Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Expanding Horizons

Professional Development

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Communication: Telling Your Story, Understanding Theirs

Communication: Telling Your Story, Understanding Theirs - Learning Outcomes

  • Enhance written, oral and visual communication skills.
  • Develop the ability to tell your research story to diverse audiences, including media, decision-makers, employers, and the general public.
  • Develop critical thinking, listening, and reading skills.
  • Learn to identify and articulate professional skills learned in graduate school.


Workshop Categories & Descriptions

Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills for graduate students

Host Presenters: Learning Strategies

This workshop offers practical strategies to plan, organize, and structure a professional presentation, deliver that presentation in an engaging way, and effectively answer questions. Apply your skills in the classroom, at a conference, or in the workplace.

Workshop prep: Be prepared to speak for 3-4 minutes to a small group of fellow students. You can jot some notes for yourself before the workshop or speak spontaneously on any topic of your choice.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participating in this workshop will enable the student to
  • Become aware of personal strengths and challenges while presenting
  • Learn the elements of an effective presentation
  • Practice speaking in front of a small group
  • Receive feedback from fellow participants on an aspect of their brief talk

3 Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation workshop

Host Presenters: Learning Strategies/ SGS/ past participants

Using a series of practical exercises including critiquing videos of previous 3MT participants, this workshop will help those who may participate in the 3 Minute Thesis competition at Queen's. Ideas for an initial draft will be crafted during the workshop.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participating in this workshop will enable the student to
  • Critically evaluate previous 3MT presentations
  • Learn one method of planning the presentation and slide
  • Learn strategies for how to manage common experiences such as going blank, ESL issues, speaking too quickly
  • Receive feedback from another student on the initial draft, especially focussed on general “understandability” of the research

Conferences: From Abstract to Audience

Host Presenters: SGS

In this workshop you will learn the do’s and don’ts of academic conferences, beginning with how to identify conferences in your field, how to write an effective abstract, how to put together a panel with participants from other universities, how to write a conference paper and how to present it in an effective and engaging manner. There will be one workshop specifically for STEM disciplines and one for Humanities & Social Sciences


Writing a Literature Review

Host Presenters: Writing Centre

In this workshop, participants will develop a comprehensive understanding of the function of a literature review within the context of a Master’s or doctoral thesis. After exploring the what, how and why of the literature review, participants will engage in an activity that puts this understanding into practice.

Learning outcomes

  • By the end of this workshop, participants will understand:
  • What a literature review’s job is within the context of a larger research work;
  • How to pull disparate strands of thought derived from secondary sources into a coherent argument;
  • The function of each of the major components of a literature review.

Participants will demonstrate, through engagement in the workshop’s activity, their ability to create a coherent literature review template.

The Editing Process

Host Presenters: Writing Centre

Knowing how to manage the relationship between writing and editing can help you complete your work more quickly, and with a greater sense of control. In this workshop, participants will explore concrete editing approaches and techniques. Students are invited to bring TWO COPIES of their own most salient writing at the time. Your sample can be two paragraphs from the middle of a literature review, two pages of introduction to a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D., whatever you like.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this workshop, participants will understand:

  • Their own editing pitfalls, and ones to watch for;

  • Strategies to facilitate priority setting (write vs. edit);

  • How much even brief peer review can provide the writer.

Reading fast and effectively

Host Presenter:  Learning Strategies

Through self-reflection, lecture and group discussion, this workshop will help students learn a variety of techniques and strategies to make a mountain of readings more manageable. We will cover ways to improve your comprehension, retention and/or speed.

Workshop Prep: Please bring a reading assignment or research article from one of your current courses or projects.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participating in this workshop will enable the student to
  • Become aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in reading
  • Learn techniques to manage key challenges in graduate level reading

Writing Retreats

Dissertation Boot Camp

Host Presenters: SGS / Writing Centre / Learning Strategies

This one week intensive boot camp is designed to accelerate your progress in the final stages of writing your Master's or PhD thesis. Participants commit to spending four days (in the February Reading Week) or 5 days in June writing their dissertation in a comfortable environment dedicated to writing. The Writing Center and Learning Strategies will provide one-on-one learning and writing support if desired, as well as some short spot-light talks on subjects especially relevant to the thesis writing, such as maintaining writing momentum. Group discussions will also focus on challenges common to graduate-level writing and, especially, large writing projects.

Learn more about Dissertation Boot Camp and how/when to register on the School of Graduate Studies website

Dissertation on the Lake

Host Presenters: SGS

Dissertation on the Lake is a five day, four night writing retreat on the shores of Elbow Lake, 30 minutes north of Kingston.  This program offered by the School of Graduate Studies is to provide graduate students the opportunity to write in a relaxing and inspiring environment, setting aside the distractions of daily life at home. The day will be loosely structured around two writing sessions: three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon (you can always write for longer!)  Although writing will be the primary activity, there will be ample opportunities for relaxation including swimming, canoeing and hiking (all unsupervised). Ten two-bedroom cabins will provide accommodation and some writing space. A central meeting room is available for writing. Three meals a day will be provided.  Space is limited and preference will be given to PhD students or those nearing completion.

This camp is held in August each year. Learn more about Dissertation on the Lake and how/when to register on the School of Graduate Studies website

The Lake Shift

Host Presenter: SGS

The Lake Shift is a thesis writing retreat for doctoral students from Ontario universities. The retreat provides doctoral students with structured time to write, workshops on tips for effective dissertation writing, opportunities to network with other graduate students and all in a beautiful location, Queen's Biology Station on Lake Opinicon. The objective of the retreat is to enable doctoralstudents to make substantial progress in writing their thesis and to develop foundations to maintain that momentum. The fringe benefits of The Lake Shift include swimming, boating, hiking and campfire conversations and make for a balance of the cerebral with the physical and social for a well-rounded experience.

This camp is held in July each year. Learn more about the Lake Shift and how/when to register on the School of Graduate Studies website

Media & Technology Skills

Media Training

Host Presenters: SGS & Queen's Communications

Part 1 – overview of what it means to be interviewed.

Outline: A presentation from Queen’s communications officers. They will discuss their jobs including writing news stories; pitching Queen’s experts to the local, national and international media; facilitating media visiting campus and filling media requests when they phone or email. Communications specialist Kristyn Wallace will also speak briefly about her position.

After a short break participants would re-assemble as a group for the final presentations. Some of our leading experts will offer their thoughts on working with the media. Eg fellow grad students or faculty who are currently being asked to speak to the media.  The experts would offer a short presentation which would allow ample time for a Q & A period.

At the end of the first part of the training, students will have the option of signing up for an actual practice session being interviewed by the media. These individual practice sessions will take place at a different time over the summer.

Part 2 – Individual practice

Outline: In groups of five, any student committed to working with the media will be interviewed by the communications team. The interviews will be on a one-to-one basis and focus on their areas of expertise. A copy of the interview will be provided to each student to analyze their performance.  Feedback from the interviewer will also be available.

After the training, each student interested in working with the media will be provided with a form to fill out. This information will be added to the expert database for use by media and the communications team.

Interacting with the Media (Career Week)

Host Presenter: Vicky Arnold (SGS)

This will be a hands-on workshop on how to pitch yourself to the media, how to respond to media inquiries, and tips for doing interviews for print, radio and television/video. Participants may volunteer for live practice and feedback.

Mitacs Workshops

Networking Skills

A good network is vital to career growth and can be your link to important new opportunities. However, getting started or knowing how to grow an existing network can be intimidating. This workshop will give you insights into how to establish and expand a stable network, both in-person and online. Each session is customized, with exercises reflecting the professional interests of participants and determined by the location of the event.

Workshop Objectives - Gain an understanding of the importance of a professional network to career health. Learn how to start a network, how to recognize and make the most of your existing network and how to grow your network successfully.     

Learning Outcomes - in this one day workshop you will learn to:

  • Plan and prepare for networking opportunities
  • Share contacts effectively
  • Refresh and build existing networks, both virtually and in-person
  • Make an impact on important contacts

Key Topic Areas

  • The Value of Your Network
  • Effective social media profiles
  • Transactional vs. engaged networking
  • Impactful connections: The art of conversation
  • The strength of weak ties
  • How to introduce others effectively
  • Assessing and building a network
  • Mapping and identifying existing networks
  • Networking opportunities in life and work
  • The importance and effective use of business cards
  • How to plan and prepare for networking opportunities
  • How to answer the “What do you do?” question
  • Follow through and follow up

To register for this workshop and other Mitacs STEP workshop go directly to the Mitacs website