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Office of Professional Development Events

The Office of Professional Development (OPD) positions graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for success in their careers at UMass and beyond. Building upon the academic and technical expertise of the scholars we serve, OPD provides professional skills training to cultivate strengths in the areas of career preparation, communication, grants and fellowships, personal development, and teaching. Our extensive programming—created in collaboration with a far-reaching network of partners—prepares participants to thrive in academia, industry, government, and the non-profit sector.

Upcoming events are described below, but check out the full program for fall semester (organized by month and competency)! Check back often, as events are continually added and updated. To contact us please call 413-545-6001 or email

Postdocs are encouraged to take advantage of a special professional development grant to support career advancement. 

Grants and Fellowships

Developing Data Management Plans
Monday, December 17th - 2:30-3:30pm 
538 Goodell
Do you feel overwhelmed by your data? Do you have trouble locating your data, or the most current version of your data? Are you required to submit a Data Management Plan as part of a grant application? At this session Data Services Librarian Thea Atwood will share strategies for writing data management plans and best practices for organizing and using your data, with an eye toward long-term availability.  Pre-registration required.


Reading Day Drafting Clinic: Where the Page Is Only Blank Momentarily
Thursday, December 13th - 2:00-4:00pm 
538 Goodell
All writers agree: drafting is hard. By “drafting,” we mean that blank-page moment between research and initial draft, when most sentences are being composed for the first time. In this interactive workshop, we will practice four different methods for drafting academic projects (conference or seminar papers, articles or dissertation chapters), spending 20 minutes on each, for a total of 80 minutes of structured writing time. This workshop is for you if you have done some preliminary ground work for the project and would like to start writing (or begin writing a new section). You can think of it as a drafting boot camp, a place to gear up for final papers and winter break writing projects! Bring with you everything you need to draft. Coffee and snacks will be provided. Pre-registration required.
3MT Info Session
Wednesday, December 18th - 11:00am-12:00pm OR  
538 Goodell
On March 1st, UMass will host its annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Graduate students will test their communication skills and compete for up to $1,000 in the process. This 3MT Info Session will outline the competition rules, with finalists from previous competitions on hand to provide tips on how to prepare your presentation. Pre-registration required. 
Creating Writing Rituals for Winter Break
Tuesday, December 18th - 1:30-2:45pm
538 Goodell
Objects in motion tend to stay in motion; writers that write tend to write. When the rhythms of the semester change into their winter “break” tempos, what will keep you writing? In this workshop, after giving you time to consider your writing goals for December and January, we’ll discuss and develop two types of writing rituals: rituals to get you started and rituals to keep you going. Bring your calendars and planners. (We’ll have snacks and hot coffee, an important ritual for many writers!) Pre-registration required.


Getting Ready to be an Instructor: Developing a Course for Spring 2019
Friday, December 14th - 12:00-1:15pm 
538 Goodell
If you are teaching a class in Spring 2019, you might be planning to develop that course (and the syllabus) over winter break. Come to this session to get a jump-start on that work! This session will provide tools to help you develop course goals, learning outcomes, assignments, and course policies. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.

Career Preparation

Resume Basics for the Non-Academic Job
Wednesday, December 5th - 11:30am-1:00pm
538 Goodell
Planning an upcoming job or internship search? This session will talk about the differences between a CV and a resume, help you understand how employers screen resumes, and provide tips for making yours stand out. A pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
Working in the US: OPT/CPT for Graduate Students
Thursday, December 13th - 11:30-1:00pm
538 Goodell
Ken Reade, Director of International Student & Scholar Services in the International Programs Office (IPO), will present the guidelines, limitations and application strategies for working/interning in the US with F-1 or J-1 Visas. Bring your employment questions about post-graduation, internships, OPT and CPT. Pre-registration required. 
CV Clinic
Friday, December 14th - 2:00-3:30pm 
538 Goodell
Now, while all your recent achievements from fall are fresh in your mind, it’s time to update your CV! Whether starting a new CV or adding to an existing one, this interactive clinic is for you. After a brief presentation on CV standards and common mistakes, you will have the remainder of the time to work on your CV, ask questions and receive feedback on your draft. Pre-registration required.
Resume Basics for the Non-Academic Job
Wednesday, December 19th - 10:00-11:30am
528 Goodell
This session will talk about the differences between a CV and a resume, help you understand how employers screen resumes, and provide tips for making yours stand out. Pre-registration required.


Personal Development

Work/Life Balance in Academia
Wednesday, December 5th - 2:30-3:45pm 
538 Goodell
Trying to manage your work and your personal life (and at the same time maintain your health) can be exhausting! And when we do spend time at home, we feel guilty for not working… Join our discussion for ideas on how to better approach your “work,” so that you have more guilt-free time for “life”! Pre-registration required.
Processing Feedback: Moving Beyond Criticism
Thursday, December 6th - 2:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
While feedback is essential for personal and professional growth, it can also be hard to receive. This session will offer practical advice for processing constructive critique without letting the sting deter you. Pre-registration is required.