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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

Ford Foundation Fellowships Community Writing Days
Thursday, October 25th - 9:00am-1:00pm 
Tuesday, November 20th - 9:00am-1:00pm
524 Goodell
Writing your Ford Fellowship application is hard enough—don’t go it alone! Come to any portion of our Ford Foundation Fellowships Community Writing Days to write in community, with coffee, pastries, and a pizza lunch provided to fuel your efforts. Sign-ups for 30 minute consultations to review your application draft will be available each day on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-registration required. 
Grant and Fellowship Peer Review Session
Friday, October 26th - 9:30-11:00am 
538 Goodell
Soliciting feedback on a draft of your funding proposal is critical but not always easy. Our peer review session will provide a low-stakes opportunity to receive high-impact feedback. In addition, evaluating a peer’s application will provide new perspective on your application and help strengthen your own writing. Pre-registration required; further instructions will be emailed upon registration.




Winter 2019 Dissertation Writing Retreat (January 14-18)
Application Deadline: November 12th
Make progress on your dissertation this winter break! Open to graduate students who are at the dissertation writing stage, this retreat offers extensive structured time to write and develop effective writing strategies. Throughout the week-long retreat, graduate student writers will practice setting and achieving short- and medium-term writing goals; develop strategies for planning, drafting, and revising; and 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 Monday, November 12, 2018.
So How’s It Going? A Mid-Semester Reality Check-In
Thursday, October 18th - 11:15am-12:30pm
528 Goodell
If your semester hasn’t gone according to plan, there’s still time to right the ship! Come share what has gone right, what has gone wrong, and learn concrete strategies to develop a plan so the rest of your semester is more productive. Please feel free to bring your lunch; snacks will be provided. Pre-registration required.
Publishing in the Humanities
Monday, October 22nd - 4:00-5:00pm
301 Herter Hall
Do you want to turn your dissertation into a book someday? Learn more with Ray Ryan, the Senior Commissioning Editor of English and American Literature at Cambridge University Press. His talk will cover crucial topics (such as turning a PhD dissertation into a book-length study and the contemporary publishing industry) that will be especially helpful for you as you plan your academic career. Pre-registration required. 
So You’re Ready to Apply to a Conference: Writing Successful Conference Proposals (for the Humanities/Social Sciences)
Tuesday, October 23th - 3:15-4:30pm
538 Goodell
Do you have research or a paper that you’re ready to take to the next step, but are not sure where to start? Are you going to a specific conference, and would like to get started on your proposal? Come to this workshop to think about what conference will work best for you, and learn concrete writing strategies that will set your proposal apart and will get conference chairs excited about your work. Snacks will be provided. Pre-registration required.
Open Access, Data Sharing, & Copyright for Theses and Dissertations
Thursday, October 25th - 12:00-1:30pm
1920 Du Bois Library
What is the benefit for choosing open access for your dissertation or thesis? How can your copyright choices help or hurt your scholarship? In this workshop, librarian Erin Jerome will present an overview of open access, copyright, and fair use as it relates to your research, and librarian Thea Atwood will discuss your choices in publishing and sharing your data. We will also allow for plenty of time to discuss your thoughts and questions about these issues. Co-sponsored by the UMass Libraries. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.


Searching for Our Authentic Teaching Persona (International Scholars Forum )
Thursday, October 18th - 10:00-11:15am  
301 Goodell
How can we preserve our joy and love of teaching? How can we grow as teachers? How can we find the courage to teach with integrity and authenticity? Join our discussion to explore what these questions mean for us as educators who sometimes struggle with teaching authentically as we find ourselves positioned at the margins of our own classrooms. Join us to build community with other international faculty, postdocs, and grad students! Co-sponsored by TEFD. Pre-registration required. 
How to Get Feedback on Your Teaching
Thursday, October 25th - 1:00-2:15pm
538 Goodell
Do you want to improve your teaching or find out if a new approach is working? Would you like to document your teaching for a portfolio? You need feedback! In this workshop, you will learn ways to get feedback on your teaching from multiple sources that you can implement this semester. Pre-registration required.
Teaching at Smaller Institutions
Friday, October 26th - 2:00-3:30pm
S340 Life Science Laboratories
Do you picture yourself as a professor at a smaller institution where teaching is emphasized but you can still engage in research?  Hear from a panel of STEM faculty who will describe their daily lives, how they balance research and teaching demands, how they engage students in the classroom and in research, and what search committees will be looking for in your application materials and during your interview. Co-sponsored by CIRTL. Pre-registration required. 

Career Preparation

Career Conversations: Dr. Chris Davis, NCAR
Monday, October 22nd - 2:30-3:30pm
222 Morrill Science Center II
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work for a Federally Funded Research and Development Center? Did you even know that such opportunities exist? In this discussion, Dr. Chris Davis, a UMass Physics alum, will talk about the exciting research that physicists, astronomists, geoscientists, mathematicians, environmental scientists/engineers (and more!) are conducting at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). He’ll offer insights about his own career path and provide information about fellowship and postdoc opportunities. Pre-registration required.
Academic Interview Practice
Wednesday, October 24th - 12:00-2:00pm 
538 Goodell
Are you hoping to interview for a faculty job this year? Do you already have a skype or conference interview scheduled? Come practice your interviewing skills in this interactive workshop and discuss strategies for successful skype and conference interviews. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
Interview Strategies for Non-Academic Jobs
Wednesday, October 24th - 2:30-4:00pm 
538 Goodell
Many people find interviewing stressful – but it doesn’t have to be!  This session will provide an overview of the interview process and offer preparation tips to help boost your confidence. Pre-registration is required.
Effective Interview Strategies for the Academic Job Search (SBS, HFA, EDU)
Friday, October 26th - 12:30-2:00pm 
903 Campus Center
Join Dr. Joya Misra (Professor of Sociology) for a discussion about what to expect, how to prepare, who to impress, things to avoid, and how candidates are often judged in an academic interview. She will discuss the logistics of a campus interview, describe the “hidden” interviews, provide tips for the job talk, and offer advice about pre-trip preparation to maximize chances for success. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
Academic Job Documents Writing Party
Monday, October 29th - 1:00-4:00pm 
538 Goodell
Submitting a faculty job application soon? Have your eye on a November 1 deadline? Come write in our quiet space with access to coffee and snacks. Drop-in when you can! You will also have the option to ask questions or receive feedback on your drafts throughout the afternoon. Pre-registration required.
Effective Interview Strategies for the Academic Job Search (STEM)
Rescheduled: Wednesday, November 7th - 12:00-1:30pm  
Join Dr. John Lopes (CNS Assoc. Dean) for a discussion about what to expect, how to prepare, who to impress, things to avoid, and how candidates are often judged in an academic interview. He will discuss the logistics of a campus interview, describe the “hidden” interviews, provide tips for the job talk, and offer advice about pre-trip preparation to maximize chances for success. Pizza lunch will be served. PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE. Pre-registration required. 


Personal Development

How to Cope When You Feel Burned Outt
Monday, October 22nd - 1:15-2:15pm 
538 Goodell
Have you been feeling depressed, anxious or detached? Is a lack of motivation or ambivalence to your work affecting your progress? Perhaps you are just feeling burned out? This workshop will explore strategies for protecting yourself from stress or harnessing stress to meet your goals. Pre-registration required.
Getting Over Your Fear of Public Speaking
Tuesday, October 30th - 10:00-11:00am 
538 Goodell
Are you in a state of anxiety over a public talk coming up? Does saying more than your name and affiliation make you uncomfortable? Don’t let your phobia of public speaking interfere with your professional success. This session offers advice and techniques to prepare for your next public speaking event.  Pre-registration required.