The Graduate Research School offers a range of flexible Professional Development options; face to face, via Zoom and online (hosted in the Higher Degree by Research Organisation on LearnJCU). 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.
Included in the Professional Development Program is a series of sessions and online modules that are optional, termed Flexible Components. All HDR candidates are welcome to undertake these sessions and modules if they are useful and interesting to them. Doctoral candidates may count them towards the doctoral subject RD7003 Professional Development. MPhil candidates may count them towards RM7003 Professional Development. Note, however, that there is no requirement for MPhil candidates to undertake RM7003, although they are welcome to opt into this subject if they wish. All candidates are encouraged to consider the best mix of PD activities for their project and their future employment, choosing freely from the GRS, JCU and external offerings, with the support and approval of their advisory team.
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.
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: Monday 19 July at 10am - 12:30pm AEST / 8am - 10:30am SGT
In person, you may have given presentations, possibly to a class or your peers, perhaps a confirmation seminar, a mid-candidature review, or maybe even a conference presentation. However, presenting on-line is a whole different consideration. How do you continue to present effectively, when most times, you cannot see or hear your audience. You still need to engage them and gain their participation. You need to communicate skilfully and with conviction as well as maintain their attention when they have a myriad of tempting distractions.
This workshop will cover:
Knowing your key message and making it relevant to your audience
Preparing materials specifically for an on-line environment
How to structure and link parts of your talk
How to engage your audience and keep their attention throughout your presentation
Using your webcam, what can your audience see
Knowing the other tools available and when to use them
How to handle questions
Dealing with nervousness
Presenting yourself effectively
And it will be interactive and fun!
Who is it for: Anyone who has to present at a conference or give a seminar or a lecture on their area of expertise.
When: Monday 19 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 3:30pm AEST / 11:30am - 1:30pm SGT
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: Tuesday 20 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 4pm AEST / 11:30am to 2pm SGT
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: Wednesday 21 July 2021 at 1:30pm - 4pm AEST / 11:30am - 2pm SGT
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: Thursday 22 July 2021 at 11am - 1pm AEST / 9am - 11am SGT
Do you find that despite your best efforts to ‘work on your thesis’ or get your research output going it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Does there always seem to be something more urgent, interesting or important to do? Perhaps you are self-sabotaging. If you think you procrastinate, are a perfectionist, don’t say no often enough, are disorganised or are always ‘busy’, this seminar will help you to understand why your thesis or research isn’t getting done and what you can do about it.
This workshop will help you understand some of the key self-sabotaging behaviours and what you can do about them:
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: Monday 22 November 2021 at 2pm to 4:30pm AEST / 12pm to 2:30pm SGT via Zoom
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: Tuesday 23 November 2021 at 10am to 12:30pm AEST / 8am to 10:30am SGT via Zoom
Increasingly PhD students are being told to publish during their candidature and many students are hoping to complete a PhD that consists substantially or entirely of publications. Some universities now require students to publish at least one paper during their candidature.
While this is a great way to help students be more employable in academia once they have finished, it can be daunting as a student when you don’t understand how the “secret squirrel society” works. This workshop will help to unpack how publishing in academia works so that you have a better understanding of how to successfully publish during your PhD.
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: Thursday 25 November 2021 at 2:30pm to 4:30pm AEST / 12:30pm to 2:30pm SGT via Zoom
These days if you want to work in academia when you finish your PhD it is important to know there are no guarantees for getting a job so you should always have a plan B! But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some things to try and position yourself favourably so that it at least remains an option.
And at the moment you are probably so busy just trying to get your PhD finished that it is hard to even think about what might come next. However, if you are interested in continuing in academia, it is now, while doing your PhD, that it would be good to think about what this might entail and what you could be doing to increase your chances of getting a job.
This workshop will discuss what is involved in a career as an academic. What is expected of you and what skills are required. We will also discuss things you can be doing now that will make it more likely that you will get a job. This will involve a combination of strategic choices (publishing, presenting etc) and getting yourself known (self promotion, but done nicely!).
In this workshop you will learn:
what being an academic/researcher is really like
what is expected of academics/researchers
what you could be doing now to increase your chances of getting a job in academia
what are reasonable research goals for your discipline
how to get yourself known
how to make contacts that will increase your chances of getting a job
how to generally improve your profile and make yourself more interesting!
how to deal with the uncertainty of employment in academia
Who is it for: HDR candidates
When: Friday 26 November 2021 at 10am to 12:30pm AEST / 8am to 10:30am SGT via Zoom
Some candidates may be required to undertake Conditional Components, depending upon the nature of their project and their existing skills.
Conditional Components may be a requirement of both PhD and MPhil programs. Professional development activities undertaken as a Conditional Component may be counted towards Flexible Component hours for the purposes of RD7003 and RM7003 Professional Development. These components may include the Academic Writing and Editing (AWE) program, which replaces Skills for International Postgraduates (SKIP) in 2022, which advisory teams may require candidates to undertake as a condition of candidature. 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).