RD7003 Elective Workshops

The Elective Workshops program has undergone some necessary changes to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of our elective workshops are now available in both face-to-face and Zoom format. All face-to-face workshops adhere to strict Covid-19 hygiene protocols.

Apart from Zoom workshops, we also offer a range of flexible online PD options, hosted in the Higher Degree by Research Organisation on LearnJCU. We particularly recommend that you access the suite of Epigeum modules, which provide high quality flexible PD options. Please see this site for more detail on what is available: Make the most of Professional Development.

Please also see what External options are available here.

We encourage PhD candidates to continue fulfilling the requirements of RD7003 Professional Development during these challenging times. However, we are introducing some flexibility into the administrative arrangements to acknowledge that the pandemic may have interrupted your PD plans. Candidates who are approaching Mid-Candidature Review, at which time they would normally have been required to have completed 50 hours of their Elective Component, may now defer finalising their entire Elective Component (that is, all 90 hours) until the Pre-Completion Milestone. This means that you will not need to demonstrate the completion of 50 hours of Elective Component at Mid-Candidature, but instead can finalise the whole requirement near the end of candidature. Note that if you are approaching Mid-Candidature and you already have your 50 hours, you can go ahead and claim them at that milestone, as per the usual guidelines. This new measure is intended for those who are finding it difficult at present to undertake PD activities and would like a bit more time. When submitting MCR paperwork, please make a note that you would like to defer your Elective Component until Pre-Completion, and the GRS team will make a note on your file. Those who choose this option should note that the subject RD7003 will not be able to be passed until Pre-Completion.

Included in the Professional Development Program is a series of sessions and online modules that are optional, termed Elective Components. There is no requirement for Research Masters candidates to complete Elective Components; however they are encouraged to do so as part of their HDR Professional Development Audit Plan.

Research Doctorate candidates must attend at least 52 hours of elective professional development activities in the first 18 months of full-time equivalent candidature, by the Mid-Candidature Review Milestone. Research Doctorate candidates enrolled after 1 January 2018 must also complete a further 40 hours of elective professional development by the Pre-Completion Evaluation Milestone.

The Elective Components provided as part of the GRS Professional Development Program can be used towards fulfilling that requirement, as may non-GRS activities that fit the criteria of training and are approved by each candidate’s candidature committee

Thinkwell Workshops

Maria Gardiner and Hugh Kearns have worked as an award winning team for the past fifteen years. They are well known as leading practitioners and researchers in cognitive behavioural coaching. As well as publishing ten books that have sold many thousands of copies, they are regular contributors to Australian media, including a popular segment on ABC radio.

Their particular expertise is in working with high performers and they have a long history of providing specialist services to the medical and academic professions.

For more information visit their website.

The literature on research higher degree completions indicates that it is the relationship between the supervisor and the student that has the biggest influence on timely completions. So what is it that students, and supervisors, should be doing to ensure the quickest and least difficult way through the sometimes rocky path of the PhD? And how do you deal with issues such as maximising the benefits from meetings, disagreeing with your supervisor, learning at the feet of the wise while retaining your own creativity and originality?

Learn all of this and much more, including:

  • Your individual learning preferences – how you and your supervisor might be approaching the learning process
  • Great meetings and how to have them
  • Using meeting agendas to improve meeting productivity
  • Receiving feedback
  • Tools you can benignly and gently give to your supervisor to assist your supervision
  • Tricky supervision situations
  • Co-supervision and all its various forms
  • AWOL students and supervisors

Who is it for: Research students at any point in their candidature

When: TBA

Would you like to know the secret to high output, high quality, scholarly writing? In academia, because writing is such a big part of what you do, it is often assumed that it comes naturally. However, for most academics, it can be a hit and miss activity, with some days (weeks or even months!) being hard to get started. And when you do get started you might sit there for hours and not produce many words. Finally, when the words are on the page, you may wonder why you bothered since what you have written isn’t very good.

This workshop draws on the overwhelming body of research (and experience with thousands of writers). This research shows that there are very clear and practical evidence-based strategies that can greatly increase your writing quality and quantity. Key aspects of this workshop have featured in the journal Nature.

This workshop will help you to understand:

  • why it can be hard to get started
  • how we deliberately use distractions to slow down writing
  • the principles of quick starting
  • why snack writing is generally more productive than binge writing
  • how to deal with the internal committee that slows down writing
  • how to set achievable goals by writing in a silo
  • how to greatly double (or more) the number of actual words you produce
  • how to clarify your thinking and improve the quality of your work

Who is it for: Researchers and research students

When: TBA

Do you know the single most important thing that determines the quality of a piece of academic writing? You might think it is the data that you have. Or perhaps it is the literature on which you base your research question. Maybe it is the theory you choose. While all these things are important, none of them is as important as the narrative that you construct in your writing.

This workshop will show you why narrative is so important and how to construct a narrative. There will be demonstrations of creating a narrative and opportunity to practice creating your own narrative for either a part of your work or your whole work.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • why narrative is so important
  • where you will find the narrative
  • the power of the 10 year old, and if that doesn’t work, the border collie
  • how language gets in the way of narrative
  • how to recognise narrative in others work
  • how to write the narrative of your own piece of work

Who is it for: HDR students at any stage of their candidature

When: TBA

It's tempting to think that if you are clever and work hard then people will notice and shower you with rewards. Tempting, but probably not true. As well as being clever and working hard you also need to be able to promote yourself.

In this workshop you will learn strategies for: putting yourself out there, asking for what you want, taking responsibility – not waiting for it to happen, developing your one minute pitch and presenting yourself effectively for promotions, grants, and awards.

This workshop will look at:

  • asking for what you want
  • why waiting isn’t enough
  • why it is hard to self-promote (and why you need to)
  • using convincing language
  • developing a convincing pitch
  • social media – should you bother?
  • media and other methods to communicate
  • why publication is just the beginning – 20 things to consider doing with your paper once it has been published

Who is it for: Academics, researchers and HDR students. Most suitable for academics/researchers, but HDR students will still find it useful.

When: TBA

Are you losing momentum and enthusiasm as you approach the final stages of your thesis? Perhaps you are in the “writing up” phase or maybe you haven’t started writing at all and are daunted by the size of the task ahead. Or maybe you just need some motivation and support to keep going.

This workshop is designed to assist research students who are close to completion to focus their efforts, deal with specific obstacles, increase writing productivity and maintain momentum. It will also assist students to prioritise and plan their final months.

The workshop has limited places to allow for individualised coaching.

This workshop will cover:

  • identifying the next steps
  • strategies for overcoming blockages
  • getting words on paper
  • ensuring you get feedback
  • developing a completion plan

Who is it for: Research students who are in the last 6-9 months of their candidature. It is highly recommended that participants have attended the Turbocharge your Writing workshop.

** There are only 15 places available in this workshop **

When: TBA

It is sometimes called the curse of the high performer. How can it be that so many clever, competent and capable people can feel that they are just one step away from being exposed as a complete fraud? Despite evidence that they are performing well they can still have that lurking fear that at any moment someone is going to tap them on the shoulder and say "We need to have a chat". Academia is full of high performers and even more full of situations that might make you feel like a fraud (ever heard of reviewer 2?!).

The session will explain why high performing people often doubt their abilities and find it hard to enjoy their successes.

At the end of this session you will:

  • know what the latest psychological research tells us about the imposter syndrome is and how it operates
  • realise how widespread imposter feelings are and why highly successful people can feel like frauds
  • understand what situations provoke feelings of being an imposter
  • be aware of evidence-based strategies that reduce imposter feelings

Who is it for: Academics, researchers and HDR candidates

When: TBA

What do research higher degree (RHD) students do to finish on time, to overcome isolation, doubt and writer’s block, and to enjoy the process? And just as importantly what do they do in order to spend guilt-free time with their family and friends and perhaps even have holidays? If this sounds appealing, then this session will be of particular use to you.

This workshop describes the key habits that our research and experience with thousands of students shows will make a difference to how quickly and easily you complete your RHD. Just as importantly, these habits can greatly reduce the stress and increase the pleasure involved in completing a RHD.

The workshop helps you to understand how to increase your effectiveness and outcomes in the following key areas:

  • how you deal with your supervisor
  • how you structure your study time
  • your attitude (or lack thereof!) in relation to your research
  • dealing with writer’s block or having difficulty writing
  • getting the help you need when you are stuck
  • juggling multiple commitments and never having enough time
  • keeping on going when the going gets tough

Who is it for: Suitable for research students at any point in their candidature.

When: TBA

A PhD is a major undertaking yet many people spend more time planning a weekend away than they do planning the next three years of their life. This generally leads to missing deadlines, running overtime, regular crises and lots of stress. If you want to finish on time and enjoy the process along the way then it is important to have a good plan.

You need some very specific skills and tools to plan a PhD. This workshop will introduce you to the PhD Planning Toolkit. You will learn how to use these tools to:

  • create your big picture thesis plan
  • unpack your thesis down into logical parts
  • create tasks lists for each stage of your thesis
  • estimate times and schedule tasks
  • create a Gantt chart for your thesis
  • keep on track as you implement your plan
  • plan your writing
  • manage the finances
  • identify risks and deal with setbacks

At the end of the workshop you will have your own PhD Planning Toolkit and know how to use it to plan your PhD.

Who is it for: Suitable for PhD candidates in early to mid-candidature.

When: TBA

So you're a researcher. Chances are then that you are pretty busy. Firstly there's your research. Writing proposals. Getting ethics approval. Dealing with the paperwork. Meetings. Applying for grants. Getting grants and then managing the money and the people. Writing reports. And that's all before you even get to the actual research. Then there's papers to write, rejection letters to deal with and conferences to attend.

And for most people research is just one of the things you do. You might teach or tutor, run demonstrations, or manage a unit or even have another completely different job.

And that's just work. No matter how much you enjoy your research it's a fair bet that there are other parts to your life too. For example you probably have a family or friends, you may have social commitments and you may even have some personal interests.

This workshop will describe the most useful strategies that thousands of researchers have found helpful in balancing the many demands on their time.

  • how to be effective with your time
  • specific strategies for coping with email overload
  • picking the right things to work on
  • dealing with distractions and interruptions
  • how to say NO gracefully
  • setting boundaries
  • looking after me

Who is it for: Suitable for anyone who is juggling research with many other demands.

When: TBA

Undertaking a PhD is both an exciting and challenging experience. It can be an emotional roller-coaster. The excitement of working on something you care about, exploring new ideas and making a contribution to knowledge. The challenges of feeling isolated and overwhelmed, dealing with setbacks, uncertainty, conflict and loss of motivation. Inevitably over the course of your PhD you will experience times when things aren’t going so well. This workshop draws on evidence-based strategies to help YOU stay well during your PhD.

Topics will include:

  • Managing the workload
  • Resilience and finding a balance
  • Learning how to switch off
  • Dealing with worries about setbacks and progress
  • Good habits e.g. exercise, sleep, routines
  • Dealing with isolation, lack of structure and loss of motivation
  • Procrastination, perfectionism and over-committing
  • Disagreements with supervisors and other colleagues
  • Support for more serious mental health issues
  • Supporting friends/colleagues who may be struggling

Who is it for:  for PhD researchers who want to explore ways to stay well during their research career.

When: TBA

Mapping your ideas is a creative way to organise your thinking. There are a range of tools such as concept maps, mind maps or idea maps.

These mapping techniques are used all over the world by students, teachers, researchers and in business as a way of improving learning and increasing creativity. They can be used to: organise the content and ideas in your thesis, structure a paper or report you need to write, prepare your lecture or presentation, or record brainstorming sessions. They are effective, easy to use and most of all FUN. In this workshop you will learn by doing. You will see how a idea map is created and then create your own using your own topic.

The workshop will include opportunities for you to use idea mapping with your own project. So bring along your ideas (and some coloured pencils)!

This is a learning by doing workshop. You will get to try out different approaches, see what others do and get guidance and suggestions on how you can get the most out of idea maps. In the workshop you will:

  • Find out about the different types of maps (concept, mind, idea)
  • Learn guidelines you can apply in developing maps
  • See examples of idea maps
  • Use maps to boost creativity
  • Find out about further resources

Who is it for: Suitable for anyone who wants hands-on experience of using idea maps.

When: TBA

Thirty years of the best research in psychology has shown that it is possible to change habits and behaviours that can get in the way of us achieving our full potential. It is possible to change the beliefs that underpin our behaviours and consequently our successes . Despite there being an incontrovertible evidence base for how to improve our thinking and therefore our behaviours, the skills required to do this are not readily available to those wanting to maximise their performance. And this is certainly not available to those who work in universities. This unique workshop will bring you the latest research and practice in cognitive behavioural coaching (CBC) and show you have to apply it to your everyday life.

This workshop is an excellent one to do if you have already attended other ThinkWell courses, although it will still be useful for those who are attending for the first time.

In this workshop you will:

  • Find out what CBC is
  • Understand the fundamental thinking errors that reduce our performance
  • Discover how  we can use CBC to improve our performance
  • Develop the skills you need to use it for yourself
  • Explore other things that CBC is good for – confidence, resilience, work/life balance, good mental health and more!

Who is it for: Suitable for researchers and research students.

When: TBA

Conditional Components

Some candidates may be required to undertake Conditional Components, depending upon several factors, including the nature of their project and whether they are enrolled as international candidates.

Conditional Components may be a requirement of both PhD and Masters by Research programs. In the case of PhD candidates, Conditional Component activities are counted towards Elective Component hours for the purposes of RD7003 Professional Development. These components include the Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP) program, which is compulsory for all international HDR candidates in the first year of their study. They may also involve the writing support program associated with the Post-Entry Language Assessment (PELA) system.

Other Conditional Components include diving, boating or other safety training requirements, or human or animal research ethics workshops (additional to compulsory ethics training).