Reflections Newsletter

Issue 1, January 2021

Welcome to my monthly newsletter!

On the final Thursday of each month you'll get this in your inbox featuring digests from my personal blog, Reflections, and updates and news related to career and professional development for advanced-degree holders. This effort has grown out of my experience as a graduate student and postdoc and now as a professional working in postdoctoral affairs. 

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Reflections Blog Digest: January 2021


Compounded Returns: Growing Your Network & Personal Brand

We build our personal brand over time and can experience outsized returns if we start early and seek out means of increasing our rate of return which could include:

  • Publishing your scholarly work
  • Leveraging LinkedIn and/or a personal website
  • Sharing your work via online platforms
  • Growing your network & reach
  • Developing relationships 
  • Communicating your story broadly

Read My Latest Blog Post

Revisiting Past Blog Posts

Getting involved in my local postdoctoral association changed the course of my career. Seeking out experiences beyond your "day job" can build new skills & connections. 

Read More

What do you want to be when you grow up? Using online tools can help with your career exploration process. 

Read More

Data show that career outcomes for individuals holding a Ph.D. have changed rapidly in just a few years time. This doesn't mean, though, graduate students and postdocs don't have career options. 

Read More

News & Other Updates

Ontario Implements Performance Based Funding for Postsecondary Institutions

  • Starting in 2022-2023 the province of Ontario in Canada will tie ~60% of its funding toward postsecondary education (~$5.2 billion per year) to performance-based metrics including graduate employment rates in a related field & graduate employment earnings, among others.
  • This initiative moves away from government funding based on student enrollment, which some have argued creates perverse incentives to grow student enrollment at the expense of focusing on student success. 
  • Is this the future of higher education? There are certainly doubters.
  • For commentary & analysis on performance-based funding of higher education in the United States see this piece in The Conversation.

The Ontario announcement has resurfaced an ongoing argument of whether higher education should focus on specific skill development targeted toward employment prospects or a broader, "liberal arts" education that encourages students to think critically and creatively. Undoubtedly, somewhere in the middle is most appropriate. 

For more see:

What Matters More: Skills or Degrees? 

Liberal Arts Grads Win Long-Term

Research in Professional Development

Measuring effects of trainee professional development on research productivity: A cross-institutional meta-analysis

In this pre-print, a team of researchers leverage NIH BEST​ data to show that engagement in career and professional development programming does not negatively impact time to degree or research productivity of graduate students.  

Implications: This study can help advocates of graduate student professional development programming convince faculty that having their students engage with such programming will not negatively affect their ability to be productive in their course or lab work. 

More Research to Explore

Resources for Trainees

For Further Reading & Exploration

Carpe Careers Column
National Science Foundation Data
Data on PhD & Postdoc Training: NGLS 

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