Best practices in professional development in graduate education

Harris, Clodagh (2015) Best practices in professional development in graduate education. pp. 35-46.


Analyses of professional development in political science education have traditionally focused on undergraduate students. However, changes in the postgraduate labor market as well as advances in the nature and delivery of postgraduate programs have required faculty to pay greater attention to professional development in graduate education (Listokin and McKeever 2011). It is recognized that the approaches, techniques and tools used in the professional development of undergraduate students may not be as well suited for graduate students in terms of preparing them for an academic career (Obst et al. 2010, p. 571), which requires developing a specialized skill set they will need as researchers, teachers and contributors to the faculty and the wider community (service). This chapter explores developments in the professionalization of graduate education with reference to best practices in North America and Europe. It focuses on the following developments in political science and international relations: doctoral education; teacher training; mentoring; and mobility, all of which can prepare a student for a future academic career. It also includes a discussion of the role played by professional associations in developing and supporting disciplinary best practice. Finally, it concludes with some recommendations for the future of graduate professional development programs. It is important to note that this chapter focuses primarily on developing graduates professional skills for the academic labor market rather than other forms of employment.

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