PSTP trainees at all levels are required to participate in career development opportunities including:
Annual PSTP Symposium: PSTP Trainees are charged with organizing an annual Graduate Student Research Symposium in the Pharmacological Sciences, which has been highly regarded by the U-M research community for over 40 years. The event includes two guest lectures, trainee oral and poster presentations, and networking opportunities. Trainees select and invite the guest lecturers: an outstanding investigator in the pharmacological sciences is chosen to deliver the keynote address, and a (usually local) expert delivers a special presentation on Integrity and Ethics in Research. All PSTP trainees and mentors are required to attend. All trainees (Junior and Senior) must present their research annually with at least one oral presentation. All oral and poster presenters receive formal evaluation by faculty judges.
Leadership Training: PSTP trainees are provided with a number of opportunities to develop their leadership skills through with Program. In all PSTP activities, including in the PHARM 604 course, Senior Trainees serve as team leaders and mentors for Junior Trainees, thus developing their skills as leaders. As described above, the annual PSTP Symposium is completely student led. Trainees contact outside speakers, choose poster and oral platform presenters from their peer group, serve as hosts and MCs, build the agenda, reserve venues and catering, work with budgets, and raise funds through intramural sources. Senior Trainees mentor Junior Trainees throughout the planning process to achieve consistent standard operating procedures, time-lines, lines of reporting, and regular checks on progress. In the Real-World Discovery experiential program, PSTP trainees work side by side with faculty and industry leaders who serve as role models in conducting meetings, managing difficult conversations, gaining consensus, and critical decision making.
Pedagogical Training: We require our trainees to gain teaching experience by serving as Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) during Year 4 of their graduate training (Year 3 of the PSTP). Senior PSTP Trainees also serve as peer mentors to their Junior Trainee colleagues in PHARM 604. For more formal training on teaching, interested PSTP trainees are encouraged to participate in the U-M “Preparing Future Faculty” program. Here, in collaboration with Rackham Graduate School, the U-M Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) offers seminars and symposia to help graduate students prepare for their first faculty jobs. Topics covered have included: Getting Started with your CV; Negotiating an Academic Job Offer;Developing your Teaching Philosophy; Practicing Interviews; Starting and Running a Research Lab; Dual Career Issues; and Faculty Work-Life Balance. In addition, a number of PSTP trainees have taken advantage of the Graduate Teacher Certificate, an in-depth program that provides professional development in five areas: orientation to college-level teaching and learning, exposure to new teaching strategies through seminars and courses, experience as a GSI, including a consultation on teaching, mentorship on teaching from a faculty member, and preparation of a teaching philosophy statement.
Training in Seminar Preparation and Presentation: All PSTP trainees learn to prepare and present research seminars as a requirement of their respective degree-granting programs. Pharmacology students participate in PHARM 646, a weekly student seminar course. All Pharmacology students attend every year; students in Year 2 (Year 1 of the PSTP) may present their own research or a critical review of a report in the current scientific literature; students in Years 3 and beyond present their own research. All Medicinal Chemistry students participate in MEDCHEM 740, in which they are required to give a formal departmental seminar in Year 3 (Year 2 of the PSTP), and annual research seminar presentations to their thesis committee. All Biological Chemistry students are required to participate in BIOLCHEM 711, a weekly graduate seminar course in Years 2 and 3 (Years 1 and 2 of the PSTP). Pharmaceutical Sciences students participate in PHARMSCI 838: Pharmaceutical Sciences Seminar, every semester during the course of their studies.
Training in Grant Writing: The PSTP Core Curriculum requires students to enroll in either PHARM 502: Introduction to Scientific Communication or MEDCHEM 740: Independent Research Proposal. In both courses, students receive hands-on training in oral and written scientific communication as well as theinclusion of rigor and reproducibility in the research plan. In addition to these courses, all PSTP students will be required to write and submit a fellowship application for continued funding during their Senior Trainee period.