The Preparing for the Professoriate (PFP) Seminar is designed to give fellows who have completed, or are close to completing, the dissertation the set of skills they will need to transition from being young researchers to being successful negotiators of their first faculty appointments. Rather than focusing on the presentation and critique of fellows' academic work, this seminar hones the skills that fellows need to navigate the professional challenges they face in the years immediately following completing of the PhD.
While the major emphasis is on preparing fellows for the academic job market, the PFP also includes information about postdoctoral fellowships and other opportunities. Mellon PhD faculty members from a wide cross-section of institutions facilitate the Seminar. In addition to practical issues, such as presentation of the CV and job talks, they discuss a variety of intangible issues, including defining one's academic identity, assessing the position you want and finding a proper fit, postdocs, interviewing, defining one's scholarship for the job market, and the "view from the search committee." Fellows get a level of attention far beyond what is offered by institutional workshops on the academic job market, and report being better prepared for the job search process because they've gained a sense of their individual next steps.