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Preparing Future Faculty in Communication at the University of Kentucky:
Developing a Curriculum to Prepare Doctoral Students for
Teaching in the Multicultural Classroom of the 21st Century

Introduction and Background

In 1993 the University of Kentucky received its first PFF grant, supported by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and Charitable Trusts, which was followed by a Phase II grant four years later. The University and our graduate program in communication have been strongly committed to the principles of the Preparing Future Faculty initiative. As the enclosed brochure indicates, UK is one of only 15 research universities provided such funding to develop clusters of courses conferences, workshops, research initiatives and collaborations with sister institutions.  These efforts have been administered and coordinated primarily through the university's Teaching and Learning Center.  Our graduate program in communication has maintained close ties with the Teaching Learning Center, and Professor Jan Schach, Director of the Center, has agreed to commit a minimum of five percent of the time of a new Graduate Student Development Research Associate to our proposed PFF project for the next three years.  This is a major commitment of the equivalent of more than 100 hours annually for expert assistance in developing, creating, executing and evaluating the project.  Now we are hoping to extend this general PFF connection to a very special element focusing on the communication discipline specifically.

Goals of the Program

The Graduate Program in Communication at the University of Kentucky is an interdepartmental program, drawing faculty and students from a variety of communication perspectives, including interpersonal communication, mass communication, journalism, telecommunications, health communication, media law and public policy.  Graduates from the doctoral program, most of whom become professors, are generally expected to teach across the disciplines because they typically join regional public universities and smaller private colleges and universities where communication is often integrated with journalism, mass communication and other areas within the discipline
Of the approximately 65-70 students enrolled in our Ph.D. program each year, typically at least half serve as teaching or research assistants.  All new teaching assistants participate in a week-long orientation and training session conducted by the Teaching and Learning Center. 
In addition to the university-wide program, we have intensive orientation work prior to the start of the fall semester and continuing throughout the year with weekly staff meetings for those teaching our interpersonal communication and public speaking courses.  In addition we have the CJT 684 Instructional Communication course available as part of the graduate program which provides a communication discipline-specific focus.
Now we would like to add more to provide all of our graduate students, but especially those who will be going into academic settings, a better understanding of the multicultural world they will likely face.  Hence, we are proposing here two courses that will allow us to go beyond the bounds of that one graduate course and would address those multicultural concerns provide our students with access to a variety of teaching experiences in institutions with missions different from our Research I focus.  This proposal is to provide funds to develop those courses.

Rationale for Approach

The specific goals of the program are to (1) adapt and expand current PFF initiatives of the university to include a program specifically within the communication discipline and (2) create a series of opportunities for new connections for our doctoral students with the partner institutions. Curriculum for two courses would be designed to focus on (1) the value of diversity in the multicultural classroom of the 21st Century and (2) student involvement in a teaching practicum with a partner institution or other approved institution or organization within our immediate geographic area. The first course focusing on the multicultural classroom would include a series of interactions with a variety of individuals with international and intercultural expertise and connections from major organizations in the area such as Lexmark, Toyota and the UK Appalachian Center. 

Proposed Activities

During the first year, the primary activities would involve planning and developing the curriculum for the two courses through consultation with the partner institutions and international and minority students (both at the graduate and undergraduate level).   The University of Kentucky Teaching and Learning Center would also be extensively involved, primarily through consultation with the Center's new Graduate Student Development Research Associate.  A half-time teaching assistant (ten hours per week) would assist the steering committee in designing, coordinating and implementing the proposed project, including arranging meetings, writing newsletters, corresponding with participants and bringing in other graduate faculty and students in the project.
Our goal would be to have the two courses developed and approved by the graduate faculty and the University by the end of the 2000-2001 academic year.  There would be at least one all-day meeting of the steering committee with representatives of the partner institutions that would be conducted face-to-face or via video conferencing.  This meeting would occur in mid-January 2001, approximately six months after the working conference in Colorado Springs.
The courses would be offered for the first time during the 2001-2002 academic year.  They would likely begin in spring 2002 and would be available to  all new doctoral students entering the program in fall 2001.  The first course would feature readings and discussions on a variety of topics concerning diversity in the multicultural classroom such as (a) dealing with differences in ethnicity, race, culture and subcultures in the classroom and (b) instructional strategies incorporating simulations, new media technologies, etc. to communicate across cultures and international boundaries.  This would include interactions with resource persons at sister institutions and with international teaching assistants at the University. Each student would be expected to complete a project on a specific issue related to diversity in the classroom.
In the second course (practicum) students would be assigned to one of the partner of sister institutions or other institution approved by consensus of the steering committee.  The practicum experience would center around the student's full involvement in the teaching experience at the participating institution.  The student would need a faculty mentor at the institution and in addition to completing their teaching responsibilities they would participate in other faculty activity (faculty meetings, committee meetings, etc.) as deemed appropriate by the practicum director.  As much as possible we hope to emphasize the multicultural experience.  The purpose of the entire practicum experience is to prepare the doctoral student to become more fully prepared to deal with institutions with different missions, with different student populations, and with diverse element throughout.  Murray State University is a regional comprehensive university, the University for Peace offers a Latin American perspective, Coventry University offers a European perspective and Lexington Community College is a separate two-year institution connected to the University of Kentucky.

Evaluation Processes

Three types of assessment will be conducted during the two-year period.  One, a longitudinal assessment to evaluate affective, cognitive and behavioral growth in course participants.  Two, a pre-test, post-test design will be incorporated to determine pre-existing knowledge of diversity, diversity in the classroom and communication competence, for effective instruction.  Three a curricular assessment, well be conducted by the partner institutions in cooperation with the Teaching and Learning Center.  This evaluation will be used to revise curricular, which is necessary to assure the long-term success of the program.


We will be utilizing the PFF connection here on campus, through the Teaching and Learning Center in its university-wide effort.  We will continue to connect to those institutions currently participating in the present PFF Practicum effort at the University of Kentucky--Asbury College, Center College, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Kentucky State University, Lexington Community College and Transylvania University in order to provide possible practicum experiences.  In addition we may be able to work our practicum experiences with our partner institutions in the University for Peace and Coventry.
A host of international resources are also available on our university campus: The Patterson School of Diplomacy, the Office of International Affairs, and a wide variety of other organizations with international and intercultural expertise.  Lexington, Kentucky, is in a unique geographical position to also connect to Appalachian culture through the Appalachian Studies Program at the Appalachian Center and through the numerous colleges and universities in the Appalachian region.
In addition, we hope to make effective use of our connections with international firms such as Toyota and Lexmark, which offer a broader access to cultural and international diversity.  We see these ties as important, both in terms of teaching in nontraditional classroom settings and in terms of contacts with the international community at large.
We hope that our proposed program would appeal to all of our doctoral students and likely many M.A. students.  Because of the strong commitments of the University and the partner institutions, the long-term success of the program is assured.  Our doctoral program has a record of commitment to diversity, as witnessed by the fact that we have one of the largest enrollments of minority students, especially African-Americans, of the Ph.D. programs at the university.   However, there is clearly room for improvement in dealing with the multicultural classroom of the 21st century, especially in preparing students for future roles as faculty members. This proposed project would go a long way toward ensuring that this need is met by providing our students with training and direct experience in sister institutions or other settings that allow for exposure to diversity. We expect the relationships between our program and the partner universities to result in a long-term, successful effort to teach future faculty the high value of diversity in the classroom.  With the continuing growth of Hispanic, Asian-American and other minority populations in the U.S. and in the state, it is particularly important that our doctoral students be prepared to teach in multicultural settings.  Multicultural classrooms of the future will likely include people from diverse backgrounds interacting to form a new culture that capitalizes on each culture represented.  Such classrooms will be particularly prevalent outside of the traditional Research I institutions.

Plans for Dissemination of Program Outcomes to Other NCA Members

Information about the progress of the project will be disseminated in a variety of ways, including:
Presentations at teaching sessions at national conferences such as those of NCA, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the International Communication Association and other regional and state organizations by students and faculty.  Our program bas been represented well each year at these conferences.
Presentations at colloquia and workshops sponsored by the university Teaching and Learning Center
Articles in our semiannual Graduate Newsletter distributed to current student and faculty members in the program, alumni and prospective students
New items in other publications, including Communi-K and the Teaching and Learning Center Newsletter, sent to all faculty and staff at the university.
Presentations and discussions in other appropriate venues.


The members of the Steering Committee are:

Dr. Roy L. Moore (CO-CHAIR)
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication
Dr. Enid Waldhart (CO-CHAIR)
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication

Dr. Ramona R. Rush
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 
Dr. Derek Lane
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 
Dr. James Hertog
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 
Ms. Vicki Wilson
Kentucky Community College
Ms. Donna Wills
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 
Mr. Fred Fitch
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 
Mr. Davide Girardelli
University of Kentucky
Department of Communication 


Preparing Future Faculty in the Communication Discipline
Across the country, many doctoral students in communication are having vastly different experiences in their Ph.D. programs than did students a generation ago. All these students are "PFFers" –doctoral students participating in preparing future faculty programs that are based in their communication departments.
What is PFF?
In 1993, the American Association of Collages and Universities (AACU) and the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) created the first Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program to enhance doctoral students’ preparation for faculty life. The basic PFF unit is a cluster of one Ph.D.-granting institutions partnered with community collages, liberal arts collages, and/or comprehensive universities. The nature of PFF varies widely, but the common core is direct experience with the breath and depth of faculty roles within and across institutions. The basic assumption is that doctoral students aspiring to become faculty members require preparation not only to conduct research , but also to teach and render service in a variety of institutions with diverse student bodies.

Communication and PFF
The first phases of PFF were campus-based and developed in collaboration with academic deans. Then in the mid-90’s, the initiative extended itself to academic disciplines starting with natural sciences. At that time, the National Communication Association (NCA) saw great potential in PFF and funded startup programs based in four communication doctoral programs – at Bowling Green State University, Howard University, University of Nebraska, and Western Michigan University. Orlando Taylor (Howard University) was an early pioneer in the national PFF movement and in NCA’s seminal work.
Now PFF is in its fourth phase, entitled The Preparation of Future Faculty in the Social Science and Humanities. As part of Phase 4, NCA is one of six disciplinary societies (in addition to the American Historical Association, American Political Science Association, American Psychological Association, American Sociological Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English) to receive grants to support participation in the new PFF program. In tun, NCA selected four doctoral programs to receive subgrants: Howard University, Indiana University, University of Kentucky, and University of New Mexico.
These doctoral degree-granting communication departments formed partnerships with communication departments in institutions ranging from community collages to comprehensive universities to create new opportunities and learning laboratories for training doctoral students in the broad range of faculty responsibilities.
The four PFF communication programs are serving as models of promising practices, an NCA is disseminating the results at national and regional conventions, in its newsletter and other conferences. The goal is to promote new thinking and new practices about the professional development of future communication faculty.


The Communication Project
All four participating doctoral programs have experience placing their graduates in communication departments in their region and providing teaching preparation and experiences to their graduate students. While the department’s PFF programs have some similarities, they are notably different and will therefore produce multiple best practice models for PFF in communication studies.

Howard University
The PFF program in communication at Howard University builds on a strong history in the national initiative. It is design to strengthen and enhance the quality of the teaching assistant programs that is already in operation in the department. Doctoral students who are not teaching assistants are being included in bi-monthly seminars. Students have an on-going supportive, mentoring environment not only at Howard, but also in other academic environments (at partnering institutions in the Howard cluster).
The PFF students experience a full range of academic career pathing, whether they take the route of the strictly academic or administrative. They are exposed to the latest in technology by enrolling in a required on-line course. They are also exposed to technology through participation in seminars to teach them how to use the "smart" classroom and how to implement other technology in their presentations and teaching. Some of this occurs at Howard, but some of this exposure takes place at one of the partnering institutions, Prince George’s County Community Collage. Moreover, all PFF students attend bimonthly departmental (either at Howard or at one of the partnering schools) PFF workshops. Selected faculty from the department as well as the partnering institutions present and hold discussions on a variety of PFF related topics.
Partnering institutions in the cluster are significantly different from Howard, which is a private, predominately black research I university in a large international population. PFF students are exposed to a variety of different types of academic settings:

1. A quasi urban community college with a white rural population and a significant number of black and latino students;
2. A private, religious, predominantly white urban institution;
3. A small, predominantly black public college
4. A large, suburban, predominantly white, state-supported university with a large international population, and
5. A predominantly white, rural community college.

The Howard PFF program is led by Melbourne Cummings. The partnering institutions include Bowie State University, Catholic University, George Mason University, and Prince George’s County Community College. The program has also the strong support of Orlando Taylor, Dean of Graduate Studies at Howard.


Indiana University
The PFF initiative at Indiana University also builds on an established and highly regarded TA training program. It enhances the Department of Communication and Culture’s commitment to the training and development of graduate students and moves that training to the next level.
Graduate students who participate in the Indiana PFF program complete a certificate of pedagogy consisting of a three-course sequence:

1. A foundational pedagogy course for first-semester TAs;
2. A pedagogy praticum to provide mentoring for those teaching advanced departmental course, and
3. A culminating pedagogy seminar that addresses such issues as diversity in the classroom, technology and teaching , curriculum development, and the creation of teaching portfolios.

To receive the certificate, PFF students must pass a one-hour exam in pedagogy, added to their regular doctoral qualifying examination. Participating students also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of the teaching and learning environment at institutions that differ significantly from IU-Bloomington’s. Faculty from partner Institutions visit Bloomington (and/or participate in teleconferences) as part of an annual pedagogy conference. In addition, graduate students make site visits to partner institutions, where they shadow partner faculty mentors, visit classrooms, and occasionally give guest lectures and teach classes. Finally, some of the PFF graduate students compete for Future Faculty Teaching Fellowships, which give them the opportunity to teach at one of IU’s sister campuses for one semester or one year.
The Indiana PFF program is led by Patricia Hayes Andrews. Partner institutions include Arizona State West, Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Manchester College, Texas A&M-Kingsville, and University of Indianapolis. The program has the strong support of George Walker, Dean of Research and the University Graduate School at Indiana.


University of Kentucky
The PFF efforts at University of Kentucky focus on adapting and expanding current PFF initiatives of the university to include a program specifically within the communication discipline. The program has created exciting opportunities for doctoral students to make connections with unique partner institutions – The University for Peace in San Jose (Costa Rica); Coventry University in Coventry (United Kingdom); Murray State University and Lexington Community College in Kentucky.
One of the major goals of the project is the development of two one-hour elective courses. The first emphasizes the value of diversity in the multicultural classroom of the 21st Century, and the second is a teaching practicum in which students work at one of the four partner institutions or another institution within the immediate geographic area with a different mission and diverse student population. Murray State University is a regional comprehensive university, The University for Peace offers a Latin American perspective, Coventry University provides a European perspective and Lexington Community College is a separate two-year institution connected to the University of Kentucky.
Roy L. Moore, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, and Enid Waldhart are the coordinators for the PFF program at UK. The program staff is working closely with the university’s Teaching and Learning Center.


University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico (UNM) PFF program promotes frequent interactions of its doctoral students with faculty at the partner institutions. This involve day visits, shadowing activities, and panel discussions held at UNM. The partner institutions provide a mix of two-year and four-year college, private and public, urban and rural, with distinct populations of Hispanic, Native America, and international students.
The doctoral students participate in the UNM New Faculty Orientation program, and work in a virtual electronic setting with a faculty member in a foreign country. The students also develop "peer packets" on selected teaching topics and a "Doctoral Student-to-Faculty Handbook" to document their PFF experiences and learnings. Other projects include development of a web-site for UNM PFF, an emphasis on web-based course development and distant learning teaching, attendance at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities conference, and a series of professional development programs.
Jean Civikly-Powell is the coordinator for the PFF program at UNM. The partner institutions are UNM-Gallup, UNM-Los Alamos, UNM-Valencia, and Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute. The program has the strong support of Dean Ken Frandsen and Provost Brian Foster.


PFF’s Future in Communication
Widespread implementation of PFF in communication will not occur overnight, Some still see little value in anything that reduces time spent engaging in research, even when those experiences are crucial to individual and disciplinary success and well being. As a result, department and institutional incentives to participate in PFF are scarce, if present at all, at some institutions. Moreover, cultural barriers between different types of institutions and simply finding more time for thoughtful reform also represent significant challenges.
That said, many communication faculties and administrators are extending their vision to the whole academic landscape and, in so doing, are beginning to appreciate its varying contours. As the best prospective doctoral students choose departments with PFF, as departments begin to hire PFF alumni, as evaluation committee reward mentoring, and funding agencies require evidences that graduate training is broad and effective, then change is occurring.
More particularly, prospects for change in the communication field are enhanced by the presence of colleagues who are notable leaders in doctoral reform. Jody Nyquist (University of Washington) has spearheaded the national Re-envisioning the Ph.D. initiative. Richard Cherwitz (University of Texas, Austin) is the developer of a cutting edge approach to reforming doctoral education across the campus that has garnered national publicity and national funding. At a national level, NCA is privileged to work in tandem with the PFF National Office and the five other disciplines in PFF Phase four to chart new pathway for the PFF initiative.
Sherry Morreale, NCA Associate Director, is the National Office PFF project officer. Judith Trent (University of Cincinnati) and Carol Simpson Stern (Northwestern University) are chairs of NCA’s PFF leadership team.

According to Judith Trent,

"PFF holds our greatest hope for transforming future faculty and, as result, transforming the academy"






University of Indiana in Bloomington

University of Howard

University of New Mexico


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