Professional Development Program

                         Spring 2013

Prepared for Success?

Position yourself for a career in research, academia, or science with the support of the UAB Graduate School.

Acquire Research Writing Strategies

Explore Ethics in Science

Participate in Scholarly Debate

Write for Grants & Fellowships

Develop Effective Presentations

Discover the Teacher in You

  • Under the direction of Dr. Julia Austin,, the Professional Development Program’s courses offer graduate, academic credit, and are designed to support students through master’s and Ph.D. programs, as well as careers as research or post-doctoral fellows at UAB.
  • GRD courses are ideal for students and employees in looking to enhance their professional and work skills beyond their specialty with an eye toward presenting, publishing, teaching, and working on inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural teams.
  • GRD courses are Pass/Fail, and strategically scheduled to begin after the start of the regular semester and finish before finals so as not to interfere with students’ core curriculum.
  • Registration for Academic English for Internationals (*) courses requires current language assessment scores from the UAB Graduate School. Our research-based testing program is free, with scores provided, along with course recommendations, to students and their advisors. To arrange an assessment appointment, contact Lori Naramore at
  • Check our Web site for updates!

 See details on course offerings below.

Professional Development Offerings Spring 2013
* Designed specifically for internationals   **Jan. 28 to Apr. 11 (unless otherwise indicated)
Check Spring Schedule on BlazerNET for changes




GRD 708 Writing Successfully
Saturday, Feb.9, 9am to 5pm                                                                                      Meets in CH 204
1 credit hour; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at
This workshop provides an introduction to various aspects of writing in a variety of professional settings. Topics include strategies for efficient composing, overcoming writer’s block, avoiding plagiarism, adjusting for audience, writing for PowerPoint, and editing your own writing.

GRD 736 Dissertation Strategies               
One SectionSaturday, Jan. 12, 9am to 5pm
1 credit hour; Contact Dr. Susan Olmstead-Wang at
A 1-day workshop for graduate students who are preparing to start a dissertation within the next year.  Seminar topics include creating a dissertation committee, crafting the proposal, outlining the text, and managing the writing and reviewing process. Designed to help doctoral students map out a strategic plan for managing the dissertation writing process.  GRD 736 is the pre-requisite for GRD 737 Successful Dissertation Process (also offered Spring Semester).

Speaking & Presentation

GRD 701 Presentation & Discussion Skills
Wednesdays, Jan. 9 to May 8, 5:30 to 8pm                                                                Location: BBRB 263
3 credit hours;  Contact Alan Corbin at .
This course is designed to develop professional communication skills through individual presentations and group evaluations. Topics include the basics of oral presentation, content, organization, and delivery of formal presentations; use of voice and nonverbal communication; and speaking to different audiences. Students’ presentations are videotaped and critiqued by their classmates and the instructor.

GRD 721 Academic Interactions
**Jan. 29 to Apr. 11
One Section: Tu/Th 3:30 to 5pm                                                                                 Location: TBA
(Prerequisite: OPI advanced-level placement, GRD 720, or permission of instructor)  3 credit hours
Contact Alan Corbin at
Speaking and listening course for international graduate students, postdocs, and employees who wish to master the English language skills they need to interact confidently and effectively whether speaking to one person or to a group!  Discover strategies for handling speaking tasks ranging from simple to complex – from one-on-one conversations, to small group discussions and departmental meetings, to presenting at conferences.  Learn how to “hold your own” in sometimes challenging interactions such as expressing your opinion, agreeing and disagreeing or at departmental social events or job interviews.  Interesting, up-to-date online materials promote the development of vocabulary, grammatical accuracy, and pronunciation. 

GRD 730 Developing Your Professional Image
**Jan. 28 to Apr. 8
One Section: Mondays 5:30 to 8pm                                                                            Location: TBA
3 credit hours
Contact Alan Corbin at
Build communication skills and learning strategies while exploring cultural values. Through small-group interaction, students learn to effectively discuss their opinions, organize effective talks, and analyze complex problems. This Level 3 course prepares students for the kinds of communication expected in graduate school – participating in academic discussions; debating scholarly projects with colleagues; and delivering formal talks at professional meetings.

Pronunciation and Accent Improvement

*GRD 714: Individualized Pronunciation & Intelligibility Instruction                                                 
Jan. 9 to May 10
(Prerequisite: GRD 724 or permission of instructor) 3 to 5 credit hours per semester  
Contact Jonghee Shadix at .
Students in Individualized Instruction have acquired basic speaking skills in group instruction and are now ready for fine-tuning their language abilities with an experienced instructor, who tailors lessons to their particular pronunciation needs. The course includes a thorough diagnostic and goal-setting session, followed by one-to-one instruction in the sounds and rhythms of English, including computer-assisted language mapping and techniques used by professional actors.

*GRD 725 Advanced Pronunciation & Intelligibility Workshop                                                  
Wednesdays, Jan. 9 to May 8, 5:30 to 8pm                                                                Location: TBA
(Prerequisite: permission of instructor required) 3 credit hours
Contact Jonghee Shadix at
This course is for those students who have completed the individualized instruction or who have the equivalent proficiency of those who have completed. By applying the voice and speech works of actor training, the students will practice speaking in longer stretches of the speech without losing the clarity of the message. This course helps students prepare for thesis and dissertation defenses, lecturing, and talks given at professional conferences and interviews.

Academic Writing

*GRD 726 Introduction to Research Writing                                                                    
**Jan. 28 to Apr. 10                                                                                                     Location: TBA
Two Sections: 01AMondays 3-6pm (designed specifically for International Students, and 01BWednesdays 3-6pm (for 5th Year & Honors Students)         (Prereq: Wrtg Assessment Level 2 or higher)        3 credit hrsContactJennifer L. Greer at
Designed for international students and researchers who want to write and publish in English-language journals.  Offers small-group instruction, research writing practice, peer review, instructor feedback, and techniques in self-editing. 

GRD 727 Writing & Reviewing Research
**Jan. 28 to Apr. 11                                                                                                     Location: TBA
Five Sections: 01A—Mondays 6 to 9pm, 01B—Wednesdays 6 to 9pm, 01C—Tuesdays 6 to 9pm (designed specifically for International Students), and two Online sections – QL and QN (designed specifically for Nursing students)
(Prerequisite for multilingual writers: English Language Writing Assessment minimum score of 3 or permission of instructor)  
3 credit hours; Contact Jennifer L. Greer at
Designed for individuals writing research and review papers.  Offers instruction in strategies and techniques, practice, peer review, and instructor feedback.  Instructor approval required for second-language writers. Note: Self motivated? Working from home? Take GRD 727 online.  

GRD 728 Professional Writing & Publishing
Jan. 28 to Apr. 26 (12-week class)                                                                              Location: TBA
One Section:  QL (online)
(Prerequisite for multilingual writers: English Language Writing Assessment minimum score of 3 or permission of instructor)  
3 credit hours; Contact Jennifer L. Greer at
Designed for researchers seeking to write and publish professionally.  Includes writing in field, peer review, self-editing, and coaching.  Instructor approval required for second-language writers. 

GRD 737 Successful Dissertation Process
(Prerequisite: GRD 736)  Required:  Must be writing dissertation proposal or dissertation in 2012.         
One Section:  Wednesdays, 5:30 to 8pm                                                                    Location: TBA
3 credit hours  Contact Dr. Susan Olmstead at
This semester-long workshop for dissertation writers encourages efficient writing progress according to the writers’ stated goals.  Building on strategies from GRD 736, writers set short-, mid-, and long-term goals, and then assess their writing progress.  Writers meet in class to learn specific dissertation writing practices, to develop effective peer-editing skills, and to provide support for their own practice and for that of their classmates.  Writers will send drafts regularly to the professor for writing coaching and will meet individually with her once a month to discuss and to support progress.

GRD 717 Principles of Scientific Integrity
Fridays, Jan. 11 to Mar. 15, 2 to 4:30pm                                                                    Meets in CEC 140
3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Jeffrey Engler at
This course surveys ethical issues and principles in the practice of science. Among the topics discussed are the nature, extent, and causes of fraud in the sciences; UAB policies on fraud; ideals of good science; the responsibilities of authorship and peer review; potential problems raised by the commercialization of research; scientists as public policy advisors; and ethical issues involved in animal experimentation and in clinical trials.

Fellowship & Grant Writing

GRD 709 Fellowship Writing
Fridays, 2 to 4pm – Jan. 18, Feb. 8, Feb. 22, Mar. 29, Apr.12                                               Location: TBA
3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at
This hand-on workshop takes students through the fellowship or grant writing process from finding funding sources to writing a successful narrative. Topics also include finding the right funding source to match your research topic, the fellowship or grant writing process, the writing and editing process, and effective revisions. Students will prepare a fellowship or grant proposal during the semester.

College Teaching

GRD 705 Teaching at the College Level and Beyond
Mondays, Jan. 14 to May 6, 5:30 to 8pm                                                                    Location: TBA
2 or 3 credit hours; Contact Dr. Julia Austin at or Nancy Abney at
This course provides an overview of many important aspects of teaching at the college level and beyond. Topics include designing a course and writing an effective syllabus, writing learning objectives, enhancing lectures, testing and grading, dealing with challenging students and difficult situations, learning and the brain, and accessing appropriate active learning strategies.

GRD 716 Developing a Teaching Portfolio                                                             Location: TBA
Two class meetings (2/1 & 3/15) 1:00-3:00pm and weekly online assignments                     
2 credit hours; Contact Nancy Abney at
This hybrid course guides participants in developing a Teaching Portfolio for improving teaching practices and enhancing job search potential.  The web-based curriculum introduces essential elements of the portfolio, provides tools for gathering necessary documentation, and through individual feedback from the instructor, assists participants in drafting a personal Philosophy of Teaching, upon which the Portfolio is built. 

Preparing Tomorrow’s Professionals