FAST Fellows

FAST - Future Academic Scholars in Teaching


Full FAST program info 2021-22 (PDF)

FAST Fellowship Application 2021-22 (PDF)

The Graduate School at Michigan State University (MSU) and the MSU Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Steering Committee are sponsoring a teaching and learning professional development opportunity for graduate students—the FAST Fellowship Program (Future Academic Scholars in Teaching).
The primary goals of the FAST Fellowship Program are to provide opportunities for a diverse group of students to have mentored teaching experiences and gain familiarity with materials on teaching and assessment techniques.

Former FAST Fellows describe the value of their peer-mentoring experiences as part of their professional development

The focus of many existing professional development programs is preparing future faculty to implement effective teaching practices. However, peer mentoring is not widely adopted in graduate professional development even though incorporating this approach can better facilitate the transition from graduate student to faculty member. The Future Academic Scholars in Teaching (FAST) program at Michigan State University is a high-engagement teaching professional development program for STEM PhD students that has established a formal peer mentoring role into the programmatic framework. Our goal was to reflect on our experience as peer mentors in the FAST program (2011-2017) and use interview data from mentees to evaluate the benefits of peer mentoring in graduate student professional development.

Salk et al 2019; in Fine Focus 5:16-21 (

The FAST Program is for doctoral students with interests in teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education who are enrolled in programs associated with the Colleges of Natural Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Engineering, Social Science, and Medicine or whose college or department has an approved Certification in College Teaching Program. This program was developed in response to the national need to prepare future faculty for the changing needs and expectations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. FAST also complements the efforts of the CIRTL Network (an NSF-funded project involving MSU and 38 other research-intensive universities).

Students selected for this one-year program will:

  1. participate in group meetings (2 or 3 per month) (late afternoons-early evenings on an agreed upon day) or workshops with fellowships recipients, outside speakers, and/or faculty members to discuss topics related to teaching and learning and participate in “journal club” meetings (2 per month)
  2. complete pre- and post-program surveys; and
  3. propose and conduct a small teaching intervention/research project on a topic they select.

Completing this project will take additional time outside of regular meetings. Assistance with projects is provided by a mentor, selected by each fellow, and MSU CIRTL Steering Committee Members. Fellows are encouraged and supported to disseminate project results on websites, at conferences, and/or in peer-reviewed journals. Each fellow will receive a $2,000 fellowship to help support project expenses and/or travel to a conference to disseminate project findings. Additionally, fellows are also highly encouraged to participate in online CIRTL seminars, courses , and MOOCs.

To apply, applicants should submit the following and meet the requirements below:

  • Applicants should be enrolled full-time in a program leading to a doctoral degree, be in good academic standing, making progress on their degrees, and be on campus for the entire 2021-2022 academic year
  • FAST Fellows from previous years may re-apply for one additional year in the program
  • Complete the FAST Application Form
  • Submit a current C.V.
  • Submit a brief essay (500 words) that describes: (1) your career goals, (2) why you are interested in FAST, (3) questions you have about challenges that effect student learning in your discipline that could be developed into a project, (4) how you anticipate that participation in the FAST Fellowship Program will enhance your professional development, and (5) what contributions will you make to the FAST Fellow community.
  • Previous FAST Fellows should describe and justify what further activities associated with their project they will pursue during the additional fellowship year.

Awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panel, have demonstrated academic achievement, are committed to a career involving teaching, and show potential of future achievement as scholars and teachers.
Applications must be received by March 24, 2021 at 5:00p.m. Announcements of fellowship recipients for the 2021-2022 academic year will be made by April 09, 2021. For further information or questions regarding the program, please contact Dr. Rique Campa, 517-353-2042 or