Reader Poll: Professional Development

May 21 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

As part of my Exec Committee duties for a society I am heavily involved in, I am planning some professional development sessions geared toward graduate students and post-docs. I am doing this for a 2010 meeting, so there's a is plenty of time to hash out the details, but these things sneak up on you and I want to put a proposal together for the rest of the committee to follow on the heels of this year's meeting. I have a few ideas, but I thought this might be an excellent forum to gather suggestions from. Ideally, the sessions would occur on one day over a couple of hours. They could be partitioned into a few topics or it could be one big "This is what you need to know" kinda thing. What I would like to know from you is A) What topics should be covered, and B) What do you feel would be the most helpful way to cover the topics (straight lecture, interactive exercise, interpretive dance performance, etc.)?

So, if you are a grad student of post-doc, let me know the things you wish you knew more about. If you're a PI, what topics would have helped you in your transition? If you are neither and just want to throw in your two cents, have at it.

12 responses so far

  • Ambivalent Academic says:

    I wish I knew more about the big gaps in my current PD:- grant-writing: how do I get more experience?- collaborations : what is the etiquette for initiating and maintaining one?- net-working: as a grad student, how can I develop my own professional network if my advisor has not been forthcoming about allowing me access to his own?- lab/research politics: how do I protect my interests from jerks without seeming like one myself?I'm sure I could come up with several more.Oh yeah, and INTERPRETIVE DANCE. Especially if you post it on YouTube later.

  • Mrs. CH says:

    AA had some great ideas. Here are some others I can think of:- how to plan and give a good 10 minute talk- how to get the most out of reading academic papers- career panel: have people with similar degrees but different careers (academia, industry, left the field) come to talk about opportunities and talk about their experiences- strategies for writing (papers or thesis)- addressing the Impostor Syndrome (I'm actually working on a seminar on this right now)As for methods, I find it's way more interesting if sessions are broken up. So, maybe start with a 5-10 minute intro lecture, then break up into small group work, then do whole group discussion, then do a related activity, etc..

  • Anonymous says:

    - Getting stuff published- Grant Writing- Statistics and study design

  • Hermitage says:

    How to present yourself in an academic settingDitto on how to net-work!When to start looking for post-docs, academic jobs, etcHow to speak reviewer-ese when submitting articles for publication and how to respond to them.I'm jealous your students are getting such a fab opportunity!

  • Ms.PhD says:

    Planning Ahead for your Alternative Career Options: you can't do it all at the end when your hopes of a tenure-track job are dashed on the sidewalk...um, seriously though, these are all good suggestions (and all ones I could teach and have actually taught...)

  • tideliar says:

    NetworkingNetworkingNetworkingTime ManagementNetworking

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    I'm glad I asked, because I'm not sure that networking would have been high on my list of topics, but it seems that several of you think this would be useful. I'll have to think about the most effective way to approach that topic. Academic writing was one I thought was a given, but perhaps expanding it to academic communication and including the presentation portion would be most helpful.A career panel was also something I have already started to get rolling, since the conference is attended by trainees with a wide range of career end-points. As for protecting yourself from lab jerks, I could always give a lecture on passive-agressive note making and how to construct a prison shiv from common lab items...Any other topics that would be helpful?

  • Anonymous says:

    Personnel management (different personality types, how to motivate, etc)multiple project management/budget managementThose topics are required for any PI to be good at, but aren't covered at all in any grad school and only rarely in a postdoc training period.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Hmmm, alright. What I think I'm hearing is that it might be good to have three sessions:Academic communication-Writing-Reading-Presentations-NetworkingCareer Panel-Industry-Academic (research PI)-Academic (teaching)-Academic (staff)?-Editorial?5 Things you need to know as a new PI-Negotiations-Setting up the lab-Budgeting-Personel management-Strategies for fundingI will talk with the others on the committee and see how this might all fit into the organization of the meeting. I wonder whether we should dedicate a day before or after the meeting or try and do three evening sessions.

  • Comrade Physioprof says:

    One of the scientific societies I belong to had a full-day trainee meeting like you are talking about the day before the start of our annual meeting. It was *extremely* successful and well-appreciated, and the trainees liked that it was concentrated into a full day before the meeting, as that allowed them to not worry about missing out on other meeting-related networking that otherwise would have been going on simultaneously.

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Good to know. You're right that it doesn't make much sense to be telling students how to network during times that they should be DOING it.

  • Patchi says:

    I would add Government & Non-profit private reasearch to your career panel.

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