In your professional career, you will have many responsibilities, perhaps including writing journal articles and grants, managing other researchers, giving public presentations, teaching and mentoring students, or starting your own company. Creating a professional development plan for your postdoctoral career can help you maximize your time and prepare for your future career. The following resources available to Scholars at Western can help you develop in your selected areas. The Postdoctoral Association at Western provides a calendar of postdoctoral programming available to all:
If you are interested in developing a Professional Development Plan some of the available resources at Western include the following:
Transferable Professional Development (communication, leadership, etc.)
SCHOLARS TO LEADERS SERIES
a unique initiative of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies that is open to all scholars across all careers at Western. This guest speaker Series brings everyone together once a month to listen to academic and private-sector professionals who are uniquely skilled in mentoring candidates as they prepare for next stages of academic leadership and global career.
3MR – THREE MINUTE RESEARCH COMPETITION
a research communication competition where scholars have 3 minutes or less to present their research and its impact to a panel of non-specialist judges – during Research Forum in May
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION SERIES
for scholars who seek to improve their academic and professional communication skills and public speaking abilities.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS PROGRAMS
designed to help international scholars make the transition to living in Canada, and they also allow them to develop English language skills for the classroom
GRADUATE WRITING CONFERENCE
offered annually in March and addresses common problems and best writing practices
MITACS STEP WORKSHOPS
- Career Professionalism Workshop
provides an important opportunity to examine the unspoken rules of the workplace, from appropriate emails to appropriate dress.
- Time Management Workshop
provides practical tools to make truly effective use of scholars’ time.
- Networking Skills Workshop
A good network is vital to career growth and can be a link to important new opportunities. Each session is customized, with exercises reflecting the professional interests of participants.
- Practice Your Presentation Skills I Workshop
The art of engaging an audience when communicating your point is key to workplace success. This workshop will help build presentation skills and confidence in a supportive environment.
- Practice Your Presentation Skills II Workshop
gives scholars the opportunity to deliver a presentation specific to their work interest.
- Skills of Communication Workshop
examines different communication styles found in the workplace, including our own, as well as the styles of successful communicators
- Scientific and Technical Writing Skills Workshop
helps bring scholars’ knowledge to life in the written realm.
- Discovering the Entrepreneur Within Workshop
reveals the resources available to scholars in the current Canadian entrepreneurial landscape, including funding sources.
- Foundations of Project Management I Workshop
teaches the best practices of successful project managers, from inspiring a project team to meeting those crucial deadlines.
- Foundations of Project Management II Workshop
building on knowledge gained in Project Management I, this workshop will deepen the understanding of how to be an effective project manager.
- The Essentials of Productive Teams Workshop
provides the tools to effectively lead and participate in team initiatives in order to quickly turn ideas into measurable results—a key skill sought by employers.
- Writing Strategic Business Reports Workshop
this online workshop will provide academics transitioning into a professional environment with a core understanding of why business reports matter and how to tailor a report for its intended function and purpose.
Career-specific Professional Development (customized to your future career goals)
collaborative events throughout the year on biotech and life sciences,
ADVANCED TEACHING PROGRAM (ATP)
CERTIFICATE FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS
designed to enhance the academic and professional communication skills of international scholars in order to help them make a successful transition to Canadian academia and to prepare them for success in international research and professional settings
CERTIFICATE IN UNIVERSITY TEACHING AND LEARNING
enhances the quality of teaching by
FUTURE PROFESSOR: PATH TO TEACHING EXCELLENCE WORKSHOPS
offered throughout the year, provide both new and experienced scholars with valuable insights into the world of academia
TEACHING MASTER CLASSES
step into the classrooms of Western’s most respected and innovative instructors and observe them engaging with their undergraduate students, their course material, and their discipline
THE TEACHING MENTOR PROGRAM
a unique opportunity for scholars to be observed in their personal teaching environment and to receive valuable feedback from peers on both their instruction methods and teaching philosophies
WINTER CONFERENCE ON TEACHING
a day of workshops to continue learning about effective teaching and become re-energized for a second term in the classroom. Attend the day and receive up to three credits from the Future Professor Series towards your Certificate in University Teaching and Learning
INSTRUCTIONAL SKILLS WORKSHOP
an intensive three-day teaching workshop to design and deliver mini-lessons and receive verbal, written and video feedback from peers
GRADUATE CAREER DAY
provides Postdocs and graduate students with the opportunity to gain valuable information about landing both academic and non-academic positions. Sessions focus on different career topics each year. Offered annually at end of January-beginning of February.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA: RECRUITMENT OF POLICY LEADERS (RPL)
each year, the Government of Canada seeks to attract those who want to make a contribution to public service after a proven record of success. Successful participants will have exceptional leadership abilities, demonstrated through academic, work and volunteer experience.
Additional Resources and Services
provides information and materials to help start experience at Western on the right foot – last Monday of January,
during the third week in September, events and activities are designed to recognize postdocs on campus
TAX INFORMATION session each February
includes job posting board, events calendar featuring career-related events including employer visits and information sessions, career fairs and special events
Career Fair/Job Fair
a great way to network with recruiter contacts who can help gain a better understanding of the transferable skills your degree has given you that can ultimately help you in your career
Grad Path (
Western-based portal that helps scholars and graduate students identify the competencies developed through graduate studies, and highlights professional development opportunities that will help develop these competencies
presents real-life examples of PhDs and ABDs who went into each of the careers portrayed: their stories, advice, inside information about their fields, even the actual resumes and cover letters they used to get their first post-academic jobs are featured
The Grad Student Way (thegradstudentway.com/home)
created to help postdocs and graduate students get through the process and answer questions along the way
offers services tailored to postdocs and graduate students including one-on-one counseling