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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 semester program (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 special professional development opportunities to support your career advancement. 

Grants and Fellowships

Getting Ready for Fall Fellowships
Tuesday, April 18th - 2:00-3:00pm 
538 Goodell
Many fall funding deadlines are less than six months away—are you ready? This session will introduce tools to help you search for funding, outline what makes an application competitive, and strategize how to use the summer to ramp up for the fall funding season. Pre-registration is required.


Summer 2017 Dissertation-Writing Retreats
Application Deadline April 17, 2017
Make progress on your dissertation this summer! These retreats are designed for graduate students from all disciplines at the dissertation-writing stage. Accepted applicants will have sustained time to write, gain practice setting writing goals, and develop strategies for planning, drafting, and revising. Session 1: June 5th-9th, 9:00 am-4:00 pm. Session 2: August 7th-11th, 9:00 am-4:00 pm. Co-sponsored with the Writing Center. Click here for more information. Complete this form to apply.
Getting the Most Out of Your Coursework: Turning Your Seminar Paper into a Conference Presentation
Tuesday, April 4th - 11:00am-12:00pm OR
Friday, April 7th - 4:00-5:00pm
538 Goodell
You wrote a pretty good research paper for your class. Now what? Consider converting that paper into a conference presentation or poster. This workshop offers concrete strategies to begin revising your seminar paper for a conference-style presentation while considering how you can craft a successful proposal out of what you already have written during the semester. Co-sponsored by the UMass Writing Center. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is required.
How Do I Sound More Scholarly? Tone, Language, and Academic Style in Your Writing
Thursday, April 13th - 3:00-4:00pm
528 Goodell
Scholarly writing has its own unique conventions and rhetoric that takes plenty of trial and error to master. You can, however, become more confident in your tone and style with the help of some writing and revision strategies. Bring a sample of your own writing to this workshop to try revision tricks related to formality and word choice, objectivity, precision, and clarity. Pre-registration is required.
Crafting Titles for Your Writing
Wednesday, April 19th - 11:00am-12:30pm
528 Goodell
Titles are often an afterthought, but they can make or break a project: your title is the most visible part of your research, appearing on CVs and in electronic databases. This workshop will provide concrete strategies for writing clear, engaging, and impactful titles for seminar papers, conference presentations and posters, dissertations, and many other pieces of writing. Participants will have the opportunity to workshop their own titles in lightning round revision sessions. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is required.


Teaching Portfolios and Statements: An Overview
Friday, April 7th - 1:30-2:30pm
528 Goodell 
This workshop will explain how to develop a teaching portfolio that demonstrates your effectiveness as an instructor. Topics will include the purpose, content, and format of the teaching portfolio and development of a teaching statement. Pre-registration is required.
Better Science, Better Learning Through Inclusive Teaching
Wednesday, April 12th - 12:15-1:30pm
174-76 Campus Center
Achieving inclusive excellence is a critical but challenging goal throughout higher education. Smith College Psychology Professor and Faculty Director of the Sciences, Dr. Patricia Marten DiBartolo (2008 recipient of Smith’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching), will discuss the strategies and principles that can help to propel our classrooms toward better learning for all students. She will also suggest ways of getting beyond common sticking points (e.g., the complexities of delivering negative feedback across the racial divide) that can unintentionally derail even well-intentioned efforts to improve equity and inclusion. Part of TEFD’s Teaching & Diversity Professional Development Series; open to faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration is required.
Lessons Learned as International Instructors (Open Discussion Group)
Thursday, April 13th - 12:15-1:45pm
301 Goodell
As the semester winds down, it's time to reflect on our teaching experiences. What did we learn this year as instructors and how can we carry these lessons forward next year? Come for pizza lunch and great conversation with other international faculty, postdocs, and graduate students, as well as anyone teaching international students. Co-sponsored by TEFD. Pre-registration is required.
Teaching Statements: An Interactive Workshop 
Friday, April 28th - 1:30-3:00pm
528 Goodell 
A teaching statement is a critical document for graduate students who anticipate a career in teaching, whether at the college level or elsewhere. This interactive workshop will give you the opportunity to receive feedback on a draft of your teaching statement. In addition to sharing your own work, we will review examples of teaching statements as a group to identify strengths and best practices. Pre-registration is required.
Evidenced-Based Teaching at Umass: A CIRTL Practitioner Symposium
Monday, May 1st - 4:00-6:00pm
Join us as presenters from a range of disciplines share their findings from their own evidenced-based teaching projects. If you are interested in learning more about active learning, evidence-based classroom activities, classroom community building, or completing an evidence-based teaching project of your own, this event is not to be missed! Following the presentations there will be celebratory food and beverages, and time for mingling and asking questions. Sponsored by CIRTL. Pre-registration is required.
Crafting a Syllabus for Fall 2017
Tuesday, May 9th - 11:00am-1:00pm
528 Goodell 
Your syllabus can be a powerful tool for communicating your passions and intentions 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. Pizza lunch will be served. Pre-registration is required.

Career Preparation

Life After UMass: Career and Immigration Strategies for UMass International Students & Scholars
Monday, April 10th - 5:00-7:00pm
165-169 Campus Center
International graduate students and postdocs are invited to a presentation that will cover future, long-term US immigration strategies by Attorney Dan Berger, a partner at the law firm, Curran and Berger, LLP Immigration LawPossible topics include: OPT, Immigration Reform, green cards, permanent residency and DACA. Sponsored by the International Programs Office. No registration is required.
Job Searching Strategies
Tuesday, April 11th - 11:30am-1:00pm
538 Goodell
Are you nearing the end of graduate school and are trying to figure out what to do next? This session will go over what a job search strategy for a non-faculty position looks like and how to approach the next steps in your career. Pre-registration is required. 
Resume and Cover Letter Basics for the Non-Academic Job
Tuesday, April 18th - 11:30am-1:00pm
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 is required.
Interviewing for the Non-Academic Job
Tuesday, April 25th - 11:30am-1:00pm
538 Goodell
Interviewing for jobs can be extremely stressful. Come hear tips and suggestions on how to make this processes run smoother. Pre-registration is required.
Communicating the Value of a Graduate Degree to Employers 
Thursday, April 27th - 5:00-6:00pm
528 Goodell 
You know what it takes to earn a graduate degree, but how do you translate this for the job search? This session will help you identify and articulate the graduate skills that employers value, such as critical thinking, problem solving, time management, project management, communication, and team building. This interactive workshop will help you start itemizing your experiences; bring your computer and begin drafting or revising your resume. Pre-registration is required.
5 Things You Must Do Before Going on the Academic Job Market in Fall 2017
Friday, May 5th - 12:00-1:30pm
538 Goodell 
There are less than 4 months until the academic job market cycle begins. It is time to start preparing now. Come learn the 5 things that you must do this summer to prepare for an ultra-competitive job market. Pizza lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is required.
Future Faculty Workshop for Women in STEM Fields 
Thursday, August 10th - 8:30am-5:00pm
Northeastern University (Raytheon Amphitheater, Egan Research Center)
Female graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in STEM fields are invited to apply for a day-long conference that will cover such topics as: Finding your institutional fit; Making your CV stand out; Preparing for Interviews; Negotiating a job offer; Developing a quick-start plan; and Developing time management skills. View the event flyer. The registration deadline is May 26th and accepted participants will be notified by June 5th. Accepted students will pay a fee of $25 by July 1st to confirm their participation (UMass Amherst will reimburse UMass Amherst attendees). This workshop is co-hosted by Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Space is limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged.

Personal Development

Balance in Graduate School 
Friday, March 31st - 2:00-3:30pm
538 Goodell
Establishing balance in graduate school is challenging. Join us for tips on ways that you can achieve balance in your life. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is required.
Getting Unfrozen
Monday, April 10th - 2:00-4:00pm
917 Campus Center 
As winter melts into spring, are you still feeling frozen in place and frustrated by academia? Come to this workshop to reflect on the goals that originally brought you to grad school, refocus on the important parts of your career, and learn to “let it go.” Pre-registration is required.
Time Management for Summer Productivity
Wednesday, May 3rd - 1:00-2:30pm 
538 Goodell 
Summer offers stretches of uninterrupted writing time, but too often such long periods of unstructured time can leave us feeling overwhelmed, leading to work paralysis and idleness. Prevent summer procrastination by making a plan. This workshop explores strategies for setting and prioritizing goals in order to create a better work-life balance that can keep you productive and focused. Light refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is required.