New Graduate Professional Development Program
The Graduate Studies Office has organized a new professional development program, which will allow PhD students to receive course credit for participating in professional development training and seminars. The pilot for the program, which is based on the many professional development workshops already offered by the Graduate Studies Office, will start this fall.
Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs Kerry Landers observed, “Each term, the Graduate Studies Office and the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) offer a variety of training sessions on teaching, research, and career development that students from many different departments attend. The new program will formalize the process of giving students credit for coming to these workshops and will recognize students’ efforts to develop their skills and prepare for their future careers.”
Doctoral students participating in the professional development program will earn credit hours toward one course during the time they are working toward their PhD. The credit will appear on students’ transcripts under a label such as Professional Development. Although workshops are open to all graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, course credit will only be offered to PhD students. Workshops will be divided into core sessions, such as sessions on ethics, writing, presenting, mentoring, leadership, and time management, and elective sessions, divided into sessions on research, teaching, and career exploration.
Sessions that would fall under the elective category of research include sessions on lab management, grants and funding opportunities, science proposals, and patents. Elective sessions that would be categorized as teaching, could include a teaching series led by DCAL, sessions on syllabus design, workshops on being a TA, and sessions on laboratory design. Sessions that focus on career exploration would include those on academic and non-academic job searches, sessions on writing CVs and resumes, and sessions in which alumni discuss their career paths.
PhD students in the sciences will also be encouraged to take the myIDP career assessment tool, now required by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for all students on training grants. The myIDP tool is a good way for graduate students to assess their skills and set career goals as they progress through graduate school.
The impetus for the new program stems in part from the recent strategic planning working group process. The summary of the report from the Graduate Education for the Future working group calls for the development of “a distinctively Dartmouth model for a 21st century graduate education,” which will “integrate training experiences, leadership, and professional development” (Graduate Education for the Future Summary, March 2013).
Graduate student respondents have also emphasized the importance of initiatives to help with career planning in the annual survey conducted by the Graduate Studies Office and the Office of Institutional Research. The goal of the program is to facilitate students’ pathways through graduate school and into fulfilling careers.
Dean of Graduate Studies Jon Kull notes that “the Graduate Studies Office is excited to be able to encourage graduate students in their professional development.” He observes, “With this step, we develop the plan outlined by the strategic planning working group by building on the strong foundation of graduate studies here at Dartmouth and continuing to expand the opportunities available to our graduate students.”