PROFILE: Meet Liam O’Leary, Graduate Programming Coordinator
It’s Liam’s job always to be one step ahead: as Graduate Programming Coordinator at the School of Graduate Studies, he keeps his eye on what professional skills grad students need to succeed after graduation. Liam coordinates the tricampus Graduate Professional Skills Program (GPS), and he can be found most days on St. George campus at Grad Room (66 Harbord), whose activity calendar he also oversees.
Liam will tell you that the professional skills most in demand keep changing, depending on the job market and feedback from employers in both academic and non-academic sectors. Currently, it’s project management and business skills, which are inevitably linked to solid communication and organizational skills. Armed with this knowledge, Liam encourages the GPS project partners — ranging from the Graduate Management Consulting Association and Mitacs to the Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) and tricampus career centres — to create proposals for relevant courses and workshops. These proposals are evaluated by a committee of program directors and faculty across U of T, and if selected, they are assigned GPS credits. With 20 GPS credits (approximately 60 hours of instruction time, depending on the offerings you’ve chosen) under your belt, you can get a transcript notation, an added bonus for your job application.
When should you start taking GPS workshops and courses? According to Liam, the earlier in your program the better, because there are offerings for every stage of your career preparation. As well, you will find that obtaining a GPS credit is the beginning, not the end, of your professional development journey: mentorship, networking, and one-on-one consultations at the career centre may be among your next steps.
This May and June, look out for the Summer Institute 2017, which offers skill-based workshops in leadership development, managing transitions, and designing your life. If you’re not already a subscriber to the GPS newsletter (your best source of up-to-the-minute GPS listings), you can also find GPS offerings at Grad Room, UTSC, and UTM online.
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