UNCG Campus Weekly

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First students complete Future Leaders Graduate Program

Photo of some of the program’s students and leadersUNCG master’s recipient Lauren Mottle plans to become a professor at a liberal arts university, after she completes her doctoral program. A new program – the Future Leaders Graduate Program – has helped her on her way.

She was one of four graduate students at UNCG and NC A&T who recently completed the special program designed to prepare them for future careers in academia or in business, industry and the nonprofit sector. The Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) Program, jointly developed by the two universities, offers two distinct tracks: one for future faculty and one for students interested in business/industry or nonprofit careers.

Mottle took advantage of the Preparing Future Faculty track of the program. As a requirement, she submitted an abstract based on her thesis to a conference and presented that paper at the conference. “This was an incredibly useful experience because it gave me insight and exposure to the scholarly dimensions of being a university faculty member as well as forced me to take a step outside my comfort zone and do something most MA students in my field don’t get to do.”

Recently the program added a unique component through a grant provided by the Council of Graduate Schools to teach students how to develop student learning outcomes and assess student learning.

Completing the PFL program in May are Lauren Mottle, Kimberly Mozingo, and Jennifer T. Stephens from UNCG and Babatunde Adebiyi from NC A&T. The program takes about two years to complete and gives students a chance to experience a behind-the-scenes look at a range of academic and professional opportunities. While no academic credit is awarded, students completing the program receive a notation on their transcript.

Several students received monetary awards for their outstanding work in the program. Lauren Mottle from UNCG and Bonaventure Mills-Dadson from NC A&T each received $1,500 awards in the Preparing Future Faculty track. Judges noted that both winners articulated a thoughtful assessment plan to guide and fine-tune class instruction with clear, measurable student learning objectives.

Mottle praised how much you learn about the teaching process. “I was a GA in the history department but the PFF program let me go a step further and discuss/observe teaching practices and methods used by professors in my department. My mentor, Dr. Jeff Jones in the History Department, was also incredibly accessible and regularly explained his rationale behind certain classroom decisions and I learned a ton from these experiences. Also, the mentor experience is an essential and incredibly beneficial part of the program.”

In the Professional track, NC A&T student Myron White also received a $1,500 award for an outstanding proposal and business plan.

In addition, the following graduate students received $600 awards for their superior work in Preparing Future Faculty modules: NC A&T students Jones Ahoi, David Dodoo Amoo, Maquisha Mullins and Myron White. Student winners from UNCG are Brittany Chambers, Melissa Ridley Eames, Kamilah Legette, Sarah E. McCarthy, Heather Mitchell, Jennifer Stephens and Elizabeth Warren.

The program includes workshops, hands-on activities, and requires participants to identify a mentor in their chosen field who can provide guidance throughout. About 80 students are enrolled and plans call for numbers to increase by 25 students annually.

“Students completing the PFL program will have a head start in seeking a good position in any future work role,” said Dr. William Wiener, dean of the Graduate School at UNCG. Generally, about half of PhD candidates will seek positions in academia and half seek jobs in other sectors. As part of the program, students prepare a web-based portfolio to track their progress and to share professional documents such as video clips of presentations and major papers. An important part of PFL is teaching participants how to assess student learning in the classroom and effective performance in business and industry.

UNCG and NC A&T received one of six grants nationwide awarded by the Council of Graduate Schools to specifically incorporate assessment activities for students into their Preparing Future Leaders program. The other schools selected for grants included: Cornell University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Michigan State University and the University of California, Merced.

To learn more or to apply for the program, visit http://grs.uncg.edu/pfl.

Visual: some of the program’s students and leaders.