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Graduate Professional Skills Program

During your time at the university, acquire disciplinary expertise but also develop the professional skills needed for a successful future career in industry, government and non-government organizations, or academia. We aim to diversify your graduate school experience through professional development workshops in these five areas:

  • professional communication
  • research and knowledge mobilization
  • teaching and learning
  • entrepreneurship and leadership
  • career management skills

Workshop descriptions, locations, dates and times are available on this web page or by downloading the Grad Pro Skills guide (PDF).

Download Grad Pro Skills - Fall 2017 schedule

Professional Communication

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partners with the Communication and Digital Media Studies department in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities to develop graduate students’ confidence in professional and personal communications.

In-person workshops

GPSD 1300 Simplifying and Summarizing Your Research

Thursday, November 30 from 1 to 2 p.m.
Business and Information Technology Building (UB), Room 2034

It is a useful skill to be able to simplify your complex research, whether explaining it verbally to someone outside of your field, or summarizing it in writing for an application or news article. This workshop will help you identify the most important, interesting and relevant parts of your research and make complex content easy for others to understand.


Past in-class sessions

These sessions are over for the semester but Grad Pro Skills workshops are offered regularly - watch for future dates!

GPSD 1100 Making Presentations that Make Sense

A clear and concise presenter, a visual presentation and engaging content are some of the keys to keeping your audience’s attention in a presentation. In this workshop, you will learn what makes a great presentation and what you can work on to develop your skills.

GPSD 1200 Public Speaking 101

It is difficult to avoid public speaking during your graduate degree and once you enter the work world. It is an asset to be able to effectively speak to groups in an informative, persuasive and engaging way. This workshop will cover some of the challenges, best practices and tips to improve your confidence and convey your messages more effectively.

Online workshops

Academic and Professional Communication for New Researchers

Topics covered include:

  • Tips for networking at academic conferences
  • Techniques for mastering the academic introduction and introducing your research to scholars
  • Strategies for establishing appropriate online boundaries with students in the age of social media
  • Examples of effective research poster designs
  • Approaches for successfully communicating your research to a non-specialist academic audience


Intercultural Competency

This module will introduce you to several key concepts and strategies that will help you navigate this diverse world. The module provides an introduction to the key concepts of identity, bias, privilege and intercultural competence. Five sequential units will include case scenarios and activities that provide you with an opportunity to test your new knowledge and to apply it to your own experience. Videos of graduate students reflecting on their own experiences are also featured. Those students who have already developed a more sophisticated intercultural awareness may wish review the readings provided at the end of the module.


Research and knowledge mobilization

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partners with UOIT Research Services and the UOIT Library to assist graduate students with common research challenges.

In-person workshops

GPSD 3500 Better Research Relationships

Tuesday, November 28 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Business and Information Technology Building (UB), Room 2034
Brad Easton, PhD, Associate Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

A positive working relationship with your supervisor and research team can be key to producing quality research and finishing your degree on time. This workshop covers many of the common challenges, tips for success and conflict resolution strategies you can put into practice to improve your relationship.


Past in-class sessions

These sessions are over for the semester but Grad Pro Skills workshops are offered regularly - watch for future dates!

GPSD 3100 Academic Integrity

This workshop is aimed at a multidisciplinary audience of graduate students. Students will be familiarized with concepts of academic integrity, university policy on academic conduct, common challenges and mistakes, citation guides and citation management programs which can be used.

GPSD 3200 Making Sense of Statement Writing

Empower yourself and engage your audience once you are ready to apply for funding opportunities to support your research projects and academic studies. Whether you are applying for Canada Graduate Scholarships or other types of grants, writing a compelling research statement can be the most challenging step in the application process. This workshop demystifies the statement and research proposal writing process to help you achieve success.

GPSD 3400 Proper Paraphrasing and Summarizing

Integrating research in written work is an essential skill although it is one with which many writers struggle. After considering the characteristics of each, participants will have the opportunity to practice writing paraphrases and summaries as well as assess their effectiveness.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Learn about how to integrate research in written work.
  • Identify the characteristics of successful paraphrases and summaries.
  • Identify and apply writing strategies to paraphrase and summarize well.

Online workshops

Academic and Research Integrity

This module will explore integrity issues in the graduate student setting. Academic integrity, research integrity, academic dishonesty and research misconduct will all be discussed. The module features many examples and animated case studies where you can test your knowledge. You will find the last unit particularly helpful as it explores ethics approval, data retention, record keeping and negotiating authorship.


Research Management
Sound research project management is a fundamental element of any research project. Creating a project plan should be seen as an integral, ongoing process initiated at the outset of your research. This plan will provide you with a holistic view of your project, allowing you to make preparations in advance, anticipate potential problems and develop strategies to eliminate risks to your project later on. A well-developed plan will reduce risks, increase efficiency and guide the research process through to completion. It will help ensure that you have met your legal and ethical obligations and that your research outputs will be preserved over time and, where applicable, will be available to others.


Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism

Have you ever worried that you might accidentally plagiarize by forgetting to cite a source or by not paraphrasing thoroughly enough? You’re not alone. Many graduate students share this fear, especially when managing many sources over several years. The purpose of this module is to help you understand plagiarism and develop strategies to avoid it. The units in this module describe in detail the steps you need to take when borrowing ideas, from note-taking effectively to incorporating sources with proper citations. Examples of plagiarism cases are included to help you understand why and how plagiarism occurs. By strengthening these research and writing habits, you will be able to prevent plagiarism in your own work and feel more confident as an academic writer.


Individual support

Teaching and learning

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partners with the university’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) to promote opportunities for teaching assistants (TAs) to develop their skills in instructing and mentoring undergraduates.

In-person workshops

Certificate in University Teaching

The Certificate in University Teaching is available to all TAs and graduate students who are interested in developing their teaching skills and engaging in a community of practice along with their peers in the university's teaching community.  Visit the Teaching and Learning Centre website for more information and to register!

GPSD 4100 TLC Open Fridays

Every Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. (drop-in)
Energy Systems and Nuclear Science Research Centre (ERC), Room 2028 or 3023 (signs will be posted)

On Fridays, we invite you to stop by to chat about matters related to teaching and learning, connect with colleagues, ask questions and meet members of the TLC team.

Other workshops

TLC offers training sessions on instructing large classes, using audio and video in your lessons, and using Blackboard. Find their upcoming workshop schedule on their website.

Online Workshops

Lesson Planning

This six-unit teaching and learning module will provide you with an introduction to effective lesson planning. Whether you’re teaching university students or colleagues in the workplace, having a good lesson plan is one of the first steps to being an effective instructor. The module will begin by presenting you with a model of lesson planning that is simple and easy to follow. It will then introduce you to key lesson planning terminology (e.g., intended learning outcomes, constructive alignment, active learning) and offer tips for good practices.


Mentoring Undergraduate Students

This module provides resources and learning for graduate students in their roles as mentors for undergraduate students. The following learning objectives are embedded into this program:

  • Identify the significance of mentorship in higher education.
  • Recognize and examine core mentoring competencies and locate them within a learning-centred paradigm.
  • Enhance your skills in providing mentoring support based on adult education principles.
  • Develop strategies to effectively communicate – from a leadership perspective – with a diverse -body of undergraduate students.
  • Generate a plan to support undergraduate students in discovering post-graduate academic and professional opportunities.

Connect mentoring competencies to your own personal and professional development.


Teaching Dossiers

This six-unit module guides students through the composition of the teaching dossier, an essential document necessary for graduate students to present their teaching effectiveness to others. The module will introduce both the structure and purpose of the dossier as well as guide students through a reflective process to draft the foundational claims of the teaching philosophy statement. In addition, students will explore the skills they have developed through their teaching that transfer to other sectors of work. Finally, students will complete an assessment that provides them with the opportunity to explore the revision of a working draft of a dossier.


Teaching Online: Basic Skills for TAs

This online module has one hour of instructional materials and consists of five separate units that are intended to “stand alone” without a facilitator or instructor. The module will provide introductory preparation for graduate students wishing to be teaching assistants in fully online courses or blended courses with significant online activities. It should be noted that no strategies for in classroom time will be given, although many of the good practices of teaching can be used regardless of the medium of delivery.


Teaching Online: Advanced Skills for Graduate Students

In this five-unit module, you will learn about strategies for facilitating online learning effectively. During the module, you will have a chance to hear short video interviews with online instructors who share how they engage their students; you will see examples of how instructors humanize their course, create instructor presence, and connect with their students by creating a sense of time in their online courses.


Entrepreneurship and leadership

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partners with Brilliant Entrepreneurship to assist graduate students with entrepreneurship ideas and development.

Online workshops

Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation

This module will provide an overview of the critical elements of starting a business, including the following components:

  • fundamental elements of starting new venture
  • important start-up considerations
  • critical opportunity assessment and validation techniques
  • business modeling as a starting tool
  • key components of the business plan
  • assessing opportunities
  • building teams
  • funding options


Intellectual Property: An Entrepreneur’s Guide

This web-based module provides an introduction to intellectual property. The module will introduce students to the basic definitions and types of intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, trade secrets and copyrights. These topics will allow students, entrepreneurs and/or inventors to use this knowledge to make strategic decisions regarding the application for intellectual property protection.

Some topics we will touch on include:

  • How do you file for various types of intellectual property?
  • How do you know if you have intellectual property?
  • What rights do intellectual properties give a society, company and inventor?

An expert in the Intellectual Property area will present an engaging mini-lecture for each unit, followed by student assessments.


PAST in-class session

This workshop is over for the semester but we bring sessions back regularly - check for future dates!

GPSD 2100 Understanding your Leadership Style and Skills

This workshop will help you understand and develop your leadership skills. You will engage in a fun and interactive self-reflection exercise to help you explore how your interests, abilities and values align with potential career areas and to the world of work. Insights will be recorded on a worksheet and developed throughout the workshop for you to use to help develop your career goals.

Learning outcomes:

  • Learn, understand and assess your leadership style.
  • Learn at least one skill, interest and value.
  • Learn at least one resource to help with researching a career area​.

Career management skills

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partners with the university’s Career Centre to help graduate students to prepare for their future goals after graduation.

In-person workshops

GPSD 5300 Interview Skills

Tuesday, December 5 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Business and Information Technology Building (UB), Room 2034
Shenelle Payne-Cuffy, BA, CCDP, Career Centre

This workshop provides an understanding of the importance of conveying soft skills in an interview setting and subsequent key strategies to prepare for a successful interview. Collaborative discussions and activities allow students to demonstrate how to effectively covey soft skills in an interview to make a favourable impression for a potential employer.


Past in-class sessions

These sessions are over for the semester but Grad Pro Skills workshops are offered regularly - watch for future dates!

GPSD 5000 Non-Academic Job Search

This workshop explores job search strategies. It focuses on an overview of how to effectively create networking opportunities and build relationships that can lead to career opportunities. It will also provide information and tips on how to effectively prepare, answer and ask recruiters questions. The second half of the workshop will provide further tips regarding online and face-to-face etiquette as well as job search resources and tools.

GPSD 5100 CVs and Academic Job Search

This workshop is designed to inform graduates seeking careers in academia with insight into the stages of an academic recruitment cycle, an overview of labour market information with an emphasis on where to find employment opportunities and typical salary ranges, as well as important strategies to develop for pursuing a career in academia.

GPSD 5400 Ethics and Professional Etiquette

This workshop will address how students can improve on their interpersonal and behavioural skills in the workplace. Topics of discussion will include working well with others, how to effectively communicate through different channels, appropriate body language, how to dress for success and how to use technology properly in a professional setting.

GPSD 5500 Preparing for your Career: Goal Setting in Grad School

In this workshop, students will learn about a project management approach to managing their careers. Career and life goals, implementation of strategies and goals, and evaluation of these will be discussed. There will be in-class activities in which students write out their own goals, steps to implementation and gaps to fill.

Online workshops

Converting a CV to a Resumé

This online module will help you to create a resumé — a very important tool for the non-academic job search. After first reviewing the differences between an academic CV and a resumé for the non-academic job market, the module units will equip you to conquer the challenges of the conversion process with confidence. Recent graduates will share their experiences and provide an inside scoop on how to get comfortable with new ways of showcasing your strengths and interests. You will review different resumé formats and samples, learn helpful writing tips, and think through challenging editing questions as you consider what to keep or delete from your CV.


Non-Academic Work Search

This module includes information and activities to help you to conduct a successful work search. You will identify your skills in order to direct your work search efforts, and learn strategies to research and understand industries, companies and positions. You will also learn how to analyze job postings, chart your current networking contacts and examine methods to create even more connections. Upon completion of this module you will have created take-away materials that can be easily adapted to your future work search efforts.


The Versatile Graduate: Exploring Diverse Career Paths for PhDs

This module focuses on the early stage of career exploration by inviting you to imagine a landscape of many career options, spanning the academic to the non-academic. The “versatility” of your graduate experience in preparing you both for careers in academia and beyond is emphasized. The challenges and opportunities of transitioning from doctoral study to a career are considered. The module provides you with tools to assess your skills and interests. Key practical strategies to explore multiple career paths are investigated: networking, informational interviews, social media, experiential learning, and internships.


Other topics

Online workshops

Mental Health and Well-being Skills for Graduate Students

This module gives you some valuable tools to increase your understanding of health and wellness and to help you manage your well-being in your graduate life and during your transition to a career. It introduces you to some key facts about wellness, mental health and mental illness. You will learn to identify warning signs of problems in mental health and wellness. Stress, anxiety and low mood are considered, alongside pragmatic strategies to manage them. You will also learn about strategies which can help to increase your resilience and mental well-being. Ways of nurturing positive relationships and social support networks which help to buffer stress and build a balanced life are offered. You will learn about the factors that influence satisfaction in study and work, and learn how to cultivate mental well-being. The purpose of this module is to provide you with information about well-being; it is not intended to replace professional treatment.


Foundations of Community Engagement (Part 1)

This module covers key definitions and principles that underlie community engagement, such as the importance of addressing assumptions. Through real-world examples and interviews with actual community partners and campus representatives, this module also highlights the many complexities involved in partnerships between community and campus, some of which can lead to negative interactions.


Foundations of Community-Engaged Scholarship (Part 2)

By the end of this module, you will be able to critically examine the role of the researcher in different community engaged scholarship projects through the lens of shared power and control, as well as hear from actual community partners and campus representatives who discuss their experiences with community engaged scholarship projects. Moreover, you will be able to identify research designs and methods that are most appropriate for your own community-engaged project in order to promote respectful, professional and productive community-campus partnerships, which have the potential to contribute to positive social change.