Vision and Mission of the Notre Dame Graduate School Professional Development Program

Vision Statement

Through our professional development program, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars gain the skills and insights to assume their careers with confidence.

Mission Statement

Professional Development LogoRevised 01/13

The mission of the Professional Development Program is to enhance the academic training of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars within the areas of research, teaching, career and ethics. The Research Spire guides graduate students and postdocs in identifying resources to enrich their research experience and in gaining the skills to effectively communicate the relevance of their work across a range of venues and for a variety of audiences. The Ethics Spire engages students and postdocs in discussions of professional and societal ethics and prepares them for real-world problem-solving in their disciplines. The Career Spire prepares students and postdocs to obtain strong placement after their time Notre Dame. The Teaching Spire enables graduate students and postdocs to create the best possible learning experiences for their students—now and in the future. The integration of these spires under one framework reflects our belief that training is holistic, encompassing all aspects of one’s formation as a scholar.

Our workshops, seminars, classes and events facilitate growth in these areas. We promote professional development so that when graduate students and postdoctoral scholars assume their careers — whether in academia, the private sector, government, or non-profit organizations — they do so fully prepared and with confidence.


Through participation in our Professional Development program, students and postdoctoral scholars will be able to:

  • Identify grant and fellowship opportunities that are relevant for their research
  • Craft a strong proposal for extramural funding to support their research
  • Speak and write about their research in a wide range of venues, highlighting its importance and relevance, for both specialists and non-expert audiences
  • Develop and refine the research skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, evaluate, and use information in all formats.
  • Know their roles, rights, and responsibilities as authors in the issues and trends related to scholarly publishing.
  • Reflect on the ethical implications of their research
  • Acquaint themselves with the integrity and ethics statements of their profession
  • Explore opportunities to apply professional skills and interests to address community concerns worldwide.
  • Craft job application materials including Curriculum Vitae, Resume, cover letters, statement of intent, research and teaching statements
  • Represent themselves professionally on the job market in interviews, job talks and networking opportunities
  • Practice discernment in choosing which direction to take their career
  • Explore job opportunities post graduate school through various mediums (i.e. online, social media, conference networks)
  • Adopt a disposition towards teaching that is grounded in reflective practice
  • Articulate their teaching philosophy orally and in writing
  • Begin to document evidence of teaching excellence and/or effectiveness that includes teaching history, course materials, student evaluations, and/or observations from faculty mentors
  • Prepare for professional interactions about teaching and a teaching demonstration for the academic interview