Professional Development

The Office of Postdoctoral Studies sponsors a number of events including the following professional development programs for postdocs.  If you have questions about any of the programs, contact Christine Holmes at

Postdoc Leadership Program (Certificate Program)

Overview:  Leadership involves working effectively with other people to shape social reality and achieve organizational goals. It is a critical factor in organizational and career success. Every postdoc, no matter what field of endeavor, will face a variety of difficult leadership challenges. How these challenges are met will have a significant impact on the postdoc’s career and life.

Cosponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Studies and the VP of Human Resources and Safety Services, this 10-module program is designed to introduce postdocs to some key concepts and skills of leadership in today’s complex environment. It provides a practical forum to assess and develop personal leadership skills in self-knowledge, planning and problem solving, group dynamics and team building, cultural fluency, conflict resolution, and facilitation of change.         

Schedule:  September through March

Program Objectives:

  • Explore leadership across cultures
  • Enhance awareness of personal style
  • Examine and practice tools for use in leadership roles
  • Build the Post Doc community
  • Provide an opportunity to network with others and learn how to create networks to support change


  • Module 1:  Understanding Leadership and Personal Style
  • Module 2:  Moving from “Group” to “Team”
  • Module 3:  Where you sit in the organization makes a difference in the view -Leaders and Followers
  • Module 4:  Notice and Respond-Recognizing and Dealing with Mental Health Issues
  • Module 5:  Dealing with Challenges—Resolving your own conflicts
  • Module 6:  Dealing with Challenges
  • Module 7:  Exploring Cultural Fluency
  • Module 8:  Dealing with Challenges—considering the nuances of culture in conflict resolution
  • Module 9:  Managing Staff Performance
  • Module10:  Understanding Organizations

Communication Series

Overview: As professionals, graduate students and postdocs will need to be able to communicate effectively in many different ways, from writing a press release, to blogging, to presenting their research at national conferences. This series of workshops will cover the different elements of communication.

Graduate Students and postdocs who attend four or more seminars in the communication category within a two-year period will receive a Graduate School certificate of participation.

Programs Include:

  • Preparing for a Career Fair Visit
  • Expanding Your Job Search Skills
  • Writing for the Academic Journal
  • Creating Effective Presentations
  • Approaching your A exam ready to succeed
  • Making Social Media Work for You
  • How to tell your story - Public Speaking


Earn a Workshop Certificate of Participation from the Center of Teaching Excellence 

Postdocs have the opportunity to earn a GET SET workshop certificate of participation by attending three or more GET SET workshops within a certificate category within a two-year period. In completing a GET SET workshop certificate, participants will explore multiple aspects of a key topic in higher education. Additionally, earning a workshop certificate allows participants to document their participation in the series and demonstrate their commitment to teaching excellence and professional development, qualities that are becoming increasingly important in the academic job market. Participants may earn up to eight certificates: one in each certificate category.

 GET SET Workshop Certificate Categories


Center for Integration Of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL)

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative “committed to advancing the teaching of STEM disciplines in higher education.” The CIRTL Network includes 25 top research universities, with coordination from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It provides teaching professional development for STEM graduate students through faculty based on three core ideas: teaching-as-research, learning communities, and learning-through-diversity.  For additional information:   cu-cirtl

 The Cornell Prison Education Program

The Cornell Prison Education Program is dedicated to supporting incarcerated persons’ academic ambitions and preparation for successful re-entry. We believe that Cornell faculty and student engagement as instructors at correctional facilities manifests Ezra Cornell’s commitment to founding an institution where “any person can find instruction in any study.” 

 CPEP offers college courses to students in Cayuga and Auburn Correctional Facilities. These students take 3 to 4 classes a semester as they work toward their Associate’s Degree. Past course offerings include courses in Sociology, Government, Law, Music, Biology, Economics, and Psychology.

For additional information

Other Programs

There are many other programs offered throughout the year, such as:

Job Search Workshops

  • Job Search Seminar
  • Career in Industry Panel Discussion
  • Grant Writing Round Table
  • Career Cruise (full day intensive job search seminar sponsored wit  Career Services and other units)
  • Interviewing  Techniques
  • How to Convert your CV to a Resume

Academic Job Search Workshops

  • Academic Job Search Seminar
  • Academic Panel Discussion
  • Successful Postdocs Job Search Panel Discussion
  • How to Write a Research Statement
  • How to Write a Teaching Statement
  • Interviewing Panel Discussion
  • Negotiation Panel Discussion (upcoming)
  • How to Start a Lab Panel Discussion (upcoming)

Grant Writing Seminar

  • Where to Look for Grants and Fellowships
  • Grant Writing 101
  • Introduction to Writing a Successful Grant

Career Services

·         Career Cruise (full day intensive job search seminar sponsored wit  Career Services and other units)

·         Career fair

o   University Wide Career fair in September

o   Non-Profit Career Fair in February

o   Engineering Career Fair in March

o   Mock Interviews

Engineering Diversity Office

·         Master Your Future: Mastering NSF Grant & Fellowship Proposals

·         Master Your Future: Entrepreneurship 101 for Engineers & Scientists

·         Master Your Future: Research In Industry (upcoming)

CNS Career Advancement Program for Engineers and Scientists (CNS CAPES)

·         CNS Career Advancement Program for Engineers and Scientists (CNS CAPES) is designed to improve the competitiveness of Cornell graduate students and postdoctoral scholars entering the workforce, in part by providing training in the important "real-world" skills often overlooked in traditional graduate programs, such as public speaking, proposal writing, and effective interview techniques.

     Programs offered with various departments

·         Women In Science Networking Events

·         Public Engagement and Science Communication Symposium

·         Research at an Undergraduate Institution

·         Career in Intellectual Property law

·         Put your Science to Work

·         Research Proposals -- Maximizing Your Chance for Success

·         Writing a Resume that Works

·         How Research Universities Evaluate Faculty Applicants

·         Public Speaking for Scientists and Engineers

·         A Career at the Interface Between Science and Public Policy

·         Leading a Life of Research in a U.S. Governmental (and military) Laboratory

·         Scientific Writing for Non Native Speakers of English