APA's Education Directorate is helping to promote students' hands-on research and service learning through the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program, which trains students to be successful professors.
Administered in psychology departments by APA and funded by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, PFF gives doctoral students the opportunity to teach at a range of institutions. Recently, at the University of Georgia (UGA), the program has expanded to include a community-service research component. Psychology students enrolled in the PFF program there are evaluating the effectiveness of area public-service and law-enforcement agencies, among other groups. Others are testing out a mentoring program in the local middle schools.
Along with teaching experience, community engagement grooms students for their future roles as faculty members, says longtime civic-engagement and service-learning proponent Donna Duffy, PhD, a consultant on the UGA project and a psychology professor at Middlesex Community College in Bedford and Lowell, Mass. "Graduate education is about defining yourself professionally," she says. "The challenge [to faculty] is helping students to see that service to the community--being an engaged scholar--is part of that role."