Sequence, 6 sessions, one week
Students benefit from collective discussion, important reading, and guidance from you and other facilitators as well as their peers as they look ahead to their post-PhD lives. They revisit their plans, identify their values and develop a conscious philosophy and ethics of leadership, and consider their future responsibilities and career options.
Download the curriculum for this sequence.
Use or adapt this timetable to hold these integrated sessions over one week.
|Professional development plan (Session 1)||Qualities and Philosophy of a Leader (Session 2)||Academic Citizenship and Plagiarism (Session 4)||Career Planning (Session 5)||Work–Life Balance (Session 6)|
|Leading academic institutions||Hubs, Collaborations, and Partnerships (Session 3)|
Session 1. Professional Development Plan (Post-grad) | 2–4 hours
Towards the end of their PhD journey, each student creates a professional development plan (PDP) – or re-visits the one they developed earlier. The PDP documents the student’s goals, the skills and competencies they must develop to achieve these goals, and steps along path to continuous improvement and career development after graduation.
This session is an opportunity for each student to:
- Reflect on their long-term career ambitions post-graduation.
- Re-visit, review, and refine the professional development plan they developed at the start of their PhD journey (OR to develop one for the first time).
- Consider progress, challenges, and necessary modifications of this plan.
- Learn to use material on the web for professional development.
By the end of the session, students can:
- Identify long-term ambitions and ways to pursue them
- Use a template to develop their professional development plans
Source and distribute a template for professional development plans.
Interactive CPD Toolkit
Varlejs, J. (2016). Shape your career – design your professional development plan: rationale and workshop template.
NHS (UK) Professional Support Unit. E-learning, Support and Self-Review Modules.
Review the professional development plan that they developed early on the PhD journey.
Students submit their professional development plans for assessment
|As needed||1. Explain the purpose of a PDP and mentor||Facilitator|
|As needed||2. Develop individual PDPs||Individuals, pairs, plenary|
Step 1. Explain the purpose of a PDP and mentor
Give a short explanation of:
- The form and purpose of a professional development plan.
- The idea of a mentor to support personal development.
Invite students to discuss the difference in roles between mentors and supervisors
Step 2. Develop individual professional development plans
Working individually with the template, students note their long-term ambitions and the knowledge and experience they will need to achieve them.
Those who developed PDPs earlier modify them:
- What has changed, for example in your ambitions for the future?
- What additional skills and experience do you now realise that you will need?
- What has proved, with time and experience, to be unnecessary?
In pairs, students describe their ambitions to each other, outlining what they need in order to achieve them. In plenary, students take turns to describe their discussion partner’s plan.
Session 2. Qualities and Philosophy of a Leader | 2–4 hours
Students reflect on their values and develop a conceptual understanding of the ways in which these values affect their career development. The session challenges students to adopt professional principles that sustain successful careers as leaders in the academic environment. They reflect on the key qualities of a good research leader and discuss how leadership differs from management.
By the end of the session, students can:
- Discuss their values and motivation for accepting leadership responsibilities.
- Understand how values of equity and equality affect the role of a leader
- Appreciate the differences between a leader and manager.
Read and share with students:
- Fletcher KA, Friedman A, Piedimonte G. (2019) Transformational and Transactional Leadership in Healthcare Seen Through the Lens of Pediatrics. J Pediatr. 2019 Jan; 204:7-9.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.10.007
- Roberts, C. (2023) Checklist for Personal Values.
|As needed||1. Introduce the qualities of a leader||Facilitator, groups|
|As needed||2. Understand how equality and equity affect leadership||Facilitator, groups|
Step 1. Introduce the qualities of a leader
Introduce leadership qualities, identifying key features of a good leader and, conversely, a good manager.
To discuss in groups of four, ask students:
- Consider an example of a good leader in your professional life.
- Are they a transactional or a transformational leader?
- What values guide them?
- How did they acquire these values?
- Have they been able to lead positive development in the university/institution, and if so, how?
Step 2. Explain the research process
Introduce a discussion about how values of equity and equality affect the role of a leader. Distinguish between a leader and a manager.
Pose these questions for students to discuss in groups of four:
- What are the differences between a leader and a manager?
- What outcomes would you expect from good leadership?
- How would you acquire the essential capacities of good leadership?
- What is the role of leadership in your professional development plans?
- Is there a difference between male and female leadership?
- How do the values of equity and equality affect leadership?
Session 3. Hubs, Collaborations, and Partnerships | 2–4 hours
This session uses a case-study approach to engage students in exploring how to build and sustain research hubs. As a future research leader post-PhD, a student needs skills in developing collaborations and networks. By forging and supporting such networks, research hubs can provide the critical mass to solve research question and translate research into public use.
After this session, a student should be able to establish a network of equal parties in research.
Prepare an introductory presentation. Identify a suitable call for proposals or research question as an example on which to focus discussion. Distribute the call for proposals to students, together with links to resources:
- Sharma M. and Razzaque B. Research capacity strengthening in South Asia: based on the experience of South Asian Hub for Advocacy, Research and Education on Mental Health (SHARE)
- Shaik, A. A brief guide to research collaboration for the young scholar. Working with other scholars can boost your profile, but some arrangements are more likely to lead to publication
Read the call for proposals/ research question
Read the resource articles
|As needed||1. Introduce the topic and terms||Facilitator|
|As needed||2. Discuss the pros and cons of research collaboration||Small groups|
Step 1. Introduce the topic and terms
Give an overview of the topic, including a definition of terms.
- In academic research, the term collaboration implies an equal interaction between researchers who are pursuing and testing common research questions. Those parties need to agree on the conditions for the collaboration, as reflected in publications, grants, and responsibilities. Common types of collaboration include networks, coalitions, strategic alliances, and public–private partnerships.
- The term partnership usually implies that the partners are not equal. For example, one partner may provide the knowledge to sustain the policy impact by the other partner. A process of knowledge translation may be necessary to use the knowledge developed through the research. Many collaborations and partnerships involve researchers of differing stature, funding status, and types of home institution.
Ask participants about their own experiences of establishing a research hub or participating in one.
Introduce the call for proposals or research question, as the basis for discussion
Step 2. Discuss the pros and cons of research collaboration
In groups of four or five, with one as rapporteur, students reflect on the call or research question and discuss:
- What would you expect from a research collaboration?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of collaborating compared to working as a single researcher?
- What caveats would you make about establishing a research partnership?
- What would a scientist and a partner from another field expect from working together?
- What do geographic integration and idea integration mean for the establishment of a research hub?
In plenary, rapporteurs share the main points from their groups.
Draw out the main points from the discussion, as you conclude the session.
Session 4. Academic Citizenship and Plagiarism | 2–4 hours
What knowledge and skills does a research leader need in order to counteract scientific misconduct and plagiarism both in research and in education?
The university, plays a unique role in society by creating, developing, and conveying knowledge through research and education. Many universities have signed the Magna Charta Universitatum and/or joined of the International Association of Universities, aligning themselves with values including the selection of research questions and course content that will equip graduates to meet societal needs. As an academic citizen, one takes responsibility for quality in research and education – which also means the responsibility to counteract scientific misconduct and plagiarism both in research and education.
By the end of the session, students can:
- Identify scientific misconduct and plagiarism in research and education.
- Describe the freedom and responsibilities associated with the academic citizenship.
Print copies and/or share links:
- Horbach and Halffman, (2019). The extent and causes of academic text recycling or ‘self-plagiarism, Research Policy, vol48, no2, 492-502, March2019, (open access)
|As needed||1. Identify scientific misconduct||Facilitator, groups, plenary|
|As needed||2. Define freedoms and responsibilities||Facilitator, groups|
Step 1. Identify scientific misconduct
Introduce common, global views of academic citizenship, within the scientific community and in society in general. Provide examples and draw on your own experience to give advice on how to handle misconduct, including plagiarism.
Divide students into groups of four or five people, with one as rapporteur, to discuss:
- How do you as a (relatively) young scientist avoid scientific misconduct and plagiarism?
- How do you introduce your own undergraduate students to the consequences of plagiarism?
Group rapporteurs share main points from discussions in the plenary for further exchange.
Step 2. Define freedoms and responsibilities
Ask students to discuss, first in groups and then in plenary:
- How are academic citizenship and responsibilities handled at your institution: by the university leadership, among colleagues, and in PhD and postdoc programs?
- Did your institution introduce you to the freedom and responsibilities associated with the academic citizenship?
- How do you plan to address misconduct in research and education?
Session 5. Career Planning | 2-4 hours
From the basis of their updated professional development plans, students discuss options for their post-PhD career paths, both within and beyond academia and research. As facilitator, take a student-centred approach, responding to the plans and questions of the group, as well as referring to your own experience and that of your co-facilitators. Useful themes include:
- Interaction and possible integration between the roles of researcher, teacher, and manager.
- Raising funds for research.
- Sources of material and other forms of support and guidance.
- The importance of a mentor, and the differences between a mentor and a supervisor.
By the end of the session, students can analyse different career paths and opportunities post-PhD.
Create or source a presentation about post-PhD career paths, opportunities, and funding – academic and non-academic.
|As needed||1. Present career paths||Facilitator|
|As needed||2. Analyse post-PhD options||Small groups|
Step 1. Present career paths
Give a short presentation to open discussion about post-PhD career paths, opportunities, and funding – academic and non-academic.
Step 2. Analyse post-PhD options
Ask students in small groups to share their thinking about their options after graduation. Key questions to consider:
- What career guidance does your university provide?
- Based on your personal development plan, what support do you need to pursue your ambitions?
- What career outside of academia could you consider?
- What support would you want to provide to the next generation of researchers?
- What are your experiences of applying for a job?
Session 6. Work–Life Balance | 2-4 hours
This session addresses work–life balance. Share strategies to improve workplace standards, safety, and well-being. Research shows that employees perform less effectively when they have trouble balancing work and personal life. Conflicts and tensions between the demands at work and tasks at home:
- Have a disheartening effect
- Increase the risk of health problems.
- May be associated with declining birth rates, continued discrimination against women in the labour market, and constraints on well-being and quality of life.
In a competitive, corporate culture, many of us tend to lead unbalanced lives. Harmonising one’s work and life is important for retaining good health and increasing work achievement and satisfaction.
“Work-life balance is the lack of opposition between work and other life roles. It is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal.”
By the end of the session, students can:
- Appreciate the benefits of achieving a healthy work–life balance.
- Identify the signs and effects of an unbalanced life.
- Identify strategies and techniques to improve well-being and achieve better balance.
- Handle work and personal stress more effectively.
Create or source a presentation on the benefits and necessity of life–work balance.
- O’Loghlin, James (2009). How to balance your life: Practical ways to achieve work-life Balance. Allen &Unwin. ISBN 10:1741756464. ISBN 13:9781741756463
- David J.McNeff (2021). The work-life Balance Myth. McGraw-Hill Education.
- Michal Stawicki (2014). Master your time in 10 minutes a Day: Time management tips for anyone struggling with Work-Life Balance. Createspace Independent Publishing platform. Volume: 4. ISBN 10:1500187739. ISBN 13:978150018773
|As needed||1. Present the benefits of work–life balance||Facilitator|
|As needed||2. Identify the signs of imbalance||Plenary|
|As needed||3. Design strategies for well-being||Individuals, groups|
|As needed||4. Handle stress differently||Plenary|
Step 1. Present the benefits of work–life balance
Introduce the necessity and benefits of a healthy work-life balance, and the risks of not achieving balance.
Step 2. Identify the signs of imbalance
Following on from your presentation and the reading for this session, invite students to discuss signs and effects of poor work–life balance.
Step 3. Design strategies for well-beinge
Each student develops strategies, grouped under headings such as:
- Employer resources.
- Tips in time management.
- Goal setting.
- Optional ways to work.
In small groups, they contribute to a joint PowerPoint deck on strategies for life–work balance.
Step 4. Handle stress differently
Groups present and discuss their PowerPoint slides.
Altogether, students discuss how people can try to handle work and personal stress differently. You might choose to guide the conversation to cover:
- Stress management
- Work in a physical work environment
- Work at home / in a home office
You might give feedback at the end.