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Graduate Career Team Making Strides

December 2, 2010

Over the past semester the graduate career team has been working toward understanding the unique and complex needs of graduate student opportunities in nonacademic and academic settings. Because tenure track opportunities have dwindled in a variety of disciplines, positions in nonprofit and government settings along with think tanks and industry are becoming viable options for Duke Ph.D. students.

In an effort to supplement department work to help prepare Ph.D. students for the academic job market, Virginia Steinmetz offered an academic job series that was well attended by Ph.D. students. Professors from different disciplines in the Duke community participated in a candid panel discussion about the hiring process in higher education. A newly hired professor from UNC shared his interviewing tips and experiences with graduate students on the academic job market. This series was also supplemented with programs on writing a curriculum vita, along with teaching and research philosophies.

For grad students who are looking outside the academy, the graduate team, in cooperation with five North Carolina graduate schools hosted the North Carolina Master’s and Ph.D. fair. Ninety-seven Duke grad students and postdocs met with 34 employers specifically looking to hire Ph.D. and Master’s candidates. Since employer participation favored physical and biological sciences and engineering, the grad team plans to expand the fair for next year to include a significant number of employers looking for applicants with social science and humanities credentials.

Expect to see a series of professional programs from the graduate team for the spring semester, which will be kicked off with a Graduate Student Open House on January 18th from 5-7 pm at the Career Center with Ph.D. and Master’s alumni, who have found careers outside the academy speaking about their career paths. This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to meet and talk to the graduate counselors and alumni in corporate and nonprofit organizations with similar backgrounds.

Along with the open house, the graduate team is honored to have President Brodhead launch the first of a series of “Fireside Chats” for Ph.D. students in February. These bi-monthly informal conversations are designed to increase the awareness of a range of administrative careers in higher education. Other confirmed featured speakers include Provost Peter Lange, Dean Jo Rae Wright, Vice President Larry Moneta, and Senior Associate Dean Jacqueline Looney. Efforts will be extended to include speakers from various departments and institutions around campus. Recognizing that the missions of universities strategically vary, efforts are being made to invite and include the president of a local woman’s college and chancellor from a historically black college or university. Graduate students will be encouraged to register ahead of time for this event, as space will be limited.

The Career Center will continue to provide an array of professional development activities. Programs will center around crafting impressionable curriculum vitas, resumes, and cover letters; workshops on how to maximize time spent at career fairs; and developing and furthering networking skills, in addition to many other topics and areas of interest. Our staff will continue to partner with other university constituents to provide career development expertise and opportunities. Stay tuned to our Web site www.studentaffairs.duke.edu/career for events and locations.