Johns Hopkins has awarded nearly $1 million in funding to 37 programs dedicated to supporting the professional development of PhD students. Administered by the Office of the Provost at Johns Hopkins and overseen by Nancy Kass, vice provost for graduate and professional education, the PhD Professional Development Innovation Initiative will fund short- and long-term projects that aim to expose students to a broad range of career paths, as well as projects dedicated to supporting students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education.
The PhD Professional Development Innovation Initiative is a vital part of supporting PhD students as they prepare for their careers, Kass says. Studies have shown that, nationally, fewer PhD graduates across disciplines go on to have careers in academia. Surveys of students have also shown that they are interested in learning about the various career paths a PhD education can provide them. Johns Hopkins has made strides in recent years to envision and develop programs—including through the Professional Development and Career Office and the PHutures—to better introduce students and postdoctoral trainees to different career sectors and to help them gain practical skills that may be relevant in these careers but are less likely to be included in their formal training programs.
But additional ideas are needed, Kass says. The PhD Professional Development Innovation Initiative invited faculty and PhD students to join in that program ideation process.
"We want to make sure that Johns Hopkins PhD students are aware of a wide range of career paths available to them in their given disciplinary area. These programs are designed to introduce current students to alumni, to provide internship opportunities, and to set up new types of training and skill building to allow students to know about and be better prepared for careers in multiple sectors," Kass says. "We also have provided a dedicated mechanism through this initiative for students from underrepresented backgrounds to engage in a new set of mentoring and networking programs."
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