Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

University of Alberta

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Contact name:Renee Polziehn
Contact, 780-492-0978
Name of program:
Social media accounts related to program:
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?FGSR _ Deanna Davis,

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) We host about 100 teaching sessions a year, including 2 weeks of sessions at the start of each term, a teaching circle, and weekly round table/workshops. We also host two PD weeks in the summer with about 18 sessions each, are subscribers to the online, and host occasional one off events throughout the year. We also are hosting a conference this year as part of a Campus Alberta Invest in Your Future Graduate Student Symposium. Our PD newsletter advertises about 500 PD related activities held on campus over the year hosted by numerous on and off campus providers such as the Career Centre, MITACS, and MentorUp
Are there sessions specifically for international students?Yes, we are in the process of developing an online course to supplement the two available on MyGradSkills. We offer teaching sessions to international students and have held 3 sessions by Lionel Laroche.
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?There are a variety of internship and mentorship opportunities available to students. The Graduate Student Internship Program has been in place for less than a year and has placed more than 140 interns. In coordination with FGSR, the Career Centre hosts and Graduate Mentoring Program and Job Shadow weeks.
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?Creativity -Communication -Confidence -Scholarship -Ethical Responsibility -Critical Thinking -Collaboration
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.Sessions that have the highest demand were either related to ûHow to get a jobË or related to academic milestones such as ûPreparing for your Candidacy examË or ûPreparing for your DefenseË.
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)Anyone from the campus community is welcome, as well as visiting students and staff. Alumni are also welcome.
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?All graduate students from 2016 onward are required to complete 8 hours of PD and an IDP (Individual Development Plan) and all graduate students from 2007 onward are required to complete 8 hours of Ethics and Integrity training. All incoming students are also recommended to go through a student-supervisor checklist.
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?FGSR currently provides a certificate of participation for our Graduate Teaching and Learning (GTL) course, a letter for completion of Level 1 and a notation on the transcript for completion of Level 2. We are seeking notation on the transcript for our proposed Levels 3 and 4. Students do not get formal recognition currently for their PD completion.
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)The list of sessions offered to students is developed and delivered by departments, FGSR, Career Centre, Human Resources, WISEST, Research Services Office, University Libraries, MITACS, Alumni Affairs, Office of the Ombuds, Centre for Teaching and Learning, Student Success Centre, Center for Writers, and many other units.
How are the sessions promoted?Sessions are promoted through various electronic newsletters to graduate students and their departments.
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)Registration is through each hosting organization.
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?There are usually no fees or minimal fees for registrants.

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?About 500 across campus.
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?Within the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research there are 3.
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 were about 600 students who participated in the May PD week, another 600 who participated in the August PD Week, 371 sessions of, another 400 through Mitacs workshops and those offered by FGSR, and more than 3000 in the Graduate Teaching Program. Postdocs make up less than 3% of the participation in our programming and alumni/academics make up less than 1%. We can break down by faculty, however this information is not currently available.
How is participation in sessions tracked? Participation is generally tracked by program, degree, and name.
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?Not for the sessions. The internship programs have received feedback that the employers would take more interns and a few have received offers of employment.

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?Rehabilitation Medicine, Nursing, Business, English and Film Studies, Chemistry, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?With the introduction of the PD and IDP requirement, most faculties and departments have had FGSR come to their units to offer sessions, sometimes as part of their orientations, others as part of their courses, and again as stand alone offerings.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? Yes, particularly training sessions for the IDP. We have also invited the Minister of Labour and a provincial Labour Economist to share their insights with graduate students, supervisors, and postdocs at two events.
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?We have an advisory board as well as work closely with employers in the internship program.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?NA