Graduate students experience what it is like to be a professor

Graduate students thinking about becoming college professors now have the chance to learn about faculty life and hiring procedures at different types of colleges.

Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) is hosting a panel of representatives that will discuss what it is like to teach at different institutions and what students can expect.

“This is the first time we’re trying to tell students about different institutional types,” said Isis Artze-Vega, a doctoral student at the University of Miami and the PFF Coordinator.

PFF is a national program that different schools can model themselves against. It addresses the roles and responsibilities of faculty members, helps students learn about different careers in teaching and different institutional types.

Last fall PFF hosted a “Conducting an Academic Job Search” discussion which informed students about what it’s like when looking for an academic job.

“We had a lot of students come in for that because obviously it’s so difficult to get a job these days,” Artze-Vega said.

The discussion is mostly for PFF students.

“People will show up who heard about it. We try not to be exclusive, we try to be inclusive, but for the most part PFF people register, they are the ones invited and we plan for that number of attendees,” Artze-Vega said. Students come from all three campuses.

“Since I am primarily interested in teaching instead of research and want my professorship to reflect that, I am curious to learn how to market myself to institutions which emphasize teaching. Additionally, I am applying for jobs in Europe and was hoping the discussion may help to distinguish between universities in the US and abroad,” said Adrienne Milner, a Sociology student planning to attend the discussion.

The discussion will be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 26 in room 106 in the School of Nursing.

“I’m hopeful that students will come away with a greater awareness of the differences between various institutions of higher education, and thus better able to search for faculty positions that will fit with their strengths and interests,” said head of faculty affairs, Bill Tallman.

He will be a representative and represent what it is like to be a professor at UM.

The discussion will also feature teachers from Miami-Dade, Florida Memorial, and St. Thomas. The panel members will talk about what their institutions are like and how they are different from other institutions. They will also discuss faculty life and how faculty members are hired and how institutions go about looking for faculty members. A question and answer session will follow the discussions.

Artze-Vega, as the PFF coordinator, works with the Dean and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School to determine what students are interested in. At the end of every session, they ask students what they want next. They let the participants tell them their preferences. Last semester they had the discussion Balancing Teaching, Research and Service which informed students about what happens when they get hired as a teacher. PFF also looks at what other national programs are doing and what is timely.

“We’re really excited to be working with the nearby colleges. I think it’s a core part of Preparing Future Faculty for a reason, which is that one of the best features of the post-secondary educational system that we have in this country of colleges and universities is its diversity. Other countries don’t have that,” said Artze-Vega. “It’s a great opportunity to expose students to the diversity and to also kind of give them a leg up when it comes time for jobs.”

Maleana Davis may be contacted at

October 19, 2010


Maleana Davis

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