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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 opd@grad.umass.edu.

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

Grants and Fellowships

Pizza & Proposals
Tuesday, October 10th - 12:00-1:30pm 
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. You bring the proposal, we bring the pizza! Pre-registration is required; further instructions will be emailed upon registration.
 
Grant Series Part III: Soliciting Feedback & Revising
Monday, October 16th - 12:00-1:00pm OR 
Tuesday, October 17th - 5:00-6:00pm 
538 Goodell
Want to turn a good funding application into a great one? Solicit feedback on your writing and make time for revisions. Come learn techniques, and get a dose of confidence, to accomplish these critical tasks. This is the final offering in a three-part series, but previous attendance is not required to participate. A pizza lunch is provided Oct. 16th; light refreshments provided Oct. 17th. Pre-registration required.
 
Pizza & Proposals
Wednesday, October 18th - 12:00-1:30pm 
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. You bring the proposal, we bring the pizza! Pre-registration is required; further instructions will be emailed upon registration.
 
Pizza & Proposals
Monday, October 23rd - 5:30-7:00pm 
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. You bring the proposal, we bring the pizza! Pre-registration is required; further instructions will be emailed upon registration.
 
Ford Foundation Fellowships Peer Review Session
Thursday, November 2nd - 12:00-1:30pm 
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. Limited to those preparing applications for Ford Foundation Fellowships. You bring the proposal, we bring the pizza! Pre-registration is required; further instructions will be emailed upon registration.
 

Communication

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.
 
So You’re Ready to Apply to a Conference: Writing Successful Conference Proposals 
Thursday, October 12th - 10:00-11:15am
528 Goodell
Calling members of the humanities and social sciences: Do you have a paper or research that you’re ready to take to the next step, but not sure where to start? 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. Pre-registration required.
 
So How’s It Going? A Mid-Semester Reality Check-In
Thursday, October 19th - 3:30-4:45pm
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 for your writing so the rest of your semester is more productive. Pre-registration required.
 
Open Access & Copyright for Theses and Dissertations
Thursday, October 26th - 12:00-1:30pm
2601 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 thesis or dissertation. 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.
 
Urgent Care for Your Writing
Wednesday, November 1st - 9:00-10:30am 
528 Goodell
What do we do with a first draft that doesn’t feel strong enough to submit to an advisor? Come share it with other grad students! Bring a page of your writing to workshop with your peers in a low-pressure setting where you can reflect on your writing process, think about where you are in your ideas, and get concrete feedback on your writing. Pre-registration required.
 

Teaching

Facilitating Discussions about Diversity and Social Justice Issues: The Straight A’s Model 
Wednesday, October 11th - 11:15am-1:00pm 
803 Campus Center
Inclusive classrooms require that faculty can effectively facilitate discussions about issues related to diversity and social justice. Yet often educators feel uncertain and unprepared about how to constructively engage these issues. In this interactive workshop, Dr. Diane Goodman, consultant, speaker, author, and activist, will explain the “Straight A’s Model” for facilitating conversations on these topics. View the flyer for more information about this widely sponsored event. Lunch will be provided. Pre-registration required.
 
“I’m not good at this”: Helping Our Students Break a Cycle of Negativity
Wednesday, October 25th - 2:30-4:00pm 
528 Goodell 
“I’m not good at math.” “I’m just not a good writer.” We’ve all heard at least one of our students utter a similar self-deprecating phrase. These statements are frustrating to hear as they shut down the discussion, with no possibility for growth or improvement. So how do we help our students break out of these negative mindsets? This workshop will cover five ways we can help these students change their attitudes and motivate them to try. Pre-registration required.
 
Inside the American Classroom: Teaching as an Outsider
Thursday, November 2nd - 11:30am-1:00pm 
301 Goodell
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. Pre-registration required.
 

Career Preparation

Academic Job Documents Writing Mini-Retreat
Thursday, October 12th - 12:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
Submitting a faculty job application soon? Have your eye on an October 15 deadline? Come write in our quiet space with access to coffee, lunch, and snacks. We’ll start the session with some last-minute tailoring tips (and lunch) and then you will 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) 
Tuesday, October 17th - 1:00-2:30pm 
805 Campus Center
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. Lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
 
What Can I do with A PhD? Part II: Exploring Job Opportunities
Wednesday, October 18th - 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 workshop, participants will learn to interpret a job ad: how can you tell which jobs describe careers that you might want and how do you know which employers might be looking for you? This workshop series is focused on the humanities and social sciences, but those from all fields are welcome to participate! Pre-registration required.
 
Effective Interview Strategies for the Academic Job Search (SBS, HFA, EDU) 
Monday, October 23rd - 12:30-2:00pm 
805 Campus Center
Join Dr. Joya Misra (GPD and 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. Lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
 
Academic Job Documents Writing Mini-Retreat
Tuesday, October 24th - 12:00-3:00pm 
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, lunch, and snacks. We’ll start the session with some last-minute tailoring tips (and lunch) and then you will have the option to ask questions or receive feedback on your drafts throughout the afternoon. Pre-registration required.
 
Resume Basics for the Non-Academic Job
Wednesday, October 25th - 1:00-2:30pm 
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.
 
Academic Interview Practice 
Friday, October 27th - 12:30-3:00pm 
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. Lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.
 

Personal Development

New Grad Series: Contributing to Productive Meetings and Discussions
Tuesday, October 17th - 10:30-11:15am 
538 Goodell
Do you know how to get the most out of a meeting with your advisor, mentor or team? Learn how strategic preparation, facilitation and follow up can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of any meeting. Pre-registration required.
 
Emailing Your Professors: How to Do It Better
Thursday, October 19th - 12:00-12:45pm 
538 Goodell
Does it take you hours to draft an email to a faculty member? Do you write lengthy questions and explanations, only to not receive a reply for weeks? Come to this short workshop to learn five key ways to improve your email etiquette in order to get your emails read and responded to. Snacks provided; please feel free to bring your lunch. Pre-registration required.
 
New Grad Series: Balance in Graduate School
Tuesday, October 24th - 10:30-11:15am 
538 Goodell
It's easy to feel like we could be writing more, reading that extra article, or spending another hour in the lab. But how do we avoid burnout, stay productive throughout the semester, and still have a life? As we begin the second half of the semester, come learn some concrete strategies for finding that work/life balance that will keep you feeling productive and less guilty about not working yourself to the bone. This session is part of the New Grad Series. Pre-registration required.
 
How to Get the Most Out of Attending Conferences
Wednesday, November 1st - 4:00-5:00pm 
538 Goodell
So you finished your paper or poster presentation and you have 2 more days in an unfamiliar city, surrounded by people in your field. Now what? If going to conferences makes you nervous or feels like a waste of time, you can change that! Learn what to do before, during, and after a conference to make the most of your time and further your career in your discipline. Pre-registration required.