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Professional Development: Resource Awareness

June 2, 2009

Resource awareness plays an important role in successfully navigating your graduate career. One of the many ways the Graduate School recognizes the importance of this aspect of professional development is through the following criterion for the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring: An excellent mentor “connects students with the resources necessary to take full advantage of academic and professional opportunities and enables students by helping them to develop their own local and national networks.”

To keep yourself fully informed, make sure that you are periodically approaching these other important sources of information:

1. The Graduate School Student Handbook: This handbook provides a wealth of information about academic regulations, financial support, university services, and life in the Triangle. The Handbook is available in print at the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, 2127 Campus Drive and also online.

2. Your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and the Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGSA): For help with navigating departmental expectations and accessing university resources relevant to your program of study, these individuals are the primary source of information. DGS and DGSA contact information is available on the Graduate School website.

3. Advanced Students: Don’t neglect the wisdom of those who have gone before you. Some of your fellow graduate students have probably faced challenges similar to ones you are now encountering. Make some time on a regular basis to grab lunch and get their thoughts on what has worked and what hasn’t as they have tackled the challenges of coursework, dissertation proposals, balancing family with academic life, or entry into the job market.

4. Library Resources: If you have not taken full advantages of the resources within the Duke Library System, you are not getting the best return on your investment of time and energy in graduate education. Get to know appropriate subject librarians, and explore the library system’s services and facilities, such as The Link and the Center for Instructional Technology.