Task Force on Graduate Student Professional Development (TFPRO)

February 17, 2012

The Dean for Graduate Education has assembled a Task Force on Graduate Student Professional Development (TFPRO) with the motivation, charge, and membership detailed below.

Today's graduates are in need of an increasingly sophisticated skillset including, for example, oral and written communication, cross-disciplinary collaboration and the ability to work in diverse teams; global and cultural awareness; knowledge filtering and assessment; teaching, critical thinking; open-ended problem solving; leadership and project management; and contextual appreciation. MIT offers a range of outstanding professional development opportunities that are distributed across the Institute and sponsored by various student support offices, student groups and clubs, schools and Departments. These events and activities are highly popular, effective and often the demand greatly exceeds the capacity. Simultaneously, they foster interactions among the graduate community and a nurturing and inclusive campus climate. Numerous universities are developing comprehensive co-curricular programs that include professional development offerings to all graduate students in order to increase their competitiveness in the job market and better prepare them for post-graduate employment. The MIT 2011 enrolled graduate student survey indicated that there is room for growth in many areas of professional development. The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) has recently created an electronic library and software platform, the Professional Development Portal or "PRO-DEPOT," which is intended to be a comprehensive and engaging online repository of MIT-sponsored personal and professional development video content, available to all MIT graduate students, including those who are not able to attend events physically due to scheduling constraints or capacity limitations.

The Dean for Graduate Education has assembled a Task Force on Graduate Student Professional Development with the following charge:

  1. To collect, review and summarize desirable skillsets, both discipline-specific and transferable, for MIT graduates in various disciplines and employment sectors (e.g. through alumni surveys, focus groups, current literature, etc.) and to identify core competency areas
  2. To map current MIT professional development offerings to identified skillsets and core competency areas
  3. To identify best practices within and outside of MIT in the area of professional development
  4. To provide recommendations for formulating a comprehensive coherent set of offerings by building on best practices, exploring synergies, addressing gap areas, allowing for a balance between discipline-specific versus transferable activities, etc.
  5. To propose options for supporting and collaborating with graduate programs and connecting professional development activities to curricula
  6. To report on potential opportunities to leverage online platforms to provide professional development content and enhance in-person professional development activities

Christopher Capozzola (History; Acting Associate Dean, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences)
Christopher C. Cummins (Chemistry)
Lei Dai (Graduate student representative, Physics)
Ulric J. Ferner (Graduate student representative, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science)
Amy K. Glasmeier (Head, Urban Studies and Planning)
Stephen C. Graves (TFPRO Co-chair; Sloan School of Management)
Wesley L. Harris (Aeronautics and Astronautics; Associate Provost for Faculty Equity)
Roger G. Mark (Health Sciences & Technology, Graduate Housemaster)
Anjali Sastry (Sloan School of Management)
Yang Shao-Horn (TFPRO Co-chair; Mechanical Engineering)
Marilyn C. Wilson (Assistant Director, Global Education and Career Development Center)
Vladen Vuletic (Physics)

Staff to the Task Force: Heather Law (Career Development Specialist, Global Education and Career Development Center)


The task force will carry out its work from February 20th, 2012 through December 31st, 2012 with a written report submitted to the Dean for Graduate Education by December 31st, 2012.