post by William R. Wiener, Graduate Dean
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Britton
On February 15th, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and The North Carolina A & T State University launched an innovative student support program. The UNCG Graduate School and NC A&T Graduate Schools have recently joined forces to create a program that allows graduate students to better prepare themselves for the world of work after graduation. The employment picture is quite competitive and the two universities want to give their graduates experiences that will help them secure good positions. The program is called Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) and has two tracks: one to prepare future faculty (PFF) and one to prepare future professionals (PFP). There is some overlap between the two programs so that some of the program activities from one program will count in the other program. This will be helpful for those who are not sure of which type of employment they will be seeking. It will also be helpful for those graduates who work in academia or in business and industry and later switch to the other field.
Starting in 1993 the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) pioneered programs to prepare future faculty. The programs were started in response to the need for better preparation in methods of teaching. Most often graduates would start teaching without the benefit of such preparation and would have to learn on the job. Only recently have there been programs to prepare future professionals for work in business, industry, governmental, and non-governmental employment. The Council of Graduate schools has recently published a monograph recommending the development of programs that would create pathways into careers other than university teaching. The preparing Future Leaders Program here at UNCG/NCAT contains elements of both preparation for teaching and preparation for work as a professional in other fields.
Each track of the PFL program is meant to be completed within two years. It may be completed more quickly if students have already participated in workshops or courses that are in alignment with the requirements of the program. Of course Both PFP and PFF are designed to accompany a masters or PhD student’s traditional workload. This is not a for-credit program, but it is our goal to have students who complete the PFL receive a notation on their academic transcripts. Students are expected to attend workshops, individual and cohort meetings, along with mentor shadowing. This program will give participants an advantage over others when applying for a position because it will set these applicants apart from other job hopefuls. The Graduate Schools at UNCG and A&T hope to enroll about fifty students per year in PFL. We have already enrolled close to 40 students.
Our universities have been fortunate to receive a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools to incorporate assessment into our PFL program. The following announcement was made by CGS earlier this year:
Washington, DC – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) today announced awards to seven universities to develop new approaches for enhancing graduate student skills and understanding in the assessment of undergraduate learning. Supported through grants to CGS from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation, the awardees will integrate learning assessment into programs that prepare graduate students for faculty careers.
The institutions selected to receive funding from CGS are:
- Cornell University
- Harvard University
- Indiana University
- Michigan State University
- North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- University of California, Merced
The assessment component of the PFF track of the UNCG/NCA&T program consists of four components: 1) a face-to-face workshop containing an overview of the assessment process and 2) a series of three online interactive modules addressing how to write student learning outcomes, the types of data that needs to be collected, the use of rubrics in documenting attainment of goals, and how to use the data to make improvements in instruction. The online modules will be available to students in other professional opportunity programs and the CGS Clearinghouse. The PFP program will also have its own component on assessment with an understanding of TQM and other measures of quality.
With funds from the CGS grant, a special incentive system has been developed to foster innovation within the PFL program. Students who are in the program will be able to apply for small grants of $500 to field test new approaches to assessment within their disciplines. A culminating award of $1000 will be given to two students at each university (one in PFF and one in PFP) who develop the best innovation in assessment as determined by our advisory committee.
The two programs are made up of a series of required workshops and meetings. In addition there are also electives available. The preparing future professionals program includes the following:
|Required Workshops & Meetings||Elective Workshops & Meetings†|
|› Conflict Resolution in the Workplace||› Work-Life Balance/Time Management|
|› Project Management||› Diversity in Workplace|
|› Leadership Training||› Professional Networks & Mentoring|
|› Written Communication Skills||› Professional Networks and Mentoring|
|› Mock Interview||› Creative Use of Technology for Presentations|
|› 2 Responsible Conduct of Research||› Develop a Professional Website/Online Presence|
|› Shadow a Professional||› Grant Funding|
|› Attend 2 Governance Meetings||› Develop Interview Questions|
|› Entrepreneurship and Developing Business Plans||› Complete RA or GA training|
|› 2 Professional Leadership, Management, and/or Teamwork Skills Workshops||› How to Run a Meeting|
|› Résumé Preparation|
|› Applying and Interviewing for Jobs|
The Preparing future faculty program has the same structure and includes:
|Required Workshops & Meetings||Elective Workshops & Meetings†|
|› Models of Teaching/ Teaching Small & Large Classes||› Learning Styles/Teaching a Diverse Student Body|
|› Using Assessment to Designing Effective Courses & Syllabi||› Work-Life Balance/Time-Management|
|› Conflict Management in the Classroom||› Develop a Professional Website/Online Presence|
|› Observes 2 Undergraduate Courses||› Use of Blackboard|
|› Teaching Assistantship Training||› Creative Technology Use in the Classroom|
|› Shadow Faculty Member||› How to Run a Meeting|
|› 3 Student Learning Outcomes Online Modules|
|› 2 Responsible Conduct of Research Workshops|
|› 2 Governance Meetings|
|› Mock Interview|
|› Preparing Essential Job Documents|
|› Applying & Interviewing for Jobs|
Program participants will create electronic portfolios through iWebfolio to document their progress and attainment of goals in the PFL program. The PFL program is made up of twelve folios. Students will upload examples of their work into each folio, as well as comments from faculty and mentors. Each student will also produce a summative electronic iWebfolio which will contain their finished products to be shared with potential employers.
Students who are interested in the program should contact Craig Morehead at firstname.lastname@example.org