Professional Development for Grad Students—What You Need To Know

Published: Tues., February 9, 2021

As a graduate student or postdoc as UNL, you have access to a variety of resources to support your development as a scholar and teacher, and to help you prepare your future career.

As a Teacher

Graduate students often serve as TA or are aiming for faculty roles. To help you learn how to teach we have a variety of programs to support you.

Teaching Assistant Orientation

Each fall, we offer a Teaching Assistant Orientation which provides an introduction effective teaching methods and resources. As a part of this program, we often have workshops or trainings or panels of expert TAs to share their advice.


UNL is a member of CIRTL (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning), which is a consortium of more than 40 universities. As a part of this program, there are UNL programs and events, but you also have access to online programs offered by the other universities. This program also has an opportunity to earn certifications to demonstrate your teaching and commitment to teaching.

Teaching Workshops and Programs

Throughout the year, we offer teaching workshops to help students learn teaching techniques and improve their teaching. Recent topics include leading discussions, classroom management, understanding student needs, and inclusive teaching, to name a few. The topics will vary every year and every semester so students can continue to attend programs throughout their time at UNL. We also offer longer teaching programs like our Institute for International TAs and our Transforming your Research Into Teaching course in the summer.

Teaching Development Program

This program provides an opportunity for TAs to have their teaching observed and get feedback about their teaching from an instructional consultant. All observations are followed with a meeting with a consultant to discuss teaching strategies you can use to improve your own teaching.

As a Researcher

You will likely receive most of your research methodology training from your mentor, however you may also find it useful to learn more about skills for presenting your work, applying for grants, or mentoring. We also host a Spring Research Days event that provides an opportunity for graduate students to present their research publicly and celebrate all the work completed across the university. Our office does eview fellowship application materials for graduate students and you can submit those to this form (mark Fellowships and Grant Writing).

For your Future Career

For those interested in an academic career our Preparing Future Faculty Program is a great way to learn more about the experience of being a faculty member at a variety of institution types.

Graduate Student Professional Development Canvas site

As you think about what comes next after your time as a UNL graduate student, we invite you to visit our Graduate Student Professional Development Canvas page, where we have a series of modules that offer on-demand career and professional development resources. Modules cover topics such as career exploration, utilizing LinkedIn, writing job application documents, and interview tips.

Individual Development Plans

We encourage every student to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) early in their graduate program. Creating an IDP will help you prepare for your future, regardless of the career you're planning on. It allows you to set goals that capitalize on your strengths while working to address your development needs. With an IDP, you're taking a deliberate approach to increase the skills, knowledge, and experience you need to advance in your chosen career.

Career Development Workshops

Throughout the year, we offer workshops that focus on a variety of career development subjects. Recent topics include careers outside of academia, networking, interview skills, individual development plans, well-being and work-life balance, and writing job application documents. In addition to offering workshops to the entire UNL graduate community, we are also able to give tailored presentations for student groups and departments. If you are interested in hosting a career development workshop for your organization or department, please contact us at

Our Office is always here to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out if there is any way to can help you or programs you would like to see. For questions about any of these programs you can contact Lisa Rohde or Erin Omar for more details.