1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Graduate Program

Future Professoriate Program

white gif

The following information relates to the Religion Department's participation in the University's Future Professoriate Program.  Please use this link for information on the Future Professoriate Program of the Graduate School.

Religion Department requirements for FPP:

Goal: The Department of Religion participates in Syracuse University's innovative Future Professoriate Project (FPP) to help prepare graduate students in the Ph.D program for teaching and for a professional career in the academy. Participation in the Project will enable ongoing conversations about, and training in, pedagogy and professionalism that will enhance the training which our graduate students currently receive as scholars, researchers, and writers. The various workshops as specified below are an integral part of the Graduate Program in Religion. The program has been designed with care such that the progress of students through their course of studies toward the Ph.D. will not be impeded. We look forward to the kinds of exploration and learning that will occur when explicit attention, on a department-wide basis, is given to pedagogical and professional training as an integral part of doctoral work.

The Department of Religion views all of its Ph.D. students as colleagues-in-training and is committed to providing training that will allow them to develop their skills as well-rounded teachers and scholars. In the context of the Future Professoriate Program, graduate students' teaching activities will be evaluated and enhanced by teaching workshops and colloquia. Additionally, various aspects of professional development will be investigated in ongoing forums in the FPP program. Everyone who has received a multiple-year appointment as a teaching assistant in the Department and who has attended the Departmental workshops will be expected to qualify as an FPP Teaching Associate and for a Certificate in University Teaching. Students who have other sources of funding (University Fellowships, Graduate Scholarships, other) and who have participated in the Departmental workshops will also be invited to qualify, although alternative possibilities for teaching in the third year may be sought for such students (e.g., Summer Sessions, University College). Participation in this program is not an honor to be awarded only to a few students but an opportunity to prepare all graduate students in Religion for college and university careers; it is thus available to all Ph.D. students.

Components of the Project

1. Completion of All-University Teaching Assistant Orientation (for those graduate students who are teaching assistants), plus attendance (required) at the teaching and professional development workshops in the Departmental Future Professoriate Program during the first two years.

2. Application at the end of the third semester to the Graduate Committee (faculty members only) for appointment as Teaching Associate during the third year. (A Teaching Associate is a graduate student who is enrolled in the FPP and is offering a REL 320 level course.)

3. One-year tenure as a Teaching Associate, during which year the student will, in one semester of the third year, teach one course in close consultation with a Faculty Teaching Mentor and develop a Professional Portfolio, leading to the earning of a Certificate in University Teaching. (A Faculty Teaching Mentor is a faculty member who agrees to provide oversight to the Teaching Associate.) During the semester in which the student is teaching, s/he will be assigned to work with a faculty member for 10 hours of regular teaching assistantship duties; during the other semester, the usual load of 20 hours will be assigned.

Faculty Teaching Mentors

In consultation with the Teaching Associate, the Religion Department’s FPP Director will select one faculty member to serve as the student’s Faculty Teaching Mentor. The FPP Director will be charged with the overview of the workshops. However, since ours is a small department, and since most of us teach in the Graduate Program, there will be broad participation by faculty in leading and participating in the activities connected with the Future Professoriate Program. Faculty Mentors will work closely with Teaching Associates in the preparation and execution of their sections of REL 320 and will be responsible for discussing and/or visiting sessions of those courses and providing at least one written evaluation of the student's progress in developing teaching skills. Mentors will be responsible for overseeing students' progress toward obtaining the Certificate in University Teaching and in developing the Professional Portfolio.


A sequence of workshops, administered by the FPP Director, dealing with various aspects of teaching and professional development and open to all graduate students and faculty in the Department of Religion, will be offered every year. Students who wish to qualify as a Teaching Associate must attend all of these meetings.

First Semester

Workshop on professional development: library resources (conducted in tandem with the first session of the MA Seminar)

Focus: media resources, interlibrary loan, use of databases, reserve desk, slide collection.This workshop is required of all first-year students.

Workshop on teaching

Focus: a faculty-led forum focusing on pedagogical issues in the teaching of religion,
e.g., how to prepare a lecture, how to run a small seminar, how to mix discussion with lectures, how to choose course readings, testing and grading strategies; use of multi-media (films, overhead projectors, other audio-visual equipment); distinctive challenges in the teaching of religion

Second Semester

Workshop on professional development

Focus: conference presentations and publishing (refining research papers for presentation, preparing abstracts and proposals, tips on submitting papers to journals);
Note: this workshop will include time for some students to give trial presentations of synopses of papers accepted at the EIR/AAR.

Workshop on teaching

Focus: preparation of the syllabus for REL 320; participation by faculty and by students
who have taught a section of this course; students will submit sample syllabi for critique

Students must take all four of these workshops during the first two years of their participation in the Future Professoriate Project.

In addition:

In every Fall semester, a group of faculty will conduct two optional sessions for those students who are seeking academic employment (that is, students who are actively "on the job market").

1) The first session will be devoted to critique of curricula vitae and of cover letters that correspond to a position (as advertised in Openings or the Chronicle for Higher Education) for which the student will apply. C.V.s and cover letters must be submitted in advance.
2) The second session will consist of mock interviews based on job descriptions submitted by students to the faculty interviewers in advance.

Components of the Program, Year-by-Year

First Year

1. Attendance at All-University Teaching Assistants' Orientation and Departmental Orientation

2. Attendance at Departmental workshops

Second Year

1. Attendance at Departmental workshops

2. Of special significance is the workshop during the second semester on preparing a syllabus for REL 320, a course that Teaching Associates will develop and teach during the first or second semester of their third year. Students may need to meet more than once for the purposes of researching, planning, and preparing a syllabus for REL 320: "Religion and Culture," a departmental course at the upper division level that will be taught in multiple sections by the Teaching Associates and supervised by the Faculty Teaching Mentors.

3. Application for appointment as Teaching Associate

a. Completion of three semesters as Teaching Assistant
b. Attendance at FPP Departmental workshops
c. Positive performance as teaching assistant during past three semesters*
d. For students who are not TAs, only (b) is required for application

*Note: Faculty members will submit a teaching assistant feedback form at the end of each semester, with one copy going to the student and one to the Graduate Director to be placed in the student's file. Students may decide whether or not they wish to include the feedback forms in their final Professional Portfolio.

Third Year

1. During either the first or the second semester Teaching Associates will teach one section of REL 320, with ongoing consultations with the Faculty Teaching Mentor. Teaching Associates will be divided into two equal groups to teach in the Fall and Spring Semesters respectively. One group will be responsible for classroom observations and peer review of their colleagues who are teaching in one semester, and during the next semester the roles will be reversed. Observation may also include videotaping. A Faculty Teaching Mentor will visit and/or discuss the Teaching Associate's classroom performance at least once for purposes of evaluation, which will be written and form part of the materials in the Professional Portfolio. Teaching Associates will be required to obtain written evaluations from their students at the end of the semester.

2. In the semester of the third year in which the Teaching Associate is teaching, 10 hours will be devoted to is or her teaching assistantship responsibilities. During the semester when the Teaching Associate is not teaching, he or she will be preparing the materials for the Professional Portfolio. In that semester, the usual 20 hours will be spent in regular teaching assistantship duties for a faculty member, although some adjustments may be made for time spent observing a colleague.

The Certificate in University Teaching

In order to obtain a Certificate in University Teaching, a student must fulfill the following criteria:

1. be appointed as a Teaching Associate and carry out the requirements of that appointment, as specified above

2. work closely with a Faculty Teaching Mentor in planning and teaching a section of REL320, as described above

3. prepare a Professional Portfolio, as described below

4. obtain the approval of the Faculty Teaching Mentor and the FPP Director

With approval, the Certificate will be bestowed at graduation after all doctoral degree requirements have been fulfilled.

The Professional Portfolio

The Professional Portfolio will be designed to enable the student to present his/her credentials for a career in the academy in an effective and attractive way. The Portfolio may include, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Curriculum vitae and university transcript

2. A one-page summary statement, provided by the Graduate Program, describing the Department of Religion's Future Professoriate Program

3. Syllabus for REL 320, plus documentation concerning how the individual student presented the course

4. A statement indicating that course evaluations from students, as well as sample exams and other course assignments and a description of teaching aids, are available upon request

5. A written evaluation of the student's teaching skills by the Faculty Teaching Mentor with whom the student worked

6. The Certificate in University Teaching, or a letter from the Graduate School stating that all requirements towards the awarding of the Certificate have been completed

Revision Approved May 4, 2005 Updated July 2007

white gif