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Professional learning and development initiatives for postdoctoral scholars

Lorelli Nowell (Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Glory Ovie (Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Natasha Kenny (Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
K. Alix Hayden (Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Michele Jacobsen (Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education

ISSN: 2398-4686

Article publication date: 15 January 2020

Issue publication date: 9 April 2020

245

Abstract

Purpose

Postdoctoral scholars are increasingly pursuing diverse career paths requiring broad skill sets. This study aims to create a more comprehensive understanding of current approaches and strategies for postdoctoral scholars professional learning and development.

Design/methodology/approach

This literature review is a systematic examination and synthesis of the current literature describing professional learning and development pertaining to postdoctoral scholars. The objectives and components of initiatives were extracted and narratively synthesized to identity important patterns and themes across the literature.

Findings

Commonalities amongst professional learning and development initiatives for postdoctoral scholars included skills development in the following areas: teaching and learning, mentorship, academic careers, academic writing, industry careers, networking, career planning, project management, time management, communication, leadership and balancing work-life demands.

Originality/value

In synthesizing the literature that describes professional learning and development opportunities for postdoctoral scholars, it is apparent that opportunities look different in every setting with no empirical evidence that one strategy is more effective than another. Given the significant resources often required to support professional learning and development initiatives, a deeper understanding of the benefits and deficiencies of various components is needed to ensure scarce resources are invested in the most effective strategies.

Keywords

Citation

Nowell, L., Ovie, G., Kenny, N., Hayden, K.A. and Jacobsen, M. (2020), "Professional learning and development initiatives for postdoctoral scholars", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 35-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-03-2019-0032

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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