Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

Athabasca University

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:Faculty of Graduate Studies
Contact name:FGS Education
Name of program:ePROSkills:
Social media accounts related to program:
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?Krystal Zahara, Administrative Assistant, FGS Email:

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) Most sessions/presentations are held virtually / on-line using Adobe Connect. Currently there are the following sessions available: (1) Fri., Oct. 21, 2016, 2:00 pm MDT, Linda McCloud-Bondoc, APA Style, online with Adobe Connect (2) Wed., Nov. 9, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm MDT, Kam Jugdev, I?m Busy Working on My Dissertation?and You Want Me to Think about Project Management as Well? Online with Adobe Connect (3) Tues., Nov. 15, 2016, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm MDT, Paul Wishart, What do Grounded Theory and Stand-up comedy have in common? Online with Adobe connect. (4) January 11, Using educational technologies to improve teaching, Mohamed Ally (5) IT leadership, Ken Bainey (data and time to be confirmed) (6) Determining the nature of methodologies, Maiga Chang (time and data to be confirmed) More sessions are being scheduled to be offered in this academic year.
Are there sessions specifically for international students?No.
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?No.
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?Writing Skills, Research project management skills, and research methods, teaching skills, leadership skills, research methodology.
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.(1) I?m Busy Working on My Dissertation?and You Want Me to Think about Project Management as Well? (2) What do Grounded Theory and Stand-up comedy have in common? (3) Using educational technologies to improve teaching (4) IT leadership (5) Determining the nature of methodologies
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)Students, AU staff and some are open to students from Alberta institutions.
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?No
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?Not currently. We are currently working on further developing Professional Skills Development.
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)Professors, professional staff of the university, or experts from industry.
How are the sessions promoted?Through the FGS weekly announcement; allstaff announcements; FGS website, AU Graduate Student Association; Graduate Directors to advise their students; some communication sent to other Alberta Universities.
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)Through email to
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?There is usually no cost for attending. We have two in-person workshops for Data Analytics that charge a small fee to attend.

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?Approximately 20.
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?2
What are the registration capacities and participation rates? (per each session, total enrolment, breakdown in number of students/ postdocs/alumni, breakdown by faculty etc.)As most sessions are held virtually, there is no cap on enrollment. There is usually between 5-25 people at each session. The majority of the participants are AU students.
How is participation in sessions tracked? A registration list is kept and attendance monitored. Participation is tracked through the chat box in Adobe Connect. All FGS presentations are recorded and made available on the FGS website under past-presentations.
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?No

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?No.
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?No.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? Yes, with an industry member and a student member in the advisory committee for the program.
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?Not really. A survey was completed with our Graduate Students asking what kind of topics they want, when they preferred them to be held, etc. then FGS tries to find faculty members, experts to conduct a session.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?FGS some presentation just for AU students and staff. We are currently working with U of L, U of C and U of A to further expand our Professional Development initiatives.