Summer institute helps doctoral students plan for academic careers
Institute fellows are, from left, front row, Helene Delpeche, Mary McDonald, Elizabeth Soslau and Lauren Miltenberger, and, back row, Tracy Davenport, Deeanna Button and Berit Rabe.
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8:33 a.m., July 23, 2009----Seven University of Delaware doctoral students from six disciplines participated in a new pilot program titled Putting Your Ph.D. to Work: Academic Career Preparation Summer Institute, co-sponsored by UD's Office of Graduate and Professional Education, the Center for Teaching Effectiveness and Career Services.

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This intensive one-week course was designed to introduce and hone the competencies that those who hold doctorates will need to succeed in today's competitive academic job market, as well as ease their transition from doctoral study to their first year of an academic appointment.

Instructors were Gabriele Bauer from the Center for Teaching Effectiveness and Marianne Green from Career Services.

Applicants to the Summer Institute, required to be one to three years away from receiving their doctorates, had to write a letter of application and secure sponsorship from a faculty adviser.

The first Summer Institute class was a group of highly motivated students eager to learn how to engage in the academic job search process and present themselves as future colleagues.

In addition to online information in Sakai and The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career as a primary text, the students' best resources were the experiences and knowledge shared by professors and administrators from the University of Delaware and other colleges and universities.

Providing real life examples of the principles and practices discussed were Julie Lloyd, a post-doc in chemistry at the University of the Sciences; Colleen McDonough, assistant professor of psychology at Neumann University; and, from UD, Rebecca Worley, assistant professor of English, Saul Hoffman, chairperson of the Department of Economics, and Debra Hess Norris, vice provost for graduate and professional education, chairperson of the Department of Art Conservation and Henry F. du Pont Chair of Fine Arts.

Participants in the first Academic Career Preparation Summer Institute were: Deeanna Button (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice); Tracy Davenport (Department of Human Development and Family Studies); Helene Delpeche (School of Education); Mary McDonald (Department of Chemical Engineering); Lauren Miltenberger (School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy); Berit Rabe (College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment); and Elizabeth Soslau (School of Education).

Delpeche said the of institute, "This week my curriculum vitae (CV) went from a poor to excellent and I got started on my teaching statement and other important documents I'll need for my job search. The mock interview was scary but helpful."

"Immediate feedback on the CV and cover letter and answers to questions about interviewing by junior faculty and knowledgeable professionals made it easier to move forward and get things done," Button said.

"The institute gave us the chance to set aside time to listen to speakers who have gone through the job search process and to prepare the application materials we'll need,” Rabe said, and McDonald added, "Having all the resources needed for the academic job search right in front of me and easy to access was incredibly helpful."