Professional Development

The Graduate College offers these and many other professional development opportunities:

CELT (Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching)

Our mission is to support, promote, and enhance teaching effectiveness and student learning; encourage scholarship of teaching and learning; communicate the importance of teaching and learning to both internal and external audiences; and serve as a catalyst for learning-centered education.

  • Facilitate the professional and intellectual development of faculty, staff, and graduate students as educators.
  • Promote and support a community of teacher-scholars where the theory and practice of teaching and learning are shared.
  • Help instructors and academic units develop, implement, and assess instructional approaches and methods.
  • Foster innovations in university teaching.
  • Advocate appropriate use of technology in enhancing university teaching and learning.
  • Help individual instructors assess their teaching effectiveness and their students’ learning.
  • Sustain a university culture that recognizes and rewards both scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Promote student learning as central to accomplishing the teaching/learning mission of the university.

Professional Development

Developing professional skills is an essential component of a graduate student's career; whether it's speaking at a conference, learning how to network with other academics, or preparing your first vitae. The Graduate College has identified 6-essential skills to help graduate students and postdocs become successful in their respective disciplines. The six core competencies are: Career, Communication, Management, Research, Teaching, and Wellness.

Preparing Future Faculty

The PFF program supplements departmental graduate preparation by offering new teaching, mentoring, and learning possibilities, which give postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, and master’s students further credentialing for a competitive academic job market. PFF’s goal is to better prepare graduates for faculty careers through a combination of seminars, mentoring, and practical classroom and departmental service experiences.

Center for Communication Excellence 

The new Center for Communication Excellence offers free individual consultations with graduate writing consultants. Students working on their thesis or dissertation, journal article, research proposal, conference paper, poster presentation, etc. can make appointments with DisciplinaryInterdisciplinary, and English Writing Consultants. Students can also join graduate peer review groups, attend seminars and workshops, and access various other resources

For more information, contact Elena Cotos at

Grad College Emerging Leaders Academy

Our graduate students and postdocs are developing extremely strong expertise in their disciplines. Yet the challenges our society is facing require more than just expertise, these challenges require a new generation of leaders who can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives. ISU is committed to developing these skills in our strongest and most promising graduate students and postdocs. Hence in In Fall 2015 we will gather a cohort of approximately 20 young leaders in the Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GC-ELA). We will be seeking leaders with broad career aspirations, industry, government, NGO, entrepreneur, and academia.

Here are some testimonials from our 2013/14 participants:

"In GC-ELA, I have engaged in a different type of learning than any experienced as an academic thus far. In GC-ELA, I've learned about how I lead and interact with people. The meetings prompted self-reflection and thought-provoking discussions and activities regarding leadership styles. I already feel like a more well-rounded individual, both professionally and personally."

"I started this program thinking I have at least a basic idea about what leadership means. During the short period of time I was involved in GC-ELA proved how little I actually knew about being a true leader, and what leadership really means. I have learned more about myself, my type personality, my leadership style, what strengths I bring in to a team environment, what are my weakness, how to overcome them. This program changed the way I view things in general. I learned about team building, communication, and the importance of being a culturally competent leader in a society which is vastly diverse. It was a delight to hear from the experts from different fields how they tackle problems, what makes them more successful, and what qualities we need to cultivate as future leaders. I would never have given the considerations as to which members should be included in a team to cover all the bases, had I not learnt the importance of what type personalities should be included in a team for it to be a successful team."

The academy will be for one year with approximately 5 full-day sessions each semester. The program sessions will focus on:

  • Leadership research, theory and practice
  • Ethics
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Innovation
  • The effects of gender and diversity issues on work teams
  • Communication
  • The program culminates in a semester-long mentoring experience for each participant with a current Iowa State leader

The members of the GC-ELA cohort are selected by nomination. The deadline is April 15, 2015. We invite faculty, department chairs and Directors of Graduate Education (DOGE) to nominate a graduate student or postdoc by completing the nomination form. Upon acceptance into the GC-ELA, the nominating Department or graduate program will need to pay $500 to cover the costs of the program.

Nominations will be open again in early 2016.

See all academy leaders starting from 2014 here.