of the semester, I focused on a search of the literature in my field and submitted summaries of articles relevant to the development of the distance-learning course to my mentor. I also participated in the decision regarding which Web-based product to use for the administration of the new course (i.e., Blackboard vs. PageOut). To this end, I received a private tutoring session on PageOut from a McGraw-Hill representative. Near the middle of the semester, I conducted an informal evaluation of several other PCM (personal computer – modem) courses at ACC. Specifically, since there are no standards for the development of PCM courses at ACC, Dr. Khosropour was interested in the ways that these other courses have been administered. At a departmental meeting in October, I attended a presentation by a Behavioral Sciences faculty member on the development of a template PCM course in psychology. Finally, near the end of the semester, my focus switched to a search for Web-based activities for the PCM course we were developing. A major problem with courses administered completely online is that students often lack the self-regulation necessary to complete (completion and retention rates with these distance-learning courses are extremely low). One way to work around this issue is to provide more frequent assignments and opportunities for feedback. I then uploaded links to some of the Web-based activities I located to Dr. Khosropour's Blackboard account.

Over the course of the semester, I attended a number of workshops and meetings that afforded me excellent opportunities for professional development. In particular, I attended monthly meetings of the Behavioral Sciences faculty, during which I observed various administrative processes as well as parts of a program self-review. I also attended a workshop at ACC entitled “Surviving and Thriving in Your First Online Course” and a presentation by Dr. Robert Feldman, the author of the textbook we will be using with the PCM course, entitled “The Power of Diversity: Using Student Differences to Promote Cultural Competence.” Maybe the greatest opportunity the internship offered me, though, was the possibility for research with my mentor. I wrote a case proposal on the development of the PCM course for inclusion in the fifth volume of the Annals of Cases on Information Technology. Our preliminary proposal was accepted, and we will be submitting a full case proposal in January. Perhaps most exciting for me, though, is the research we will be conducting on the PCM course after it is developed. We have decided to offer a hybrid traditional--PCM course in the spring and the full PCM course in summer 2002. We are developing a comparison study of the two classes, along with a faculty member in my program, Dr. Diane Schallert. I have decided to study some of the qualities of the discussions in the two classes for my dissertation, and we also plan to write up the comparison study and submit it for publication. To this end, I developed a baseline questionnaire on the discussions in Dr. Khosropour's current classroom-based Introduction to Psychology course, which students completed just last week.

One thing I hoped to do that I did not have the opportunity to do, though, was observe Dr. Khosropour's current classroom-based Introduction to Psychology course and guest lecture on a topic this semester. Since my mentor and I have decided to continue working together, though, we have already discussed plans for this next semester. I am very pleased with my internship experience. Not only did my work this semester offer me a set of experiences that will assist my professional development – observing departmental meetings, attending workshops, developing a course, planning and conducting research, cultivating a research relationship with a faculty member that will extend beyond this semester – but also I have a dissertation topic! This is so great! I really had no intention of combining the internship with my other coursework and research, but it has worked out so well. In addition, I feel like I definitely have a better idea of faculty life (and the bureaucracy and politics that go along with it) after my experiences this semester. The internship offered me an opportunity to observe this aspect of the academic community that I honestly do not think I could have learned about any other way.


I am a doctoral student in the Department of Management in the School of Business. Those responsible for Ph.D. student development in my department have an expectation that all of us will pursue career opportunities exclusively at first and second tier research institutions. While this is a lofty goal, it is not reflective of the job market in our field and leaves little room for people to make lifestyle choices that are incompatible with this career path. Nonetheless my department pursues a policy of providing no opportunities for students to explore alternative academic careers.

In 1997, I became a single parent and made two important decisions:

1) I could not be a good parent to my child and simultaneously succeed on the grueling tenure track of a typical research institution, and
2) I had a strong preference for remaining in Central Texas where my social support system is relatively strong.

At about the same time, I learned about the PFF program and knew it was perfect for me. I interned under Professor Louis Meyers at the New School of St. Edwards University. By the time I began with Dr. Meyers, I already had considerable teaching experience at UT. But I only had to attend a few sessions of Dr. Meyers strategy class to realize that I had a strong preference for teaching older students. Dr. Meyers also made sure I attended some departmental meetings. These helped me gain a better understanding of the collegiality and general workings of the smaller, more teaching-directed department. My experience with Dr. Meyers also introduced me to the rather distressing reality of how low-paying an academic career can be. Still, all-in-all, I consider the exposure I received at St. Edwards to be invaluable to me in understanding the academic market place.

I am currently finishing up my Ph.D. while working full time at Tarleton State University's Central Texas Campus in Killeen. In this position, I teach only upper division students and primarily adults. I find this work more rewarding than traditional teaching and I believe I will be able to meet the research requirements of such a position without compromising the other important commitments of my life. As my experience at St. Edwards warned me, I am disappointed with the money I earn. But I am generally pleased with the choices I have made. When I complete my degree, I will reconsider whether or not to go on the national job market for a higher-paying, more demanding position at a more highly rated school. However, I am pleased to think that whatever decision I make will be a more or less informed one. I owe this, in large part, to the PFF program.

In closing, I would like to say that I believe there are other departments at the university that, like mine, have made a conscious choice not to prepare students for any but the best possible careers. Yet only a small fraction of these students are likely to achieve the goals that the faculty set for them. Some will fall short while others, through the graduate experience itself, will decide that this is not what they want. The PFF program is the only one at the university that addresses the needs of these students. If not for this program, I believe that many students would leave their doctoral studies believing that it was not a worthwhile venture. PFF is one program at UT that can increase diversity of students. I hope that such programs will continue and grow as the university becomes increasingly sensitive to the diversity of students it serves.


While I was completing my Ph.D. in Rhetorical Studies at UT, I was eager to learn about departmental life at a medium-sized university. The Preparing Future Faculty Program provided me with this opportunity, and I was excited to begin working with Dr. Roseann Mandziuk in the Communication Department at Southwest Texas State University.

During the semester of my internship, Dr. Mandziuk introduced me to many of the department's faculty. She shared her broad experience with me during my visits, and it was wonderful to hear her advice about teaching, job-hunting, and departmental politics. I was able to attend several of Dr. Mandziuk's classes as well. This was particularly helpful, as she was teaching a graduate and undergraduate version of the same class. Because this is a situation I expect to confront, it was very informative to be able to watch how each course was adapted for its audience. Finally, and perhaps most interesting, was the opportunity I had to attend departmental meetings. As a graduate student at UT, attending meetings in my own department would have been absolutely out of the question. At SWT, I was able to see how such meetings--a critical and unavoidable part of faculty life--might be conducted. This was fascinating!

Dr. Mandziuk was an excellent mentor, and we still keep in touch today. I was even able to chair a panel of her graduate students who presented papers at a regional conference in our discipline. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Preparing Future Faculty Program, and recommend it highly.

I'm a 2nd year Ph. D. in Communication Studies. I'm spending my Spring (2000) semester at St. Edwards working with Dr. Innes Mitchell. My schedule there is rather set: I spend each Monday night team teaching a Presentational Speaking class and each Wednesday assisting with the Rhetoric of Mass Media class. In addition, I have attended one faculty meeting, and meet with Dr. Mitchell for an hour each week to chat or ask questions.

So far, I've found my time at St. Edwards to be rather illuminating on several fronts. For one, Dr. Mitchell has been very candid about his experience and sentiments of changing environments from a research I institution to one which focuses on teaching. He has been a great resource both in terms of what I may myself experience one day and how he saw graduate school while he was in the midst of getting his Ph. D.

In addition, I've learned about the difficulty of interacting with students in a small lecture when it is apparent that very few people have done the reading. Dr. Mitchell does pose questions, but often ends up answering them himself. Observing this each week has prompted me to consider alternative approaches.

Some unexpected benefits have also arisen. Dr. Mitchell introduced me to a women who I may now present a paper with at our national convention. He has also suggested several readings that I had never come across.

All in all, this experience is proving to be a great use of my time this semester. And who knows, maybe I'll apply as an adjunct faculty member there for the Fall.

I am a second year Ph.D. student in the Journalism Department. I am working with Dr. Anna Skinner at St Edward's University. She teaches Rhetoric and Composition for honors students, and I assist her in that class. While the course is an English course, she uses the Austin-American Statesman as her text, so I find the class quite useful. I help the class analyze the editorials in the newspapers to evaluate how effective they are as arguments. Dr Skinner, on the other hand, takes the class through the structural organization of the columns.

I find the PFF experience quite useful, because not only am I sharpening my teaching skills, I am also thinking more critically about the editorials in the newspapers. I also help Dr Skinner grade class quizzes and she has been quite helpful in helping me understand the pros and cons of a small-sized university like St Edward's.

Dr. Skinner has also shared some of her experiences with regards to difficult students. I really found it rewarding when she explained the steps that one has to take to make sure that class assignments are unambiguous to avoid the risk of having students who may complain that a grading system is unfair. I am enjoying the time I spend at St Edward's and I think that Dr. Skinner is someone who cares about people and her job, and is consequently the person to have as a mentor.

I'm a third year Ph.D. student in Organizational Communication. My internship is at St. Edwards University with Dr. Sue Curry. Dr. Curry is the communication faculty member in the New College. This college serves adult learners in the Austin community.

The New College recently approved a new major in organizational communication. I have been working with Dr. Curry and Dr. Vicki Toten to develop the curriculum for this major. I did a book search to help Dr. Curry decide on a text for the flagship course in organizational communication and leadership. At this time I am putting together the syllabus for this course. In addition to this I am providing some support in an interpersonal communication class. This allows me to experience the pace at which the new college courses are taught. The design of the college creates a focus on tapping into students' previous experiences and thus determining what of the basics of a course's content can be assumed or taught in less detail. The courses meet anywhere from 7 to 14 weeks.

I have an interest in the administrative functions of the academic department. Therefore, my arrangement allows me to attend a number of different types of meetings: faculty, academic council, and a task force within the college (Dean, Associate Dean, and several faculty). Dr. Curry and Dr. Toten are also graciously helping me to set up interviews with various faculty and administrative staff.

This has been a wonderful experience both for gaining knowledge and developing skill.

I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Studies, my area of specialization is Performance. I am currently participating in the Future Faculty Internship. My faculty mentor is Professor Teresita Garza, an assistant professor of Communication at St. Edward's University. I am assisting Tere with a class titled “Performance and Popular Culture,” an upper division course that Tere designed two years ago.

The objectives of the class are numerous. Primarily it is designed to increase students' awareness of current debates on popular culture and to make students effective critics of popular culture. In addition, the course has a service learning component that requires all students to volunteer a minimum of thirty hours at the South by Southwest Music Festival. Service learning is a unique component of the University's curriculum. It attempts to combine academic leaning with civic service. Although I did provide some assistance in organizing this project, my main responsibility is to mentor students as they write critical analyses of their experience at South by Southwest.

Although the class approaches culture from a rhetorical perspective, Tere urged me to apply my knowledge of performance to these rhetorical perspectives. Tere is also very enthusiastic and interested in performance theory and frequently gives me opportunities to lecture and workshop with the students. Currently, I have lectured, lead class discussions, mentored students and assisted with grading. Prior to the semester I researched and helped Tere organize the reading material for the course. Currently, I am assisting with advising and I hope to attend several faculty meetings in April.

I feel that there are many ways that I can apply this semester's experience to my future academic endeavors. Because the department was involved in a faculty search this semester, I have gained insight into the interviewing process. My awareness about private institutions of higher education has increased considerably. I am now aware of opportunities that are available to faculty members at these institutions. For example, I now know that it is possible to receive grants that will assist faculty members with their research. In addition, many departments support and urge faculty members to expand the course offerings with their own course designs. (Tere has created and taught two new courses in the last two years.) In addition, St. Edwards' offers a lot of opportunities to create an activist consciousness in students through programs that mix academic study with community outreach.

However, I think that my teaching will benefit most from my experience at St. Edwards. At St. Edwards, I am forced to adapt my teaching methods to a student population that is significantly different from the University of Texas. This has made me reevaluate some of my teaching strategies. Most importantly, I have received critiques of my teaching not only from Tere but also from a faculty member from the Center for Teaching Excellence at St. Edwards. Their feedback has been very meaningful and I look forward to incorporating their comments into my future teaching practices.

The internship continues to be invaluable on many levels. On professional level, it is forcing me to consider what type of work environment will make me happy and productive. On an academic level, I am learning a great deal about my field and the ways that my area of expertise can inform other areas of communication (and vice-versa). Finally, on a personal level, I am gaining a mentor and friend whom I feel will enhance my intellectual and emotional bonds to the academy.


I am a Doctoral Candidate in Social Work and I participated in the Preparing Future Faculty mentorship program in Fall 1999 at St. Edward's University. I am thrilled with my experience there and so very pleased that the PFF program exists so that I received an education and experience that I would not have otherwise had. I had the privilege of working with not one, but two, faculty members in the St. Edward's social work department. Because I wanted to develop and expand my teaching skills, I worked out an arrangement with these two faculty members to co-teach in two of their courses. This enabled me to obtain experience teaching in a very different environment from UT and allowed me the opportunity to observe these two faculty members, who have been teaching many years, as they taught the courses. Additionally, I had the privilege of meeting with these two faculty before and after the classes to discuss the plan of action for the class that day and to process what happened in the class afterwards. This allowed me to get feedback on my teaching skills as well as ask about their teaching skills. I felt very supported, challenged, and inspired through my experience in the PFF program. I learned a lot about teaching, and I was invited and attended different faculty meetings and faculty events to get a sense of what it is like to be a faculty member. I also had the pleasure of "working" at another university which allowed me to get a sense of what it is like to work in an environment different from UT, which is valuable to me in choosing my future university site.

I am extremely grateful for the experiences I had at St. Edward's University. The two faculty I worked with were great, I learned a tremendous amount, and I forged relationships with other faculty at the University who have also provided me with guidance and expertise on my teaching skills. I cannot praise this experience and program enough! It is an extremely valuable tool which incorporated my classroom education with the "real world."


I was an intern in the PFF program at the Riverside Campus of ACC in . I am in the Nurse Practitioner Program here at UT and being able to intern with undergraduate nursing students was a pleasure. ACC was most gracious in allowing me to spend time with them. I attended lectures as well as faculty meetings. I was also given an opportunity to give a lecture. It was a very enlightening experience and I highly recommend this internship program to all who are considering teaching. Thank you for the opportunity to receive a first hand look at the aspects of teaching on a college level.


I am a doctoral candidate in the LBJ School of Public Affairs. If there was one thing that I needed to get out of the PFF program, it was confidence building. In order to improve my teaching and begin to develop a teaching style and philosophy, I needed some confidence which for me could only come through experience in a non-pressure situation away from the expectations of my department. The Preparing Future Faculty Program gave me the opportunity to explore my own ideas about teaching through conversations with my mentor (at ACC), experience with lecturing and by providing some contrasting examples to the teaching efforts that exist within a large Research I University. The strength of the program is its flexibility in allowing the student to design an experience that will best meet his or her needs. I have made much greater strides in my development as a teacher over the past year as a result of the PFF experience than I have in three years of struggling with the concept of teaching in my own department. Through classroom observations, lecturing and conversing with my mentor, I was able to gain a new understanding and appreciation of teaching and to feel better about my own prospects as a teacher. It should be noted that I undertook the PFF program at the same time that I was engaged as a Teaching Assistant at the LBJ School and although this caused some difficulties in terms of scheduling conflicts and time management issues, overall the two experiences complemented each other nicely. As a TA, I gained experience grading, assisting and interacting with students, developing syllabi and, to a limited extent, lecturing while my PFF internship allowed me to step back from the details in some way and think about the learning process on a broader level. This is what I would not have been able (and had not in three years) to do within my own department. Simply having someone to talk to about my teaching struggles was an invaluable resource. The PFF experience has helped me to hurdle my fear of the classroom and has put me on the path of developing into a teacher.


I am a doctoral student in the School of Information. My PFF internship was a bit unorthodox: I have been shadowing Martha Norkunas, a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty member in the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program (IE) in the Graduate School at the University of Texas. Since 1999, she has been teaching a two-semester class sequence on "Cultural Representations of the Past" and "Oral Narratives as History". She developed the program, Interpreting the Texas Past, with the intent to revitalize interpretive narratives used to inform the public at Texas historic sites. Probably one of the most rewarding aspects of attending the class as a participant-observer was having the opportunity of observing Martha interact with the individuals in the class, each of whom brought very different experiences and skills to the group. It became apparent very quickly that Martha had mastered the basic pedagogical elements with which professors struggle endlessly and never quite seem to figure out. These basics are establishing for themselves as well as for the students what the course objectives are, how student performance will be evaluated and what the roles and responsibilities of each are. Even more valuable to me was having the opportunity as an outsider to actively follow and involve myself in the experience of the students. I had many opportunities to speak to them individually and in groups about their projects and how it was personally affecting them. The exploration of the class readings and issues discussed were personally challenging to the students. Some were discussing issues of national identity, class, gender and race openly for the first time in a classroom setting. Being neither classmate nor instructor, I had the luxury of time and distance to probe more deeply and reflect on what the students were revealing to me, about their views, their explorations and concerns. Dean Cherwitz asked us how this experience had reshaped our vision for our academic-professional careers. He also wanted to know what the internship had allowed us to do that would not have been possible in the routine course of our education. I think the opportunity to inhabit this in-between-world of being neither student nor instructor opened up new--and more satisfying--possibilities of observing, feeling and interacting with students as well as with Martha. I think that there is enormous but yet untapped value in attuning ourselves more fully to others with whom we share unique experiences--our paths through our university education. I think it is a risk that we don't often take, or think to take, in the academy.