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.

Career Planning

Here is a link to career planning information for PhD students from Karin Lawton-Dunn, the career planning resource person at the Grad College provided by Craig Ogilvie, Assistant Dean of the Graduate College in Summer 2017.

While it is not specific to ISU, it does provide interesting information that you, your colleagues, and your students could use to think about the career trajectories of your PhD students:

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

As you know the challenges of our society require a new generation of leaders who not only have in-depth expertise, but can build collaborations, work across disciplines, and forge stronger solutions from diverse perspectives. To develop these skills in our strongest and most promising graduate students and postdocs, annually we select a cohort of approximately 20 young leaders in the Graduate College Emerging Leadership Academy (GC-ELA).

Please contact students and postdocs in your program who have strong leadership potential and encourage them to apply. We are seeking leaders with broad career aspirations, industry, government, NGO, entrepreneur, and academia.  For the 2017/18 Graduate College Leadership Academy, applications were due April 15, 2017. 

Each applicant must have a faculty/staff sponsor who will pay the $500 program fee (i.e. not the student).  The program tries to keep costs as low as possible. The costs include food for the full-day events, MBTI, and Emotional Intelligence Assessments. We also leverage the Provost’s leadership academy. About 1/3 of the presenters are people who come for the Provost’s ELA session. They present there in the morning, then with us in the afternoon.

For more details and application info see

The academy will be for one year (Fall and Spring semesters) 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

See all academy leaders starting from 2014 here.