Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

Queen's University

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:School of Graduate Studies
Contact name:Colette Steer
Name of program:Expanding Horizons
Social media accounts related to program: and (General SGS accounts
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?Colette Steer and Rebecca Huegler ( (Manager, Recruitment and Events and Coordinator, Communications and Post-Doctoral Training)

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) Most workshops are in person. Webinars are held mainly for recruiting efforts, but they also contain professional development information (writing a scholarship application). In addition SGS is managing the ÏGradifying? student blog:
Are there sessions specifically for international students?Yes, some focus on international students (or include an international student perspective): - Effective communication with your supervisor - Intercultural competence certificate - Fast track immigration advice for international graduate students - CVs and r_sum_s (in collaboration with the Queen?s International Centre and Career Services)
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?We are launching the ûPhD-Community InitiativeË which is under the umbrella of Expanding Horizons. More details here:
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?Six major themes: - Communication & Interpersonal Skills - Management & Leadership Skills - Academia & Beyond: Knowledge Transfer - Ethics, Society & Civic Responsibilities - Career Development - Setting Ideas in motion
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.See the Expanding Horizons website for a list of sessions/topics: A list of the most attended workshops: Tips on applying for NSERC and CIHR scholarships (56) Tips on applying for SSHRC scholarships (43) Look Better Online: Personal Branding, a 3-Step Approach (46)* Career Planning: The Versatile Graduate (46)* The Non-Academic Job Search for Graduate Students and Postdocs (65)* Winning CVs, Resumes, and Cover Letters (40)* What Employers Want & The Employable You: STEM/Health Sciences (46)* How to Write a Literature Review (83) *Asterisked workshops were offered during Career Week.
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows (occasionally, other staff and faculty may attend, too).
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?The professional development workshops are not mandatory. Some programs include some of the workshops into their own professional development programming and/or recommend certain workshops to their students.
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?We offer a Certificate in Professional Development and workshops are also listed on a student?s supplemental training record.
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)SGS develops the sessions in partnership with faculty and other units on campus (e.g. Student Academic Success Services, the International Centre, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Career Services, Student Wellness Services). Some sessions are delivered by external partners (e.g. Mitacs, PARTEQ)
How are the sessions promoted? Weekly newsletter - Dedicated website: - Facebook/twitter postings - Emails to departments - Graduate council meetings - Flyers and/or posters - Larger promotions for Career Week (e.g. special issue newsletter, paid social media postings)
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)Centralized registration system
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?No

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?60-75 workshops per year (number of workshops is under review for 2017/18 academic year)
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?One main staff member, supported by another full-time staff member (with post-doc portfolio), one Associate Dean, partial support through in-house IT staff, and casual student staff
What are the registration capacities and participation rates? (per each session, total enrolment, breakdown in number of students/ postdocs/alumni, breakdown by faculty etc.)There is no upper limit on registration numbers (except for Mitacs workshops). Registration rates vary from year to year. In general, we have 10-80 participants per session
How is participation in sessions tracked? Participants are asked to sign in, they are subsequently confirmed on the online registration system
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?Feedback survey after each workshop - General questions about participation in Expanding Horizons through our internal exit survey (after degree completion) - We don?t track employment after graduation formally

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?Some do, e.g. Law, Education, Business, and selected departments in the faculty of Arts & Science (e.g. English)
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?There is no formally established collaboration.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? Graduate and Post-Doctoral Career Week was established as annual event as response to changes in the labour market for graduates. The Expanding Horizons program is undergoing a yearly review. Studies, such as Inside and Outside the Academy: Valuing and Preparing PHDs for Careers (The Conference Board of Canada) and Ontario?s PhD Graduates from 2009: Where are they now? (HEQCO) are taken into consideration when the programming is developed.
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?We include networking events in our programming - Career Week Networking Reception (alumni and local employers are invited) - Workshops on networking, interviewing, and internships - The pilot of the PhD-Community Initiative facilitates outreach to local organizations and employers
Is there any additional information you would like to share?The cancellation of all but two days of Mitacs Step programming has created a gap in the Expanding Horizons offerings. The School of Graduate Studies is not in a position to replace these workshops, which are highly valued by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.