Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

Brock University

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:Faculty of Graduate Studies - constellation model _ meaning that our salaries are paid by FGS, however, other partners also develop programs for grad students under their unique banner, however, collectively we design collaborative programs: SHIFT Conf, #WriterlyWednesday
Contact name:Karin Perry
Contact information:Graduate Coordinator, Development & Training Brock University Faculty of Graduate Studies Niagara Region | 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way | St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1 | T 905 688 5550 x6129
Name of program:VITAE Essential Skills Program VITAE Professional Development Programs VITAE Partnership (
Social media accounts related to program:
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?Karin Perry and Stacia Heaton (

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) All programs are in person. All student service partners agreed that online workshops were not stand alones. Valuable only for blended learning: teaching tools, preliminary workshop requirements etc. For a roster of programs _ please see web links and additional attachments.
Are there sessions specifically for international students?No. All sessions are open to all students. During our SHIFT PD conference + Career Services has tailored workshops: The Cdn Resume ?.
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?Mentorship needs to be defined here. If we look at mentorship as relationships or interactions?; moments or interactions then, YES. If you are asking about formal mentorship programs _ this facet of institutional offerings have recently changed. Once centralized, now transitioning over to program level (in development). We have taken a Ïwhole spectrum? approach to professional development which entails a personal development and growth mindset. At this stage, all PD programs would be classified as bolt-on _ however, we plan to survey all academic grad programs to identify the types and forms of PD opportunities. Mentorship and internships are available within a few academic programs that are professional degrees (accounting, etc)
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?Three years ago we spent 6 months undergoing a competency categorization exercise, and then realized that multiple competencies are addressed throughout the entire roster of PD related programs offered by all campus partners. We are more interested now, how we classify the learning experience, deep level of engagement, discussion on transferable skills, etc. To see various competencies see our calendar here?. However, we?ve just transitioned to a new calendar _ and we don?t have any archived events beyond Aug. 2016. I?ve attached word docs _ We are really pleased by the calendar _ modeled from Stanford Uni PD calendar. The calendar provides a filter so the unit can categorize the type of skills/competency, search by skill and competency. We are now offering various depts.. access, so the calendar will be truly a collaborative tool.
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.See attached for a full roster of past offerings. Not always offered every year. Highest demand: Communications-based workshops (presentation skills, KT, ) and writing workshops.
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)All. We are now inviting 4th year undergrad (60% of our grad pop?ln are Brock UG.) as a stepping/recruitment strategy. Alumni are also invited, however, we haven?t started a strategic marketing campaign yet.
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?Just recently, the co-op office has a mandatory workshop series for Master?s co-op students. Of the 48 graduate programs _ there are 3 programs(M Sustainability, M of History, M of Social Justice), one cohort, that take a weekly work placement preparation course. Embedded-PD in academic programs are mandatory. This year we will be survey all 49 academic programs to identify the types and format of PD requirements _ some are a PD seminar embedded within the program, others encourage attendance to workshops outside of their program (cocurricular).
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?Yes, some do. We are offering a customizable VITAE cert. See here .>> And have just begun to host an Ïawarding? event. We will most likely link this event to our end of year SHIFT Conference. We do not offer badges, but we work with student services to track participation and back-end load participants into their co-curricular transcript database. GradPlus transcript See here >>
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)ALL deliver/co-develop: we are working from a knowledge sharing model. Because our graduate programs are relatively new (most of the growth in the last 10 years) proportionately represent 10% of our student population. Student services is geared mostly to UG market. And, we work from a knowledge-sharing model. My role has been to identify key facilitators, seek evidence-based collaborative practice models that include skilled facilitators from the broader graduate community (faculty, staff and students. I seek out innovative peer-based programs _ and then invite or cultivate partnerships.
How are the sessions promoted?Direct email, now using Constant Contact --- more visually driven. Twitter, FB. Etc.
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)We are encouraging a central registry (we offer on our website) Gravity Forms, Word press site. We also extend access to Vitae Partners -- the form/registry --- and back end access for posting on the calendar.
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?At Senate we have just passed a Ïno show? fee. But have not instituted.

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?Delivered by? Collaboration? Presented by? Academic year? This answer will not provide accurate numbers. Varies depending on the year. See sample of workshops offered _ in list below.
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?One FTE staff for VITAE (2012 _ 2014) + contract staff. 1.5 FTE staff (2014 to 2016) 2 FTE staff (beginning Oct. 2016) But ALL PD throughout our partners _ that?s important to know as well.
What are the registration capacities and participation rates? (per each session, total enrolment, breakdown in number of students/ postdocs/alumni, breakdown by faculty etc.)This is far too much work and energy to collate here. And if the premise of original question isn?t clear then these numbers won?t represent the whole. Good size workshop: 25 Avg. workshop: 15 Conferences: 100+ GS for each (SHIFT + MNK) Orientation Welcome: 180 FGS/VITAE coordinated workshops (excluding VITAE partners unit specific workshops) 2015-2016 Total number of workshops in all FGS/VITAE hosted and coordinated = 51 (*including workshops within SHIFT conference) Total number participants in all FGS/VITAE = 960 Total number of unique students= 300 unique students *Faculty representation is proportional (More from larger faculties, Applied Health Sciences greater proportion, Humanities lowest) * only offering more for Phd and Post Doc in last year. Numbers are low.
How is participation in sessions tracked? Pre-register on _line form, and sign-in sheets, verified. Excel list updated, sent to Career Services to back-end load into GradPlus co-curricular record. Auto calculated into a Vitae database --- student profile shows ALL Vitae/FGS participation. Students approaching 30 hours encouraged to take part to earn VITAE certi. Which is customizable to students interest and development plan.
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?Is employment the only outcome measure of programmatic effectiveness? What's the distinction between career readiness and professional development? How many students actually have a defined career goal? Distinction between perception of meaningful employment relevant to academic training? There seems to be an assumption in the survey questions that ÏPD = employment?. Measures could be total number of PD hours, # of workshops addressing career transaction tools (ie. CV to resume, Mock interview, networking, career panel attendance, personal assessments, career exploration). We are working on extending the life of student email ID _ to better track career outcomes. Currently student emails are only active for 16 months post-graduation

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?See above. Environmental survey to identify specific types of PD offerings within academic programs slated for 2017.
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?Yes, see ALL above.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? Make an attempt to make sense of the very convoluted dialogue --- , mostly integrate snapshot of overarching value of employer-valued skills. Skills mismatch stats are also largely industry biased, missing SME. More valuable information: trending HR hiring practices, self-exploration, resume screening technology, entrepreneurial options, protean careers. Moving toward more strengths-based, Design your life (design thinking model)
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?Yes, collectively the building strong professional networks while on campus, emphasize that 70% of all postings never make it publicly. So, the hidden job market is the market which infers the cultivating extensive loose ties. (The Defining Decade) is a key strategy. Planned happenstance and Designing your life --- are the new approaches we are taking.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?See original document - too long to paste