Professional Development Advances
In the past year, the Graduate School (GS) has expanded the range of workshops it offers to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, adding sessions on topics ranging from time management to writing a grant proposal to identifying transferable skills. The goal of the effort has been twofold: to offer more holistic support to the students and scholars the GS serves and to begin designing clear pathways for students to follow to reach their degrees and beyond.
Graduate programs across the globe recognize that the terrain for graduate education is changing, as patterns of enrollment, demographics, and post-degree employment shift and realign. For students to succeed in this new environment, they need better maps and more clearly articulated pathways. The Graduate School's loosely defined 'Success Team' has spent the year investigating how other institutions help students map out a clear path through graduate school and assessing what will work best here at Maryland. The group is working to use a set of core competencies, defined to serve as broad learning outcomes for graduate programs across campus, to clearly articulate for students not only what knowledge and skills they should develop in graduate school, but also how and when that development happens. More than just a manual of what is expected at each stage in their degree process, the hope is to shortly offer students a set of resources.
This kind of 'toolkit' will enable graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to plan a route to their degree and/or subsequent career goals by articulating what they need to do and where they can obtain the appropriate support. What should students be doing in their first year, their second year, their third year to develop as researchers, communicators, and professionals? What resources currently exist in their programs, the Graduate School, or the region? The goal is to level as many of the hurdles and challenges graduate students and postdocs face on their scholarly and professional paths ahead.