Resources For Students

While in graduate school there are numerous skills, beyond your technical skills, you need to acquire to be an effective researcher.  For example, are you ready to,

  • choose a research and career direction?
  • develop a sound research plan?
  • write a research paper and submit the result to a journal?
  • present research at an international conference?
  • work together effectively with your advisor and colleagues?
  • decide what research activities are ethically acceptable for you, and which ones are not?
Graduate students often are not taught these skills. Instead, students learn these by trial-and-error, often doing things wrong the first time. This leads to lost time, and can make the graduate experience frustrating – for both the student and the advisor. The Center for Professional Education helps students avoid these pitfalls.
After you graduate will you be ready to,
  • negotiate your employment contract?
  • write successful proposals (either to NSF or your supervisor)?
  • communicate effectively with professional peers, laypeople and management?
  • lead a research or development effort?
  • design and effectively teach a class?
It is commonly assumed that new graduates have limited skills in these areas. Therefore, the development and documentation of these will not only help you excel once you are in your job, but can also help make you more competitive in getting that first job.
Currently the Center for Professional Education offers the following courses:
  • The Art of Science
  • Introduction to Research Ethics
  • College Teaching
  • Advanced Science Communication
  • Academic Publishing
  • Professional Oral Communication

Being A More Competitive Candidate

When you graduate, you will compete with highly qualified candidates for positions in  academia and industry. Despite having outstanding disciplinary skills; all candidates will have superior technical skills. You must, therefore, strive to distinguish yourself from your competition.

While technical skills remain your most valuable attribute, another way to distinguish yourself is through the development of a set of additional skills that employers value.

For example, the course The Art of Science can help you gain experience and strategies for creating effective work plans, develop collaborative skills  needed to be a research team member, and help you avoid some of the pitfalls of doing science. Being able to document this experience makes you a more competitive candidate for positions in industry or research.

I was surprised by the depth the course “Introduction to Research Ethics” offered. I initially hesitated taking this course, as I feared the same cynical attitudes towards ethics that seem prevalent in so many academic circles. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the instructors really challenged students to critically assess personal motives for conducting their research. This resulted in a stimulating course with excellent class discussions.” (Tom Meuzelaar)

The professional oral communication course for me was a wonderful reminder of many speaking concepts that I had learned earlier, but tended to gloss over when I came to graduate school. The detailed focus and repetition of speaking refocused my attention on how to be an effective presenter. I would recommend this for anyone who wants to learn more on speaking, or has simply become lazy in their speaking preparation and needs a wake up call. The value of the course was excellent for me in terms of time put in versus improvement in speaking.” (Doug Hakkarinen)

The course “The Art of Science” was an eye opener for me. It made me think of my career and my life differently. It gave me energy and ideas to restart and continue when I am stuck.” (Eman Yahyn Al-Juraib)