PFF fellows typically participate in two or three of the activities listed below each month. For example, during the same month, one might attend a Teaching Ideas workshop, visit her or his PFF faculty mentor at the partner institution, and attend a site visit to a partner institution. Some fellows invest more time with their mentors and develop ties to the institution that can lead to adjunct teaching positions after their PFF program experience. Others use the program to gain more clarity on the type of institution in which they hope to teach. Overall, PFF fellows not only learn more about the realities of academic life, but also gain insight on their own personal and professional development.
Meet with your PFF Mentor
Each PFF fellow will select a faculty member from one of the partner institutions (i.e., cluster schools) as his or her mentor and plan a set of professional development activities over the course of the year. We expect fellows to meet with their mentors at least once a month, and twice a month if possible. The Graduate School and the PFF Advisory Board from our partner institutions will help fellows choose effective PFF faculty mentors in related fields of study.
The overall goal is to learn firsthand the realities of day-to-day faculty life and work at cluster campuses, and how teaching, research, and service are balanced. See the Ideas and Expectations of Mentoring document (PDF) for more information.
Attend Site Visits to Partner Institutions
PFF fellows must attend half-day site visits to each of the cluster campuses held during the academic year. On average, fellows make one site visit a month. These trips provide an opportunity for conversation with faculty, administrators, and students on each campus, as well as interaction with other PFF fellows in the program from various disciplines.
Various events are planned for PFF fellows by the host institution, including classroom observations, campus tours, departmental visits, and panel discussions on topics relevant to faculty life. Fellows often have the opportunity to talk with undergraduates at these schools about what to expect if they intend to pursue graduate education. Each site visit usually concludes with a dinner meeting hosted by faculty and administrators who discuss issues related to the job market, tenure, teaching, advising, research, funding, publishing, or service.
Participate in Teaching Ideas Workshops
The Graduate School sponsors a workshop series called Teaching Ideas during the academic year that is open to the entire campus. PFF fellows must attend a majority of these events. The events will offer opportunities to talk with faculty members from Duke or guest speakers about issues related to undergraduate teaching and higher education. Topics have included “Teaching Introductory Classes,” “Gender in the Classroom,” “Active Learning in the Large Classroom,” and “Making the Most of Lab Courses.”
Brief Reading and Writing Assignments
- Short readings: These serve as background for discussions and colloquia when you visit with your mentor and attend site visits. The readings will be provided via the PFF Sakai site.
- Midyear and final self-evaluations: Reflection on your own professional development is an important part of personal and professional growth. PFF fellows must write brief midyear and final self-evaluations to document their experiences in the program. Your mentor will also provide a short final evaluation of your experience. See the Guide to Final Self-Evaluation (PDF) for more information.
The Graduate School offers occasional social opportunities on campus for PFF fellows and mentors. These socials may include informal brown-bag lunch discussions, evening dinners or social activities, and opportunities for further networking with Duke PFF alumni or special guest speakers.