A Tip Worth Knowing: The Not-So-Secret Professional Development Video Archive

 March 9, 2017

You may already know that The Graduate School sponsors two career exploration series that alternate every other year: the Academic Job Search series and the Careers Beyond Academia series. That’s because our career outcomes data for Ph.D. alumni across disciplines tell us that, on a rolling ten-year basis, a little over half of our Ph.D. alumni work within academia and nearly half work outside it. This academic year, the series has focused on broad career options in the 2016-2017 Careers Beyond Academia series.

But what if you’re on the academic job market now and can’t wait for the upcoming 2017-18 Academic Job Search series to begin in the fall? What if you need answers NOW?!


 The Academic Interview

Luckily for all of us, the Office of Postdoctoral Services partners with The Graduate School and the Career Center to sponsor these events, and, with the speakers’ permission, they record many of the panels and discussions! Recently I sat down to peruse the resources on the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube page. I was amazed to find videorecordings of events that were hosted over a year ago. For me this means that as an advanced graduate student, I have access to panel discussions such as “The Academic Interview for Postdocs and Graduate Students in the Humanities” and “Negotiating the Academic Job Offer: Postdocs and Graduate Students in the Humanities.” There are similar events available for STEM folks, too. These videos are particularly useful because advanced-year students may not have attended such events earlier in their careers (for example, I was abroad for research when they were offered last year) and may need the valuable information that they provide before the next biannual offering.


Duke Postdoc Services Youtube Homepage

But videorecordings of professional development events are not just for advanced students. This semester, Dean Melissa Bostrom and I have received countless inquiries about events from students at all stages of their academic careers.  Sometimes students lament that the date/time of the workshop does not fit their schedule. Or, unfortunately, sometimes students have to cancel their registration because of illness or another conflict. While reasons for absences and cancellations vary, the inquiries share one question in common: Has the event been recorded? In many cases, the answer is “YES!” Videorecordings of events are posted about two weeks after the initial date and enable interested students to benefit from the advice shared.

Of course, it’s always better to attend events in person. Along with the conveniences of online viewing, there are also drawbacks. The foremost disadvantage is that you cannot directly engage with the speakers or panelists. Consequently, you cannot ask them your own questions or direct the conversation toward your particular needs. In addition, missing the events in person also means you miss a networking opportunity. Professional development events can be a great way to meet recent and distinguished alumni, successful industry experts, and fellow graduate students. It’s also a time when you can meet The Graduate School’s administrators like Dean Melissa Bostrom, Dean Alan Kendrick, and Dean Hugh Crumley, who work daily to connect graduate students to resources at Duke and in the Triangle area.


 STEM Academic Job Search

So, attend the events for which you RSVP! But, if you have a valid conflict—or if an event is not offered the semester you need it—know that there is a safety net of videorecordings at your disposal. This is just one of the array of online professional development resources offered through your Duke affiliation. (Tune in again to learn about the others in future posts!)


Missed an event? Check out these professional development playlists, courtesy of the Office of Postdoctoral Services YouTube channel:


Christina C. Davidson

Ph.D. candidate, History

Christina C. Davidson is a Ph.D. candidate in history and the 2016-2017 administrative intern for Graduate Student Affairs. Her research focuses on Protestantism in the Spanish Caribbean.