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Professional Development Grant

The Graduate School acknowledges that professional development needs across disciplines may vary and recognizes the need for discipline-specific professional development programming. For this reason, The Graduate School offers the Professional Development Grant to fund department/program and student efforts to offer professional development programming. This includes activities that support the development of transferable skills relevant to a range of careers, not limited to the traditional tenure-track path. Programming that is only relevant to an academic faculty career must be balanced with parallel programming for students pursuing broad career options.

Departments/programs and students may request up to $2,000 from the grant to fund their efforts to provide professional development programming and resources during the 2019 calendar year (January-December). Proposals are solicited once a year in the fall, with proposals due in mid-October. The deadline for proposals for the 2019 funding year is Monday, October 15, 2018, at 5 p.m.

what kinds of topics could be funded?

  • Career decision-making (e.g., academe vs. industry)
  • Job search strategies
  • Negotiation skills
  • Alumni networking events
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Work-life balance
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Conflict management and communication skills
  • Mentorship and advising skills
  • Presentation/communication skills
  • Faculty career topics, such as the academic job search, applying for positions at teaching institutions, finding a postdoctoral position, first year on the job, the tenure process, job searching in a difficult economy, etc. Note: These must be balanced with parallel resources for students pursuing broad career paths.
  • Career paths outside academia (careers outside academia for PhDs, invited speakers from industry, alumni events, CV to résumé workshops, etc.)

who can apply?

  • Faculty or administrators of any academic program that falls within the purview of The Graduate School
  • Ph.D. and research master’s students

To encourage dialogue about professional development among multiple members of departments and programs, preference will be given to proposals that include many perspectives in the planning and implementation—that is, faculty-led proposals that include student members in their organizing committees and student-led proposals that include faculty members.

Since this award is focused on departments and programs, GPSC-recognized student groups are not eligible for this award.

what is the Deadline?

The deadline for submission is October 15, 2018 by 5 p.m. Proposals must be submitted via Qualtrics survey and must follow the Proposal Guidelines (PDF). Award decisions will be communicated in December.

How can I prepare a successful proposal?

You can find strategies for a successful proposal in this blog post from the Grant director.

what are some examples of past winning proposals?

For information on past awards, please see our list of past grant recipients and this story in the Duke Chronicle, as well as blog posts by students who participated in funded activities.

What must be included in the year-end report?

The Graduate School requires a year-end report on activities funded by this award; you can find a template for the content of the report here. Reports for the 2018 funding year are due on January 31, 2019; reports for the 2019 funding year will be due on January 31, 2020.

Note: This grant program is based on the model developed by The Graduate School at Northwestern University. We make grateful acknowledgement to Kate Veraldi, director of student services, for her advice in adapting their model.

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Past Recipients