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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

Programs will resume in the new year. Please watch this space for details.


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.
Things I Wish I Knew at the Beginning of the Semester: Making the Writing Process Easier
Thursday, December 7th - 11:00am-12:00pm
528 Goodell 
Hindsight often leaves us feeling like we wasted a lot of time and could have been better students, teachers, or academics. Take this opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, what went right, and how you can make those successes more regular and repeatable moving forward. Pre-registration required.
Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation? ScholarWorks, Copyright, and Your Options
Tuesday, December 12th - 11:00am-1:00pm OR 
Thursday, December 14th - 1:00-3:00pm
538 Goodell
Are you submitting your thesis or dissertation this semester? Do you have any last-minute questions about how to submit to ScholarWorks? What is open access? Should you request an embargo? Erin Jerome, the Open Access and Institutional Repository Librarian, will host “office hours” to answer any of your questions about the thesis or dissertation submission process. Drop by anytime during the times listed above! Pre-registration required.
Setting Up a Writing Plan for Winter Break
Wednesday, December 13th - 3:00-4:30pm
538 Goodell
The Winter Break offers stretches of uninterrupted writing time, but too often our writing goals remain unmet at the start of Spring Semester. Prevent procrastination by making a plan! This workshop explores strategies (suitable all year round) for setting and prioritizing goals in order to make time for writing without feeling guilty about taking some time for yourself over the break. Pre-registration required.


Inside the American Classroom: End of Semester Grading
Tuesday, December 5th - 1:00-2:30pm 
301 Goodell
Is your end-of-semester becoming overwhelmed with grading? Are you already wading through student complaints and questions? Join us for the last International Scholars Forum of the semester to discuss the peculiarities of the American grading system and share strategies for surviving the end of the semester! All international faculty, postdocs, and grad students are welcome. Co-sponsored by TEFD. Snacks will be provided. Pre-registration required.
Syllabus Design Workshop
Thursday, December 14th - 12:00-2:30pm
528 Goodell 
Your syllabus can be a powerful tool for communicating your passions and encouraging an active, meaningful learning experience for students. This session will provide tools to help you develop course goals, learning outcomes, assignments, statements of responsibilities and other course policies. Throughout the session, you will work on constructing your own syllabus for a class that you are independently teaching (or put together a sample syllabus for a class you would like to teach). Lunch will be served. Pre-registration required.

Career Preparation

Industry Site Visit: GE Healthcare
Thursday, December 14th - 8:00am-5:00pm 
GE Healthcare – Marlborough, MA
Graduate students and postdocs will have an opportunity to learn about GE’s various capabilities and innovation, participate in a facility tour, hear from scientists who have transitioned into a variety of commercial roles (scientific support, field application scientist, marketing, sales) and network with several professionals in the field. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.
Working in the US: OPT/CPT for Graduate Students
Wednesday, December 20th - 12:00-1:30pm 
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.

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 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.