FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Who can join CPDO?
Any Chemistry-affiliated graduate student or postdoc (including a non-Chemistry student with a Chemistry advisor) is welcome to join. We are particularly interested in including people from different backgrounds—i.e., gender, citizenship, race/ethnicity, years in the department, and sub-disciplines.
What does CPDO do?
Based on feedback from the Winter 2009 graduate student and postdoc survey, info sessions, and our ongoing evaluations, CPDO members coordinate programs and events within three broad areas that include almost everything related to professional development:
- Career options exploration
- Professional skill development
- Community, communication, & resource building
Event planning involves inviting speakers, coordinating attendance and room reservations, ordering food, and collecting post-event evaluations. We also work with a variety of faculty and staff members within the department to enhance other aspects of our training experience, such as updating the department website to include directories and additional resources for graduate students and postdocs. All CPDO members take an active role in the organization's activities.
What kind of events does CPDO create?
Programs have included presentations or panel discussions about careers in academia, industry, and government; networking receptions; sessions with visiting seminar speakers; and events related to developing professional skills. (Please see the Events and News pages for more details.) Joining CPDO is a great way to create events based on your ideas!
How much time should I expect my participation to involve?
The specifics vary from month to month and person to person, but most of this year’s members have spent less than 10 hours per month. Having more people means that we can accomplish more with less individual effort!
Why should I join CPDO?
First of all, you'll get to help decide what events will be held; this is a great opportunity to have a workshop or hear a speaker that you've always wanted to! In addition, this is an opportunity to make professional contacts outside UM and build your leadership skills (something employers look for on a CV/resume) while helping the department to improve the graduate and postdoctoral experiences for all of us.
I'm a scientist, not an expert in professional development. What can I bring to the organization?
You may not be a professional development expert, but you've probably thought about opportunities that you'd like to see in the department or have in your own career. This is your chance to make them happen! The organization needs members with a variety of skills: You can plan food for an event, coordinate publicity, think of new program ideas, be a faculty and staff liaison, research speakers to invite, or take a leadership role.
I’ve never organized anything like this before. How will I know what to do?
We’ll teach you! Membership terms are staggered such that the organization always has a mix of new members and more experienced members who will help you learn what you need to know. We often work together on organization, so you might work with a more experienced CPDOer to invite speakers, reserve a room, and order food the first time you plan an event. You’ll also have access to our internal CTools site, which holds records of everything we do and the how-to guides we’ve developed to make event planning easier and more efficient.
I’m interested in joining, but I still have questions. How can I learn more?
You can talk to a CPDO member or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We generally recruit new members twice each academic year (typically in May and December) for one year terms. Information about future Open House sessions, where current CPDO members answer questions about joining the organization, will be posted on our Events page and publicized by email as those months approach.
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