IE Preparing Future Faculty Program (PFF)

Eric MatsumotoCivil Engineering Ph.D. Eric Matsumoto says nothing could have been more valuable to him as a future faculty member than his IE Preparing Future Faculty Internship experience.

"Nothing could be more valuable to a future engineering faculty member than a prolonged period of time to consider, actively discuss, and in some measure participate in engineering education prior to entering academia. The PFF Internship provided me such an opportunity. Not only was I able to view a teaching-oriented program as a veritable insider, but I was also placed in an environment that enabled me to carefully consider and develop my own teaching philosophy and approach under the guidance of an experienced engineering educator. Based on m PFF experience, I undoubtedly had a better understanding of academia, was better equipped for teaching, and had much more confidence in interviewing for academic positions at teaching-oriented institutions.

During one campus interview, PFF became the topic of conversation at lunch time. With a PFF internship to my credit, no one questioned the seriousness of my commitment to academia or teaching. Most faculty members were surprised to find out that such a program existed and were delighted that I had such experience. I believe that the PFF internship provides a win-win situation for doctoral students and the institutions that hire these students."

picture of Carolyn Roark Theatre and Dance Ph.D. Carolyn Roark comments on the value of the IE PFF Internship:

"IE lets you regain ownership of what you're doing now, reclaim your educational process now and get a head start to get ownership over your career and life after graduate school." Read about Carolyn's experience in On Campus.

picture of Benjamin Shults Math Ph.D. Benjamin Shults documents the value of a PFF internship:

"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."

Shults published an article in Science's Next Wave describing his IE/PFF experiences.

Sean Haley Education doctoral candidate Sean Haley discusses the breakthrough opportunities (going well beyond typical TA/AI assignments) afforded him through a PFF internship.

"I found the PFF program beneficial in that I have been afforded a couple of opportunities to get some sound teaching experience under my belt--beyond the teaching assistant level of interaction. Ultimately, the experiences I had through this program aided me in developing essential instructional skill-sets. Also, I gained a clearer sense of myself in the role of 'professor.'

To a large degree the IE/PFF program allows students the chance to investigate personal strengths and weaknesses in a 'safe' environment. In turn, students are afforded the opportunity to further hone skills that will be needed upon exit from the safe haven of graduate school and entrance into the world of the academic. Moreover, the experience can boost your confidence and even jump start your career. For those who are seeking an additional edge or who are seeking deeper insight into a world or subculture that, frankly, can sometimes be cold, competitive, and uninviting, PFF experiences can offer some breakthrough opportunities. In view of this fact, I particularly urge ethnic minorities and women to take advantage of the myriad opportunities provided through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program, including the PFF program."

Stefanie Wicchart History doctoral student Stefanie Ellis Wichhart links the success of her PFF internship to the overall philosophy of the IE Program, "affording [her] an opportunity to experiment with teaching and lecture styles in a safe environment."

Wichhart's comments appear in Texas ALCALDE.