I have made a conscious effort to work on my personal development during my PhD. This involved not only further developing scientific skills and seeking more scientific knowledge but also widening my skills set to allow me to pursue a successful career in the future. This involved some training with team work, project management and leadership as well as learning a new language and, importantly, really improving my teaching. Please see further details below.
Decision Making and Leadership (February 2017)
Postgraduate Award in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (predicted finish date March 2017)
Introduction to Teaching for Postgraduate in Science (predicted finish date March 2017)
This is a module offered as part of the Postgradaute Certificate in Transferable Skills (PGCTS), but most of it relates to, draws on, or indeed is part of the APP PGR programme, so upon completion of that it was simple to complete this similar course within the tranferable skills programme.
German (A-A1 level)
With no previous German background, I started a begginers German course offered by the Language Centre at the University of Warwick. This is a three-term course and by the end of it I should have achieved A1 level in German, being able to keep a fluent informal conversation in the language. Adding another language to my CV (I am currently fluent in two) was always something I wanted to do, and hence I took the opportunity to do it as part of my transferable skills.
Team working in a research environment (April 2016)
This workshop covered perhaps more than what I initially expected. Apart from really exploring team dynamics, helping me understand what my natural positioning within a team tends to be, and relating the different natural elements of a team, this workshop also gave us the opportunity to do a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (personality test). Moreover, during this session we also had the opportunity to practice presentations and were given some useful presenting tactics, particularly in terms of dealing with the nerves and stress that may be associated with the idea of giving a presentation. Once again a very useful workshop.
Project Management (July 2016)
The first part of this module covered many helpful aspects of project management such as planning, timing, managing stakeholders and time management. Particularly, planning and time management were highly relevant to the context of completing a postgraduate course. This workshop gave me many useful tools to organise my time which I have used since with much sucess. The second part of the workshop covered the basics of the project management tool in Windows Ofiice (Microsoft Project). This is a useful tool to help organize large project that involve lots of resources and stakeholders.
How to be an Effective Researcher (RSSP ER1) (October 2014)
This is a great workshop offered by the Research Student Skills Programme Team. If it sounds a bit vague, it’s because it really is! There is no “formula” for success, mainly because each person will find different ways to be effective. I think the main message is – get to know yourself and your strengths, and use them! The course is incredibly interactive, interesting, useful, and fun! Don’t miss out on this great day-long session.
Introduction to teaching and learning in Higher Education (October 2014)
As a PhD student you may or may not be expected to do some teaching. In my case I do have do some teaching hours and teaching is also something that I always wanted to try, so even though this was a compulsory course for me, it is most likely a course that I would've attended anyway. The course covers the different approaches to learning (the different ways in which people learn) and teaching (different approaches that you can use to reach the different types of student), and challenges you by proposing difficult "teacher-student" situations and asking you to reflect on it and come up with a solution. Even though it is a good course and worth going to, I feel that it really is just an introduction, and the quality of your teaching will depend a lot on your natural ability to it, but also the effort and work you put into it.