CBIO 844: Professional Development

Instructor(s): Christine Booth

Number of Credit Hours: 1

Cross-listings: None

Prerequisites: This course has no formal prerequisites, but basic knowledge of math, biology, biochemistry, chemistry and/or communication will be assumed.

Description: The goal of this course is to help you acquire the skills and confidence needed to define and navigate your own path to success in graduate school and feel more prepared to take the next step after graduation. Specific skills taught and topics covered may include: using your resources, critical evaluation of the primary literature, project management, time management, mentoring and being mentored, publishing protocols and pitfalls, presenting your science, the art of communicating your work, tips for communicating with colleagues, networking to get a job, and the job interview. The course format will include a combination of lectures, group discussions, peer evaluations, presentations, and reading primary literature.

Learning Outcomes/Course Objectives

  1. Describe your career goals post-graduate school and evaluate how you are selecting a lab and research project that will enable you to work towards those goals to build success into your scientific career.
    1. Know and understand the types of resources available to students to help facilitate academic and personal success.
    2. Describe, organize, and prioritize tasks relating to graduate study.
    3. Classify your strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies suited to your personality to achieve your success.
    4. Summarize and compare career paths to develop individualized routes to your success.
    5. Integrate learning about tasks, strengths and weaknesses, strategies, and paths into an individual development plan that is suitable to you and your mentor. 
  2. Present scientific information in both oral and written formats in ways accessible to others with scientific backgrounds outside of your own specialization.
    1. Deconstruct the parts of a scientific story and assess the quality of the story.
    2. Recognize features and usefulness of presentation for communicating your science at a professional meeting/conference.
    3. Construct relevant social media posts and/or “elevator talks” which promote your scientific and professional goals.
    4. Apply scientific storytelling to your own work by developing written and verbal summaries of your research.
  3. Effectively read the scientific literature, and understand what constitutes scientific misconduct.
    1. For individual papers, assess what was known previously, the hypotheses put forward, and critically assess whether the results put forward by the authors represent an effective test by the authors.
    2. Name and classify the types of papers used in scientific disciplines
    3. Indicate the considerations of publishing and select the journal(s) that best meet your goals/needs.
    4. For journals relevant to your area of study summarize the requirements for publishing a research paper.
    5. Know how to avoid committing misconduct yourself, and how to deal with observing others committing apparent misconduct.
    6. Introduce the themes related to the politics of publishing and resources for fact-checking popular press articles.