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Professional Development Series

Events in the Professional Development Series can help students evaluate and prepare for the range of career options open to master's- and PhD-prepared professionals. This series is designed to broaden graduate students’ career perspectives and develop competencies in communication, self-awareness, professional adaptability, leadership, and professionalism.

Programming is offered on a two-year cycle and change each semester; over the course of two years, the series includes opportunities to learn about career paths in each of the five major career sectors available to alumni of The Graduate School: academia, business, entrepreneurship, government, and nonprofit.

Spring 2020 Events

Academic Job search Series

Graduate students and postdocs interested in exploring career options in academia can participate in the Academic Job Search Series throughout the 2019-20 academic year. The series addresses tenure-track faculty positions during the fall semester and broad career options in academia during the spring semester. You can find topics relevant to all students as well as specialized panels for two broad disciplinary areas: the humanities and social sciences, and sciences and engineering. This series is offered every two years and is co-sponsored with the Duke Career Center and the Office of Postdoctoral Services.

For a complete list of events, visit the Academic Job Search Series website.

Core Competencies

An Introduction to Your Professional Development at Duke: A Workshop for Ph.D. Students
Monday, January 13, 2020, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Whether you’re a new PhD student or about to finish your program, this workshop will help you familiarize yourself with the career and professional development resources, programs, and opportunities available at Duke and beyond, including the new Duke OPTIONS tool. More information

An Introduction to Your Professional Development at Duke: A Workshop for Master’s Students
Thursday, January 16, 2020, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Whether you’re a new master's student or about to finish your program, this workshop will help you familiarize yourself with the career and professional development resources, programs, and opportunities available at Duke and beyond. More information

Handling Difficult Conversations
Thursday, January 23, 2020. 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Difficult conversations are a part of our professional careers, so to be successful in them we must learn, practice and hone the skills necessary for this type of work.  As with many aspects of life, the more you practice the more confident you will be in handling difficult conversations.  In this workshop participants will learn how to actively bring their concerns to the table with the goal of working toward the best win-win scenario for everyone. More information

Making Genuine Connections: Using Improv to Effectively Network
Friday, January 24, 2020, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Does networking feel awkward? Do you hate small talk? Do you feel like networking is inauthentic? If so, this workshop is for you. Learn how to find your own networking voice to connect with others in an authentic way and develop strategies to overcome the doubts that you have about networking. Try out improv comedy activities in a fun and supportive environment to warm up and connect with others and then apply those simulations to tangible takeaways to help you connect with others in various networking settings. No prior acting experience needed. More information

Identifying Your Mentoring Style
Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

A mentor is someone who recognizes the potential in another person and helps them to develop that potential. Most of us can recognize potential when we see it. But the second part of the equation – helping someone to develop their potential – is where we struggle. If you are a mentor or expect to mentor others in the future, come learn about a powerful mentoring tool: the CliftonStrengths assessment. The CliftonStrengths assessment helps you discover what you naturally do best, and helps you to understand and work more productively with others. More information

Mentoring Diverse Groups: How to Bring Out the Best in All
Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

This workshop is for anyone in a mentoring role! It will focus on skills and topics such as active listening, providing constructive feedback, and maximizing equity and inclusion. More information

Expressing Yourself: Improving Communication by Understanding Preferences
Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Have you ever wondered why a colleague always wants an agenda to prepare for a meeting or needs to know the big picture in order to work on the small details of a project? Using a free online assessment to explore your Myers-Briggs personality preferences, we’ll focus on how you can leverage a better understanding of others’ preferences to improve your communication with your research colleagues. More information

The Elevator Pitch, or Making a Successful Introduction
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm

The elevator pitch can serve as your introduction in networking opportunities. How can you make it as effective as possible? In this workshop, communication expert Joy Javits, President of In the Public Eye, will help you draft, edit, and practice your elevator pitch. You'll receive feedback on how to sharpen your pitch and establish your professional image in this limited-enrollment workshop. More information



Past Events


Melissa Bostrom, PhD
Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development
Duke University Graduate School