The Professional Development Certificate for Preparing Future Faculty (PDC:PFF)

The Preparing Future Faculty certificate has been designed to target the needs of graduate students who wish to pursue careers within academia. This certificate provides graduate students with the opportunity to expand their understanding and appreciation for faculty careers in postsecondary institutions.

Who is it for?

PDC:PFF is for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in pursuing an academic career tract. Teaching is not a requirement for the PDC, rather participants complete a project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Workshops attended may cover teaching issues or professional development.

COPFFN Mentorship Plan PDC:PFF Attendance Tracker
Mentor Interview Socratic Portfolio 

Faculty Evaluation PDC:PFF Performance Doc

Dates all materials must be turned in to GTP office for certificates to appear on transcipts:

Fall 2015 - Due December 30, 2015

Spring/Summer 2016 - Due August 15, 2016

What are the PDC:PFF Requirements for Completion?

Step 1 Develop a Mentorship Plan

Download and complete the COPFFN Mentorship Plan to complete an off-campus mentorship with a faculty member on a campus in the Collaborative Preparing Future Faculty Network from the Graduate Teacher Program website, email your COPFFN Mentorship Plan, with a email letter of application, to

Step 2 Attend 20 Workshops and a Site Visit


Complete 20 workshops that include workshops on teaching or professional development.

  • Requirements include 10 Graduate Teacher Program teaching workshops
  • 10 professional development workshops in the Graduate Teacher Program or department. 

A professional development workshop is any career-oriented workshop that is not strictly a teaching workshop. Participants sign in at all Graduate Teacher Program and departmental workshops. The Graduate Teacher Program maintains data files on for each student’s GTP; participants must sign in at each workshop.

Participants should also keep track of all workshops they attend in their home departments using the PDC:PFF Personal Attendance Tracking Form, which requires the presenter’s or lead graduate teacher’s signature for each workshop attended.

Please Note: (Regarding workshop attendance: if a graduate student is pursuing two certificates, no double dipping is allowed, i.e., one workshop cannot count for both the Graduate Teacher Certificate and the Professional Development Certificate:PFF).

Site Visits

Site visits are a chance to experience the academic culture of other institutions in the Collaborative Preparing Future Faculty Network (COPFFN). Graduate students, undergraduate students or postdocs interested in gaining exposure to a different type of faculty and campus environment, are encouraged to join a site visit. Each individual will be matched with a faculty mentor on the host campus for lunch and a departmental visit. GTP works to have a site visit trip twice a year.

Step 3 Develop Your Potential Site for Your Mentorship

Work with either the director or the lead coordinators of the Graduate Teacher Program to discuss your ideas and a potential site for your mentorship and your draft Mentorship Plan.

It is best to email to set an appointment to meet with Dr. Border.

Step 4 PFF Mentorship at Host Campus (120-150 Hours)

Develop a revised Mentorship Plan that can be shared, along with your CV, with individuals at a potential campus.

Once a host campus mentor has been established, certification requires the mentorship be 120-150 hours.  (The Lead Network positions fulfuills these requirements)

Step 5 Mentor Interview

Once your mentorship is set up, be sure to agree on and write up a final mentorship plan in coordination with your mentor. You may use the Mentor Interview  questions to communicate with your faculty mentor, once the mentoring relationship is set up. Make sure the final mentorship plan includes all items that are required by the Graduate Teacher Program and by the host campus.

Step 6 Mentor Evaluation

Upon completion of the mentorship, the mentor should complete a written evaluation of your work taking into account the goals of the mentorship, the project, the presentation, and your accomplishments during the mentorship. Mentors’ evaluations may meet the criteria of their home campuses. The mentor’s evaluation should be submitted with the student's files to the GTP office via email to and will help to determine if the student should be granted the certificate.

Step 7 Socratic Portfolio

The graduate student writes a Socratic portfolio that includes:

  • A narrative or reflective essay which situates the mentorship in the context of the graduate student’s personal and professional development (why did the graduate student do an mentorship, how did the experience fit into his/her preparation for the degree and for a future career)
  • A summary of the mentorship experience; tasks accomplished; and a description of future and career plans.

The appendix of the portfolio should contain appropriate documents such as:

  • The graduate student’s letter of application to the PDC: PFF
  • An up-dated PDC: PFF Personal Attendance Tracking Form (each item listed, including the list of the teaching and professional development workshops completed will be cross checked and the signatures verified for accuracy)
  • The graduate student’s PDC:PFF Mentorship Plan
  • The final mentorship plan created with the mentorship mentor
  • Documents completed during the mentorship
  • An outline of the graduate student’s presentation
  • The mentor’s evaluation of the graduate student
  • Other existing evaluations of the graduate student’s work
  • The revised final résumé that incorporated knowledge and skills gained during the mentorship
  • Any other artifacts that the graduate student deems important to demonstrate his/her proficiency and completion of the mentorship.

Please submit a .pdf of the Socratic portfolio for approval by the Graduate Teacher Program Director via email to

Step 8 Complete Exit Survey

Once the graduate student’s file is complete and approved by the Director of the Graduate Teacher Program, the graduate student will respond to an online exit survey the URL of which will be emailed to the graduate student. Once the exit survey is completed, the certificate will be printed using the graduate student’s name as stated on the application form.

Step 9 Certification Received

The certificate, signed by the Director of the Graduate Teacher Program and the Dean of the Graduate School, may be picked up in the GTP office or mailed directly to the student. Please verify that the GTP office has up-dated mailing information.

Step 10 Transcript

Completion of the certificate will be noted on the student’s transcript. 

NOTE: To ensure your certificate is added to your final transcript, the portfolio should be turned in to GTP for review at least two weeks prior to end of your final semester.

If you have any questions regarding certificates, please email the Graduate Teacher Program office at

What is the Process for Selection of Candidates?

Applications will be reviewed and selected on the clarity of:

  • The plan, goals, and possibility for success
  • The strength of the student’s academic record
  • Commitment to personal and professional development
  • The student’s interest in pursuing an academic career in teaching, research, and service
  • Fit with a faculty member on another campus

What are the Parameters of the PFF Project?

  • A faculty mentor on a campus in the COPFF Network needs to be identified.
  • The faculty mentor must agree to work with the graduate student to develop the mentorship and agree to meet over the course of the mentorship.
  • The graduate student will work with the Director, Graduate Teacher Program and the faculty mentor to develop a plan for the mentorship.
  • The graduate student may develop an experience or develop a project on teaching that can be used for a course on each campus, CU Boulder, or the mentor’s home campus.

How Can the Project be Presented?

  • The experience may involve teaching, shadowing, attending meetings, etc. The project may be web-based, video-based, or print-based.  The mentorship may be made up of a mixture of both, if desired.
  • For the required talk, the project may be presented as the creator wishes to an audience of his/her choice, but a faculty menor must be there to evaluate the presentation.
  • The faculty mentor will evaluate the graduate student’s performance via a written evaluation sent to Laura Border at
  • Completion of the mentorship and Socratic Portfolio will fulfill the mentorship requirement of the Professional Development Certificate for Preparing Future Faculty.