RD7003 Elective Workshops

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 Elective 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. 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 Plan.  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.

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.

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

Register via CareerHub

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
  • Practice
  • Delivery
  • 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

Register via CareerHub

No matter how well you prepare for your presentation, the part that freaks out most researchers is question time.

  • What if there are no questions?
  • What if they ask really tricky questions that I can’t answer?
  • Worse, what if they ask really easy questions that I can’t answer?
  • What do I do if I don’t know the answer?
  • What do I do if I can’t understand the question?

Fortunately, you can prepare for question time. You can predict and get ready for most of the obvious questions. And you can learn strategies to deal with the others.

  • Topics will include:
  • Preparing for questions
  • Inviting questions
  • Dealing with tricky questions
  • What to do if you don’t know
  • Coping with the anxiety
  • Lists of typical questions
  • Asking questions

Who is it for: Researchers and research students who need to present their research and answer questions.

When: Tuesday 20 July 2021 at 11am - 12:30pm AEST / 9am - 10:30am SGT

Register via CareerHub

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

Register via CareerHub

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

Register via CareerHub

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

Register via CareerHub

The following workshops to be confirmed. They will be presented via Zoom in November 2021

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

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).