The Academic Professional Program offers graduate students and postdoctoral scholars the opportunity to develop and expand their toolkit as professionals. Focused on 5 key professional competencies for career readiness, the professional program provides a framework to learn new skills, get practical experience, and produce portfolio pieces that will broaden graduate student and postdoc professional preparedness for any career.
The Academic Professional Program takes what has already existed in professional development programming offered to our graduate students and postdocs as a ‘buffet of resources’ and repackages it into a ‘well-balanced lunch box.’ By doing so, students and postdocs are incentivized to broaden their professional skill set with a balanced framework to approach these competency areas, and through the experiential component of each pillar produce actual pieces for their professional portfolio.
The 5 key professional competencies which are the pillars of the program are: teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion. Each pillar is composed of 3 components: education, experience, and a piece to be incorporated into your professional portfolio. These professional competencies come from extensive review of published papers, professional societies, peer institutions and our own Stanford VPGE Grad Grow framework.
New and existing professional programs, workshops, and courses offered through the School's departments, programs, and Educational Affairs offerings, as well as programs through OPA (the office of postdoctoral affairs), VPGE (vice provost for graduate education), BEAM (career education center), CTL (center for teaching and learning), GWA (grant writing academy), HUME (center for writing and speaking), and other campus affiliates will provide the basis for the educational and experiential components of each competency area. The portfolio piece(s) for each pillar will be determined by the needs of the student or postdoc individually.
There are 5 professional competencies that form the pillars of this program. Each pillar has 3 elements: education, experience, and portfolio. See the Professional Competency section above to see a suggested framework for completing the 3 elements for each pillar.
Graduate students must dedicate a minimum of 40 total hours to each pillar: 10 hrs of educational experience, 25 hrs of practical experience, with 5 hours to complete a portfolio piece for each pillar. In total, the program will take approximately 200 hrs for a graduate student to complete and can be done in as little as two years, or spread out over their time here at Stanford.
Postdocs must dedicate a minimum of 20 total hours to each pillar: 5 hrs of educational experience, 10 hrs of practical experience, with 5 hours to complete a portfolio piece for each pillar. In total, the program will take approximately 100 hrs for a postdoc to complete and can be done in as little as a year, or spread out over their time here at Stanford.
Completion of the program will be evaluated through submission of a completed program form, 1-page summary reflection, and assessment of final portfolio pieces for each of the 5 pillars. Graduate students and postdocs completing this program will receive a certificate of completion of the Stanford Earth Academic Professional Program that can be noted on your CV as well as the opportunity to have a free professional headshot taken.
Get started now by submitting this registration form. You can register at any time, and activities you perform while at Stanford but before registering can still count towards this program.
As you complete each pillar, submit your final portfolio pieces and your final reflection statement here. You can return to this form and edit it as you continue to make progress in the program.
Document your progress and completion of the program on this form. The completed form is part of your program assessment.
- Will activities I do as a graduate student or postdoc like writing a manuscript or TA'ing for a course count to this program?
Yes, by design, elements of the program will be completed as part of your time as a student or postdoc – while you are working as an academic, you are building useful skills that can translate to any career. This program integrates as much as possible with your experiences, and also pushes you to go just a little further – do more education or training in pedagogy for your TA-ship, or build your professional portfolio with pieces like a teaching statement or a thoughtful professional website.
- Can past activities be used for credit in the program?
Yes. All activities performed while at Stanford as a graduate student or postdoc can count towards the certificate program. Just document the title of the program, sponsoring organization, date performed, and hours accounted in your program form.
- Do I have to do all the educational, experience, and portfolio pieces listed in the suggested framework for each pillar?
No. Those are simply suggestions for activities you could perform to get credit for completing each pillar. Graduate students do need to perform a minimum of 10 hours of education, 25 hours of experience, and complete a piece for your portfolio (total time ~200 hours). And postdocs must perform a minimum of 5 hours of education, 10 hours of experience, and complete a piece for your portfolio (total time ~100 hours). But what specific activities you choose to do are up to you and your professional skillset needs.
- How do I know what activities get credit in the program?
Activities that are listed in the suggested program framework can be completed without prior approval. Credit for education or experience activities not listed in the suggested framework that exceed 5 hours per activity requires approval from the Educational Affairs Program Director. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to see if your activity can be approved for credit.
- Can one activity be used for credit in multiple pillars?
Cross-cutting activities may be applied for credit in multiple, appropriate professional competency areas. For example, creating a professional website could satisfy the portfolio piece for multiple pillars if your education and experiences are showcased from multiple pillars.
- The activity I’d like credit for has an education and experience component. How should I notate this credit?
Most of your experience activities, for example participation in an URGE pod for the DEI pillar, will have an educational component to what you are doing. That’s to be expected. Use your best judgment for allocating your time spent in each area. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Educational Affairs Program Director.
- I’ve completed the education and experience portions of my pillar, but I would like some guidance on the portfolio piece I’d like to complete. Who can I talk to?
As you’re working through the program, if you have any questions or need guidance, please reach out to the Educational Affairs Program Director at any time.
- Who will be evaluating our final portfolio pieces for each pillar?
Evaluation of the final pieces for each pillar will be done by the Educational Affairs Program Director and appropriate affiliated program partners. For example, a teaching statement would also be evaluated by a partner at CTL, and a DEI statement would be evaluated by staff in our DEI office. We will provide constructive feedback to help you strengthen your portfolio.
- I’ve completed the program requirements, and I’m now writing my 1-2 page reflection statement. What should I include here?
The reflection statement should describe how your professional toolkit has broadened across the 5 professional pillars and how your professional preparedness has evolved. Write specifically on how the pillars have intersected for you, and in what ways this program may have or have not helped prepare you for your next career steps.
- Can I get credit for completing 3 out of the 5 pillars?
The objective of this program is to expand the breadth of your professional toolkit. We believe that you will need skills from all 5 of the professional pillars (teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion) in addition to your discipline-specific expertise to be the most prepared and competitive for your next career. For this reason, completion of the program requires learning, experience, and reflection in all 5 pillars.
- How should I note completion of this program on my CV?
Stanford Earth Academic Professional Certificate (date of completion)
Completed the Academic Professional Program with Stanford Earth. Certificate program recognizing x hours dedication in developing professional competency in teaching & mentoring, writing & public speaking, career education, leadership & collaboration, and diversity, equity, & inclusion.