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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 be sure to check out the full program for the fall semester (all lists organized by month/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

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants Workshop
Wednesday, November 15th - 9:30am-12:00pm 
538 Goodell
NSF dissertation grants provide up to $20,000 to support doctoral research, but the application process can be daunting. This session will provide tips and tools for crafting a competitive application, including advice on navigating UMass’s internal submission process and how to tackle the required Data Management Plan. Co-sponsored by ISSR and the library’s Data Working Group. Light refreshments provided; pre-registration required.


Winter 2018 Dissertation-Writing Retreat (January 8-12) 
Application Deadline: November 12th 
Make progress on your dissertation this winter break! Open to graduate students from departments in all divisions who are at the dissertation-writing stage, this retreat offers extensive structured time to write, receive feedback, and develop effective writing strategies. Throughout the week-long retreat, graduate student writers will: Practice setting and achieving short- and medium-term goals for writing; Develop strategies for planning, drafting, and revising; Receive individual feedback and advice about their writing in progress from the retreat’s writing consultants; Have sustained writing time over the course of five days to develop effective rhythms for writing and make significant progress on a lengthy piece of writing. Click here for more details and for the link to the application form. Completed applications must be received no later than 11:59PM on Sunday, November 12, 2017.
Getting Good Feedback from Your Advisors
Monday, November 6th - 2:30-3:45pm
528 Goodell 
The ability to work through your own writing for organization, strength and clarity of ideas, and clear, concise writing is invaluable at any stage of the writing process. Whether you struggle with writing or love the writing process, come to this workshop to learn concrete strategies to work through your ideas, organize your writing, and fine-tune your prose. Pre-registration required.
Writing Clinic: Be More Efficient in Less Time
Thursday, November 9th - 10:00-11:15am
528 Goodell 
Does it feel like if you don’t have three hours to sit down and write, then there’s no point in even getting started? Does it take you a long time to gear up to put words on the page? Come to this workshop to learn how to make even thirty minutes productive and then PRACTICE these suggestions. Come with a piece of writing you are working on: after learning some concrete tips, you will have a half-hour to write. We’ll end with a short discussion of which tips worked for you and how you can turn these into better writing habits. Co-sponsored with the Writing Center. Pre-registration required.
Making Your Writing Stronger Yourself: Revising Your Writing and Self-Editing
Thursday, November 16th - 1:00-2:15pm
528 Goodell
Crafting your own academic voice is an ever-evolving practice that takes plenty of trial and error. However, you can become more confident in your tone and style with the help of some writing and revision strategies you can apply to all of your writing. Whether you feel like your writing is too wordy, too short and lacking detail, or you just have trouble with “academic” language, come to this workshop with a piece of writing to see how even small changes can make all the difference in how your ideas are read. Pre-registration required.
Developing Your Academic Voice and Style 
Tuesday, November 28th - 10:00-11:15am
528 Goodell
Crafting your own academic voice is an ever-evolving practice that takes plenty of trial and error. However, you can become more confident in your tone and style with the help of some writing and revision strategies you can apply to all of your writing. Whether you feel like your writing is too wordy, too short and lacking detail, or you just have trouble with “academic” language, come to this workshop with a piece of writing to see how even small changes can make all the difference in how your ideas are read. Pre-registration required.
Multilingual Writers Series, Part 1: Writing as Grad Students in the US Academy
Wednesday, November 29th - 12:00-1:30pm
538 Goodell
This workshop will address US graduate school expectations for writing: how to find them, how to tailor your writing across genres, and how to get the most out of writing in graduate school. Participants will be guided through activities to identify and write to genre expectations within a field and identify resources on and off-campus to help with writing. Co-sponsored by the Writing Center. Pre-registration required.


Inside the American Classroom: Teaching as an Outsider
Thursday, November 9th - 11:30am-1:00pm 
905-09 Campus Center
We talk a lot about inclusive teaching, but what can we do when we are the “outsider” in our own classroom? How can we find a teaching persona that feels both authentic to who we are and garners respect from our students? Join other international graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to explore what these questions mean for us as educators who sometimes struggle with “teaching who we are” as we find ourselves at times at the margins in our classrooms. Part of the International Scholars Forum co-sponsored by TEFD. Lunch will be provided. *Please note the new location (905-09 Campus Center) for this event!* Pre-registration required.
When Good Assignments Go Bad
Wednesday, November 15th - 12:30-1:45pm 
528 Goodell 
You finally get everyone’s final papers / journals / blog posts / etc. and start reading. The disbelief appears on your face as student after student seems to have missed the point of the assignment! How can you regroup this semester – and how can you avoid this problem next semester? This workshop will look at how we design and assign projects to our students and how we might better communicate with them. Lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
Creating Inclusive Learning Experiences
Thursday, November 16th - 11:30am-12:45pm
301 Goodell
Students bring a wide variety of prior experiences, ways of knowing, and making sense of the world into our classrooms. Join other faculty, postdocs, and graduate students for this interactive session featuring an introduction to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model as flexible frameworks for creating inclusive learning experiences for diverse student populations. We’ll spend time discussing how these frameworks can apply to your specific classes. Pre-registration required.

Career Preparation

CV Doctor: What Are You Doing Wrong?
Thursday, November 9th - 1:00-2:00pm 
538 Goodell
Do you need to clean up (and update) your CV, but are unsure where to start? CVs feel like they should be such straightforward documents, but there are so many options and unwritten rules! Come to this workshop to learn some of the common mistakes in academic CVs and learn to diagnose the problems in your own document! Following the session, there will be extra time (2-3pm) to begin editing your CV, ask specific questions, and get personalized feedback. Snacks will be provided; please feel free to bring your lunch. Pre-registration required
Career Conversations: Forging Ahead and Defining Success, Post-PhD 
Friday, November 10th - 3:00-4:00pm 
Location TBD 
In this discussion, Dr. Paul K. Williamson (a UMass alum) will reflect on his winding career path, the inspirations and opportunities behind his pivots, and how he has come to define and assess professional success. He will talk about how the skills and drivers associated with success in graduate school translate to life post-graduation. Dr. Williamson began his career as a board-certified internist and rheumatologist. After several years in medical practice and leadership positions, he spent more than a decade working for various J&J companies, where he led multiple clinical and product development teams. His current work focuses on pursuing the development of, and investment in, early stage technologies to satisfy unmet medical needs. This is an informal discussion, so bring your questions! Pre-registration required.
Immigration Hot Topics & Future Visa Strategies for Employment and Beyond
Tuesday, November 14th - 5:30-7:30pm 
174-176 Campus Center
Immigration attorneys from Iandoli Desai & Cronin P.C. Law Firm will join Ken Reade from the UMass International Programs Office to discuss a variety of immigration topics, including employment-based visas, strategies and permanent residency, and green cards. Open to all students and postdocs. Co-sponsored by the International Programs Office (IPO) and Student Affairs and Campus Life. Pre-registration required.
What Can I do with A PhD? Part III: Plan For Success 
Wednesday, November 15th - 2:30-4:00pm 
601 Herter Hall
What can you do with a PhD in the humanities or social sciences? This 3-part workshop series will help you explore your career options, learn more about employers that are excited about your scholar expertise, and create a plan to develop your resume/CV. In this final workshop, participants will use their own career interests to make a plan to further strengthen their resume/CV: Learn to say yes to the opportunities that will keep you on the right career path(s). This workshop series is focused on the humanities and social sciences, but those from all fields are welcome to participate! Pre-registration required.
Job Seeking Advice for International Students
Wednesday, November 15th - 5:30-7:00pm 
168 Campus Center
Join us for a discussion with Marcelo Barros, author of The International Advantage Get Noticed. Get Hired! Marcelo offers practical tips for international students and postdocs looking to secure employment in the US. Co-sponsored by the International Programs Office, Graduate School, Career Services and College of Engineering. Pre-registration required.
Resume Basics for the Non-Academic Job
Tuesday, November 21st - 10:00-11:30am 
538 Goodell
What are the differences between a CV and a Resume? What are the components of a Resume? Come get the basics involved in creating a resume for non-academic positions. Pre-registration required.

Personal Development

End of Semester Panic
Thursday, November 30th - 11:30-12:30pm 
528 Goodell
How is your semester going? Panicking about how little time there is left? There is still enough time to accomplish a many of your work goals, but you need to regroup. Use this workshop as a way to check-in: revisit your goals, evaluate what has worked (and what hasn’t), and update your work plans for the few remaining weeks of Fall Semester. Snacks provided. Pre-registration required.