Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

University of Lethbridge

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:School of Graduate Studies
Contact name:Stacey Leavitt, Experiential Learning Coordinator, School of Graduate Studies Dr. Helen Kelly, Associate Dean, School of Graduate Studies
Contact information:*see hyperlinks above*
Name of program:THRIVE Professional Skills Program
Social media accounts related to program:No specific accounts just yet (forthcoming with new website rollout); information disseminated through: Facebook: University of Lethbridge School of Graduate Studies Twitter: @uoflGradStudies LinkedIn; University of Lethbridge School of Graduate Studies
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?Stacey Leavitt, Experiential Learning Coordinator, School of Graduate Studies

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) See attached sheet.
Are there sessions specifically for international students?We run specific sessions for international students on awards opportunities and orientation to campus. Other than those, no specific sessions are offered. Our student population is not large enough to facilitate splitting these sessions, nor do we have the resources. Further, we like to encourage our students to build community across disciplines and do this through the combined workshops.
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?We offer a variety of Graduate Assistantships in Teaching, Non-Teaching and Research. We also offer Applied Research courses. Internship programs are in the works, but not up and running yet. We run a co-op program at the MA/MSc level that has had great success in the past two years(2014 start).
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?We offer workshops in the three transferrable skill domains _ teaching, research, and career/personal professional skills _ and across the five thematic areas _ Communication, Project Management, 21st Century Employability, Professional and Research Ethics, and Information Retrieval and Management.
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.Graduate Assistant Teaching Professional Development Writing Support (Thesis writing boot camp, Writing with Integrity) Grant Writing Human Ethics Career workshops EndNote Can?t break down any further than this due to lack of data. Currently collecting this data for 2016/2017.
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)Current graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible to attend sessions. Recently, alumni have been engaged to provide keynote speeches and facilitate workshops.
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?Professional development or participation in the THRIVE program at this time is not mandatory for us at this time. Students and supervisors are strongly encouraged to attend as both part of our checklist for both students and supervisors. Professional seminar courses are offered in some disciplines but are outside of the THIRVE program mandate (see more information in the Departments section of this survey).
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?Recognition is given for participation in all THRIVE and associated GTA-PD events, 3MT and Images of Research. A certificate of participation is given to all attendees.
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)Sessions for THRIVE are developed in partnership with a number of stakeholders and partners across campus. The School of Graduate Studies, Career and Counselling Services, Library, Teaching Centre, Student Success, the Writing Centre, Health and Wellness Centre. We have also utilized alumni, as well as Faculty in the facilitator role. We also use Mitacs for both online and in-person workshops. We have also partnered with external facilitators to provide certain workshops when funds allow. We are also working with the Campus Alberta group to cross promote a number of events (usually online offerings).
How are the sessions promoted?Sessions are promoted through multiple channels; for PDF communication we utilize a listserv; for all other student group communications, we utilize the SGS weekly newsletter, Event Calendar our campus notice board; promotion through GSA, and social media. Depending on the nature of the event we also utilize admin support in faculties to disseminate directly to students, as well as for high profile events, our campus communications team, digital signage and the staff/faculty newsletter.
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)We use two primary registration systems; Moodle (LMS) and Eventbrite, depending on the nature of the event. For the Meeting of the Minds conference, the Whova app is used.
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?No cost; only for Mitacs are there cancellation fees.

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?Approximately 62 distinct workshops in the three transferrable skill domains _ teaching, research, and career/personal professional skills _ and across the five thematic areas _ Communication, Project Management, 21st Century Employability, Professional and Research Ethics, and Information Retrieval and Management. Often workshops/events were offered more than once at different times to accommodate student schedules. This is an increase of six distinct workshops, each of which offered multiple sessions, from the previous year?s same reporting period of summer 2014-spring 2015, where THRIVE promoted approximately 56 distinct workshops. We had 20 participants take part in the co-op program, a significant increase from its first year of offering which had an uptake of 5.
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?Usually there are two people involved. The facilitator and the SGS Experiential Learning Coordinator. For major events there such as 3MT and Images of Research or the Meeting of the Minds Conference there are usually 5-7 representatives involved from the SGS, Student Success and the GSA.
What are the registration capacities and participation rates? (per each session, total enrolment, breakdown in number of students/ postdocs/alumni, breakdown by faculty etc.)Capacity is limited by room size, or by external agency (for example Mitacs is around 25 normally). For our Thesis Writing Boot Camp we cap at 25 in order for the event to be effective. Full results of numbers are just starting to be tracked as our programs are very new. For our teaching program as a whole we had 302 attendees in 2015-2016 and 139 individual attendees. attendance sessions wksp1 Teaching as a Professional Responsibility 85 6 wksp2 Assessment: Marking & Grading #VALUE! 4 wksp3 Dealing Professionally with Students 24 2 wksp4 Classroom Management & Student Engagement 17 2 wksp5 Managing Class Discussions 9 1 wksp6 Preparing a Lesson, Lecture or Presentation 22 3 wksp7 The Multicultural Classroom 6 1 tut1 Marking in Moodle 31 4 tut2 Public Speaking 18 4 total: #VALUE! 27
How is participation in sessions tracked? Data is tracked through Moodle, Eventbrite and sign in sheets at individual workshops by all partners. Campus partners report numbers to the SGS following each workshop.
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?Not at this time. This is something we are interested in however, and would be delighted to hear what methods other universities are utilizing to accomplish this.

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?Many do not offer individual workshops. However, we do have formalized courses Professional Skills courses within a number of our programs that run bi-weekly and provide details on the professionalism required of academics in their field. Example: CSPT Professional Seminar.
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?Occasionally, but not a set number of events. It is on an ad hoc basis, and usually a partnership to fulfill professional development requirements from granting agencies.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? NA
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?NA
Is there any additional information you would like to share?We offer very strong program completion support and teaching development support currently, and are in 2016/2017 working to develop and expand our offerings in the Career/Professional skills development category.