Given the ever-changing and increasingly challenging career landscape now facing today’s trainees, the UAB Graduate School and the Office of Postdoctoral Education (OPE) together offer a number of career-related and professional development opportunities for both pre- and post-docs campus-wide.
Workshops / Orientation:The Graduate School and OPE offer a variety of workshops that promote the awareness of career paths and the development of professional skills. Past and on-going topics / opportunities include ‘Transition to Independence Seminar Series’, ‘Career Summit Series’, and ‘Graduate Student and Postdoc Research Days’. These events are open to all graduate students and postdocs. The Graduate School and OPE also provide orientation sessions for new trainees that introduce UAB academic and administrative units as well as provides training in research ethics, compliance, and IDPs.
Courses: The Graduate School and OPE offer courses in professional and career development; a sample listing is provided below. OPE also offers all postdocs a tuition benefit of up to 6 credit hours of tuition each year of appointment.
- ‘GRD 701 Presentation & Discussion Skills’- 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 705 Teaching at the College Level and Beyond’ - 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 709 Grant Writing Course’ – This course, which is offered by the OPE in collaboration with the Graduate School, introduces every aspect of grant writing, including selecting funding mechanisms, writing individual grant sections and understanding administrative policies, to postdoctoral scholars and senior graduate students. In addition, this course provides each participant with the opportunity to write a grant and have it reviewed through a ‘mock-study section’.
- ‘GRD 733 Managing & Leading Teams’ - This course will cover the latest science in managing and leading teams across disciplines, focusing on the student’s development of team presentations, peer discussion and review.
- ‘Laboratory Management’- This course introduces every aspect of laboratory management, including hiring staff, managing start-up budgets, and practicing safe laboratory practices, to all senior graduate stduents and postdoctoral scholars.
- ‘Translational Science for Postdoctoral Scholars’– This course introduces postdoctoral scholars to major aspects of preparing a translational science research program, including program design, data analysis, and regulatory requirements.
- ‘Career Exploration’- This course introduces every aspect of preparing for and completing a job search, including career options, preparing CVs and resumes, and interviewing skills. Participants will also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a community partners in science-related career paths. The course is open to postdocs and graduate students with mentors’ permission.
Award Mechanisms: The OPE also sponsors several award mechanisms that allow postdoctoral scholars to further their educational opportunities within and outside of UAB.
- The OPE Scholars Award - A financial incentive designed to encourage postdocs to apply for and receive individual
- The OPE Career Enhancement Award – Ten awards per year to aid postdocs in performing educational activities outside of UAB; eligible activities include attending extramural courses and collaborative studies.
- The OPE Internship Award - Two awards per year to assist postdocs in their performance of internships in teaching, administration, or industry.
- The OPE Travel Award - Ten awards per year to support postdocs’ travel to scientific meetings for the purpose of giving an .
Certificate Programs: OPE collaborates with other units across campus to offer certificate programs to postdocs and graduate students, where noted.
- Mentored Experiences in Research, Instruction, and Teaching (MERIT) Program - The primary goal of this NIH-funded program is to provide postdoctoral scholars with outstanding research and teaching experiences while improving the recruitment of underrepresented minorities into the field of biomedical research. It includes 4 years of concurrent research training and teaching instruction and is facilitated in partnership with Stillman College and Oakwood University.
- Business Certificate Program in Life Sciences Entrepreneurship- The mission of this program is to: i) provide knowledge in the areas of business and entrepreneurship to UAB trainees, including postdocs and graduate students; ii) further cross-institutional collaborations among UAB schools; and iii) promote interactions between UAB and the Birmingham business community.
- UAB EXPERIENCES Program – The purpose of this program is to introduce UAB trainees to science-related career options in five strategic areas: i) business and entrepreneurship; ii) public policy, government, and non-profit organizations; iii) research administration; iv) science communication; and v) science education. It includes a series of Interactive Simulation Exercises for Career Transitions (job simulations), observational shadowing, and immersion experiences in each of these areas. Mentor permission is required for participation.
Career Advising and On-line Tools: A full-time, on-site Career Advisor is available to UAB graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Specifically, the Career Advisor assists these trainees with job searches, crafting resumes and curriculum vita, networking, and negotiating. Career-related on-line tools, including VersaPhD and PhDCareers, are also available to trainees at no-cost.