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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Geography

Future Professoriate Project (FPP)

The Future Professoriate Project (FPP) is a university-wide program vested in Syracuse University's Graduate School, in which the Geography Department plays a particularly active role. Briefly, the project prepares graduate students for their teaching responsibilities as future members of the professoriate via two initiatives. The first is the Teaching Associateship, whereby departmental teaching assistants receive guidance from a faculty mentor of their choice. The second is the Certificate in University Teaching, awarded to those teaching associates who, under the guidance of their mentor, engage in an independent teaching experience and document their teaching credentials through the preparation of a substantial teaching portfolio.

During the academic year Geography’s teaching associates get together and choose topics for discussion meetings, usually two per semester. Recent discussions have addressed the balancing of academic and familial life (and its intersection with gender), the nuts and bolts of publishing as a grad student, how to do job interviews, and the pros and cons of interdisciplinary work. Faculty are invited to make contributions to these meetings.

We also do site visits to three neighboring ‘sister institutions’ -- Colgate University, SUNY Cortland, and SUNY Geneseo -- in order to get a firsthand sense of what it's like to be in an undergraduate teaching institution. In turn, each fall we host our “Geofest” for senior undergrads from those three institutions, whereby we (grads and faculty) give them a sense of what geography grad school and geography research are like.

Each academic year there are about 10 to 15 teaching associates, which makes us one of the larger and livelier FPP groups on campus. Each teaching associate receives a stipend as part of their membership each semester.

Further details on the FPP may be found at

In the Department of Geography it is Dr. John Western who is the ongoing “Primary Faculty Liaison.” This title implies that the organization of FPP departmental-level activities is viewed as something of a partnership between the grads and those faculty who choose to participate.