Metamorphosis: The Effects of Professional Development on Graduate Students

Call For Essays

Graduate students, regardless of their post-degree objectives, are encouraged and/or required to participate in professional development activities such as workshops, training seminars, conference presentations, technology skills acquisition, academic job market preparation, and the like; but what reasons do students have for engaging in professional development? While an overwhelming majority of publications on such training and professional development have been produced by program administrators and experts in the field, far too little illuminates graduate student experience. For those publications aimed at graduate students, the majority offer tips, hints, lore, and how-to advice. Yet few publications offer the graduate student point of view.

This collection, under contract with Fountainhead Press in the X Series for Professional Development, seeks to give voice to graduate students about their professional development experiences. We imagine two important areas for discussion. The first area is for graduate students to speak to colleagues and new graduate students entering their programs through:

* Reflections, anecdotes, and personal experiences of benefits and/or drawbacks of professional development

* Discussion of the role that race, class, gender, and/or sexuality plays in professional development

* Dialogs of the ways in which professional development experiences over time shape teaching practices, philosophies, research agendas, peer tutor interaction, or related experiences

* Consideration of resources and personal experiences of professional development activities that best suit a student's professional objectives (inside or outside of academe)

* Discussion of what it means to be a peer or mentor (how do we negotiate being both?)

The second area is a constructive and proactive discussion of our professional development experiences that speaks back to the faculty and administrators who train us or otherwise encourage our professional growth.

* Consider those experiences that best prepared you for the job market or other post‐graduate goals

* Discuss where, when, and why you sought external resources for professional development

* Provide constructive advice for professional development training of students who do not plan to remain in academe

* Offer insights into the ways that race, class, gender, and/or sexuality impact professional development activities

* Discuss those elements of professional development that, in retrospect, were missing or not as well developed

Proposal Guidelines

We invite proposals from current graduate students or those who have graduated within the last two years.Proposals of no longer than 2 pages should be sent to the editors via email by November 30, 2008. Responses will be available approx. mid‐January. Please refer to the Fountainhead X Series style guide ( for specific requirements, especially noting the requirements for permissions to use student work.

Andréa Davis Michigan State University
Suzanne Webb Michigan State University

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