Personal Development

Graduate school and postdoctoral training are both rewarding and challenging, and everyone needs support to make their time productive and positive. OPD offers programs to support resiliency, increase productivity, and strengthen interpersonal skills in a supportive, peer-based environment. Programs help you develop self-awareness, learn new strategies (time management, negotiation), engage others (mentors, networks), and overcome challenges (imposter syndrome, perfectionism, conflict resolution).

Caroline Ladlow

I justified attending the workshops because I knew that going to a specific session was more efficient than me trying to figure it out on my own. I love learning by talking to people and having a resource there to help me tackle these big scary processes has been really comforting, efficient and beneficial. It’s always nice to know that you’re part of a community.

Caroline Ladlow (PhD student, Geosciences)

Upcoming Events


The Semester Strategic Plan

Jan 26, 2021 | 5:30pm - 7:00pm | Online with OPD!

Getting your semester off to a strong start requires knowing where you want to go and how you plan on getting there. This interactive clinic will provide strategies to plan your research/writing work and give you time to make those plans. Gather your planners, calendars, syllabi, schedules of family members, email—anything you need to make a map of the semester. 


The Art of Introducing Yourself

Jan 27, 2021 | 9:00am - 10:15am | Online with OPD!

Whether hoping to meet people in your department, impress faculty, or survive a networking event, many of us dread the process of introducing ourselves. But the first step in building successful relationships is making yourself visible. This workshop offers two parts: Part 1 (9:00-10:00am) will demystify the process to help you introduce yourself with confidence. Part 2 (10:00-10:15am) will provide an opportunity to practice with peers and get feedback. Plan to come for part 1 and we hope you can stay for part 2! 


Setting SMART Goals

Feb 11, 2021 | 1:00pm - 2:15pm | Online with OPD!

Setting the right goals can make life easier and you more productive! Learn how to apply the SMART goal framework to design realistic goals that are clearly defined and easier to complete.


Adopting a Growth Mindset

Feb 12, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm | Online with OPD!

Do you take failure hard? We all do, but the most successful scholars view failure as an opportunity. Learn how to grow from setbacks by adopting a growth mindset. While a fixed mindset tells us that we cannot improve, a growth mindset makes failure easier to bear and sets us up for success. 


Additional Resources

  • The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for faculty members, post doctoral students, and graduate students. UMass is an institutional member so all affiliated graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff can create a free account.


Contact us for more information on OPD’s Personal Development workshops and assistance.

OPD workshop participants in discussion