This is the "how to" category of CAFFE and the one with the largest set of offerings. The goal of most of these offerings is to teach practical skills that are essential to perform optimally as a member of the faculty. Some of the offerings are related to skills with broad applications i.e., "how to": manage time, write grant proposals, manage conflicts, and communicate effectively. Others have more restricted applications, such as those related to skills in statistics and experimental design. Under this CAFFE theme, a collection of activities, which relates to skills for delivering instruction and assessing knowledge acquisition, represents the basis for the MSU Certification in College Teaching (CCT). Successful completion of the CCT is reflected on the official MSU transcript in the case of graduate students and as a certification letter from the Provost in the case of post-docs.
Recent doctoral graduates, even those with additional years of post-doctoral experience, enter the professoriate with little information about the expectations of the hiring college or university. The offerings under this category of CAFFE provide information about how different academic institutions have distinct missions that shape what the institution expects from its faculty. There are both qualitative and quantitative differences between, for example, four-year liberal arts colleges and research-intensive universities with respect to most aspects of faculty life, including teaching loads, involvement in advising students and research productivity. The offerings associated with this CAFFE theme will inform graduate students and post-docs about multiple distinct institutional profiles; how they affect tenure and promotion decisions; the role of faculty in academic governance; research collaborations and the recruitment and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students.
It is not uncommon to hear "If I had known then what I know now" when mid-career faculty members look back to their early years in the professoriate. Under this theme, CAFFE offers multiple opportunities to be proactive about identifying what new faculty members need to know in order to be successful. These CAFFE opportunities include acquiring knowledge about funding sources for initiating and sustaining research programs, as well as information about current views about pedagogy and other pertinent information necessary to excel as educators. Also under this theme CAFFE includes activities aimed to increase the understanding of students and post-docs about how to communicate across disciplines and how to plan for short-term and long-term career development.
The CAFFE helps students and post-docs in their professional development by fostering the adoption of the appropriate values and attitudes in the areas of responsible conduct of research, student privacy rights, principled peer review practices and community engagement. Although not restricted to this theme, but rather distributed across all of the activities of CAFFE, is the support for developing attitudes about inclusiveness and diversity in all aspects of academic life. The offerings under this category of CAFFE also serve to complement the programs available at different levels (e.g., individual research group or departmental) for discussion and instruction about research ethics.