This past academic year (2018-19) the Graduate Council took a major step forward in its mission to provide a holistic student experience by launching GradEx, a framework for the professional development of AUB's graduate students. Professional development complements the academic training students receive in their respective disciplines by helping them acquire skills that make them effective in their academic pursuits, careers, and life in general.
GradEx invites students to explore opportunities for professional development, experience fulfillment and personal growth , and excel in their academic and career life. Its workshops, panels, and other events provide development in Research and Innovation, Teaching and Communication, Career path and Development, Wellness and Life Balance, Integrity and Professionalism, and Community Service and Engagement.
With GradEx the Graduate Council has expanded its previous efforts in the area of Research and Innovation. The Graduate Research, Thesis, and Publishing Series (GRTPS) is where everything started back in the academic year 2014-15. The series included 4 workshops in collaboration with the University Libraries and the Writing Center. In the past three years the series witnessed a substantial increase in the number of workshops. By academic year 2017-18 it came to consist of five workshops and two discipline specific panels (Humanities/Social Sciences and STEM). This momentum fed into the formation of the holistic package now known as GradEx.
The role of Graduate Council in this framework is to coordinate the workshops with on-campus experts consisting of individual faculty members, academic departments, academic service units, and initiatives within the Office of Student Affairs. As a result of these partnerships, GradEx was able to offer workshops, panels, and seminars on essential topics such as resume writing and interviewing skills (CareerHub) as well as stress management (Student Wellness Outreach and the Counseling Center). It has also introduced stimulating topics such as Design Thinking (Dr. Vida Mia Garcia, MSFEA) and research for the public good (CCECS), and was an ecosystem partner of Demo Day, an innovation event put on by Darwazah Center. Still the offering on research continued to be expanded with workshops on the IRB application process and two related workshops coordinated with University Libraries on data management and data visualization (presented by Dr. Fouad Zablith).
GradEx also has forged a key partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) through which PhD students are involved in CTL's events which also serve AUB faculty members. These events include the annual Faculty Seminar on Learning and Teaching Excellence, the annual International Conference on Effective Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, as well as a variety of related workshops and seminars.
With 22 workshops spanning over the academic year 2018-19, GradEx attracted students from a wide range of disciplines with a total attendance of over 500 participants.
The GradEx offering still has room to grow in the areas of long-term career planning, self-development, integrity and professionalism. There are already plans to round out the GradEx package with events addressing these areas, all for the purpose of helping students become effective, well rounded individuals who are able to engage their surrounding community and to be impactful in an ever-changing world.