Professional Development Grant Winners

 February 4, 2015

Word Cloud of 2015 Professional Development Grant Winners

Duke’s new Professional Development Grant, sponsored by The Graduate School, brought in more proposals than expected last fall. Designed to support discipline-specific professional development offerings that complement the programming and resources offered through The Graduate School, the grant invited proposals from departments, faculty, and students. The selection committee members, who included faculty, student, and Graduate School and partner unit representatives, were told to expect to read 15 proposals at the time they were invited to serve. The Duke community, though, exceeded expectations and submitted 28 proposals for innovative professional development initiatives to serve the needs of graduate students. The selection committee members got busy reading.

In the end, the committee recommended awarding funding to more proposals than initially planned, in an effort to recognize the strength and breadth of the submissions. The committee recommended nine departments and programs as winning proposals, many of which represented collaborations between students and faculty. The announcement generated enough excitement on campus to warrant a story in the Duke Chronicle.

How did the committee decide? They found that the best proposals demonstrated the following qualities:

  • The proposals provided support for graduate students pursuing a broad range of career paths, including those beyond the professoriate.
  • The proposals demonstrated a well-defined need not currently met through other resources within the department, the program, The Graduate School, or the university.
  • Student-driven proposals showed strong faculty involvement.

We are already looking forward to the next funding cycle, for the 2015-16 academic year. This year’s submissions have set a high bar, and we know that the campus will rise to meet the challenge.


Melissa Bostrom, Ph.D.
Melissa Bostrom, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development

Melissa ensures that all Graduate School students can identify and develop transferable skills to prepare them for the full range of career opportunities open to master's- and Ph.D.-prepared professionals. She is Managing Editor of the blog.