Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Topics for Graduate Professional Development Course

Some students have asked, so here are some of the topics (not all included) which will be discussed in our new graduate development course for basic medical science graduate students.

1) How to Cultivate Essential Skills outside Benchwork
Some include problem-solving, project management, communications, leadership, multi-tasking, collaborations, perseverance, analytics, initiative. Questions to discuss are 
1. Why are you in Graduate School?
2. What do you hope to achieve during your training?
3. Which skills would you like to develop?
4. How do you think you can do that during graduate school?
5. What are your career aspirations?
6. What services might you use offered by U of T?
7. What services would you like to see more of or initiate?

Guest Panel: Various Leadership, Career, Professional Development Program Leaders at U of T.

2) How to Obtain and Succeed in an Academic Position
Topics to discuss are navigating through competitive academia, lab management, collaborations, grants, teaching, administration, academic mentorship.
1. Given your own research, which collaborations do you envision forming in the future and why?
2. How would you optimize your chances of achieving a successful academic position?
3. Research and list some of the grants available to you after graduation.

Guest Panel: Four Successful Academics

3) Importance of Mentorship
Topics to discuss are the importance of the PI/student or postdoc relationship, mentorship, how to find a mentor, and training the future mentor/PI.

1. Of you were a PI/mentor, develop a feedback form for your student and career plan is they wanted to pursue a) academia or b) science writing.
2. How would you find a mentor outside your department?

Guest Panel
Mentorship Experts, Professor with Start-up, Innovations Officer

4) Postdoc Choices and Succeeding in a Nonacademic Career

Topics to discuss are the nonacademic pathways available, how to find the hidden job market, how to land the job and how to succeed as a nonacademic scientist.

1. Which labs would you pursue your postdoctoral studies towards an academic career? Why? If your goals change during the process, how would you change the direction of your postdoc?
2. What are your career objectives? This question should be asked every year during your career.
3. What is the hidden job market?
4. What are the nonacademic options are you interested in at this time? How would you find out more about these jobs?

Guest Panel
PhD & LLD, PhD Clinical Biochemist, PhD Dean of Students, MSc Director of Sales and Marketing

5) The Big Picture: Global Concerns and Science

Topics to discuss are thinking outside the box, TED talks, relating to innovate, market trends in the biotech industry. Finding your passion.

1. If you had a scientific breakthrough with your research, what are the issues and concerns getting it to marker?
2. List some of the global scientific concerns facing us today.
3. List some biotech companies that interest you and state why.
4. Which causes funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation interest you?

6) Career Transitions and Development Throughout Life

Topics to discuss are the skills to develop for career transitions throughout life’s changes such as the effects of relationships, finances, marriage, children, aging parents, re-entry after childrearing, company restructuring, grant losses, and retirement.

1. If money was not an issue, what would you research on and why?
2. What career development resources are available to you throughout school and life?
3. Research and find re-entry grants after childrearing or other family responsibilities.
4. If you decided to be a full-time caregiver, how would you stay connected to science?
5. What are some of the career issues facing postdocs and scientists today?

Guest Panel:
MSc Innovations Officer, PhD Science Writer, PhD Pharma, PhD Pharma Communications

7) Research Ethics
1. What, if any, ethical issues do you see arising from any part of your research?
2. List other researchers involved with the R&D of any topic related to your research.
3. What topics around research ethics did you learn today?

Guest Panel:
PhD Management Consultant, PhD Recruiter, PhD R&D Scientist Biotech, PhD Bioinformatics R&D

Written Assignments (50%)
Oral Presentations (30%)
Class Participation (20%)

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