VPGE Workshop Descriptions

Hume Center Workshops for Graduate Students

Writing Research Statements for Fellowship and Grant Proposals (All fields)

In this workshop, we will review strategies for how to persuade an academic committee that may not be familiar with your field much less your project to give you money. Reviewers want to know what the research will accomplish, how you’re going to do it, how it’s different from other research, and why it’s important. Consequently, the workshop will show you how to break down your project into its salient components—research question, methodology, position within the field of existing research, and major significance—and then present them. We will then practice translating the analytical or descriptive complexity of your research project into succinct, jargon-free language that reviewers will be able to understand. Come to the workshop with laptop or paper, and be prepared to write and share your work! Workshop is designed for graduate students applying for their first fellowships and grants as well as those who wish to strengthen their research statements.

Crafting a Persuasive Research Statement for the Job Search (All fields)

Your research statement must convince a hiring committee that your research is timely, important, and fundable.  This workshop will provide examples of successful research statements as well as exercises to help you explain your projects in concise, non-specialist language

Writing the Dissertation: Writing Strategies for the Long Haul (All fields)

This workshop reviews a wide range of issues starting dissertation writers face and offers strategies for addressing them. Depending on the specific needs of the people who attend the workshop, we will look at challenges dissertation writers face in several areas: understanding and meeting genre and progress expectations, moving from research to writing, finding an effective work style, and adapting your writing habits to the demands of more sustained work. Come to the workshop with laptop or paper and pencil and be prepared to write a short exercise. This workshop is suitable for students who are in the early stages of dissertation research.

Writing the Literature Review: Telling the Story of Your Research (All fields)

Dissertation writing in all fields entails engaging with “the literature.” While in some fields that engagement is codified in the form of a single chapter, “the literature review,” in others it is undertaken in more flexible ways. However that work is conventionally expected to appear in the final form of the thesis, the tasks of reading, organizing, synthesizing, and representing your engagement with the literature can be both overwhelming and complicated in managing a project of this scope and duration. This workshop reviews the specific problems dissertation writers face in doing “literature work,” and offers strategies for addressing them. Come to the workshop with laptop or paper and pencil and be prepared to write a short exercise. This workshop will be most valuable for people who already have dissertation topics, whether or not they are underway.

Finishing the Dissertation (All fields)

This workshop is for graduate student writers in any field who have substantially written their dissertation but are confronted with structural challenges to finishing. It focuses on helping students see the formal aspects of their writing and shape their ideas into a larger, consistent narrative. The workshop offers tools such as creating a big picture argument, sustaining critical concepts through key words, tying together the loose ends of chapter ideas, and writing clear statements that appeal to non‐specialist audiences.

Publishing the Journal Article: Understanding the Process, Identifying Journals, and Submitting your Work (All fields)

In most fields, doctoral students are expected to publish journal articles during their graduate student years. This workshop, the first in a two-part series, focuses on understanding the publication process and teaches students concrete strategies in: identifying appropriate journals for publication, navigating submission guidelines, anticipating peer review evaluations, and transforming the writing of a course or conference paper into a journal article. Students at any stage of the writing process or from any discipline are welcome, although the workshop might be most suitable for graduate students in their first or second year of coursework.

Publishing the Journal Article: Revising and Resubmitting (All fields)

Given that many peer-reviewed journals accept fewer than 15% of the submissions they receive, doctoral students seeking to publish their research face great challenges. This workshop, the second in a two-part series, focuses on how to respond when a submitted article returns as “revise and resubmit,” or even, “rejected.” Topics covered include: learning to analyze journal feedback for core guidance, revising to making a contribution clearer, improving the writing itself, recognizing when to send the article elsewhere, and taking advantage of Stanford resources to help with publication. Students at any stage of the writing process or from any discipline are welcome, although the workshop might be most suitable for students who have sent out work and would like to revise and resubmit it for publication.

Creating Effective Multimedia Presentations (All fields)

This hands‐on workshop discusses the choices available to presenters in the use of slideware (PPT, Prezi, Keynote, etc). This will not be a how‐to tutorial on technology but rather a workshop on options for selecting images, text, designs, and content for discipline‐specific presentations. Students will learn how to develop a presentation with attention to audience and purpose, how to determine the design of their slides, how to customize slide material for a particular context, and best practices for delivering with multimedia. Attendees are invited to bring materials toward a slideshow in progress and their own computers. Computers and sample materials will also be provided.

Effective Slide Design (All fields)

New York Times headline declares, “We have met the enemy and he is PowerPoint”!  National Public Radio reports that “Physicists, generals and CEOs agree: ditch the PowerPoint.”  Why does PowerPoint inspire so much hate?  Perhaps because it’s so easy to use PowerPoint poorly and to make bad slides.  We’ve all seen our fair share of them!  In this workshop, we will explore the ways that PowerPoint and other slide technologies can foster audience understanding and attention.  We will cover topics such as how to develop visually arresting slides, how to break down complicated information, and how to apply best practices across fields.  Attendees will be invited to apply some of these techniques to their own materials by producing and sharing a few slides as part of the workshop.

Design and Pitch: Effective Scientific Research Posters and Poster Presentations (STEM fields)

The research poster is one of the most common ways of presenting research in academic conferences across disciplines; however, research poster presenters often overlook the visual and oral components of research poster display and presentation.  The research poster workshop introduces students to visual and oral basics in displaying and communicating research through hands-on activities.  For this two-hour workshop, please come prepared with pencils to sketch some poster designs and to practice pitching your research projects to a range of audiences.  This workshop is designed to help students who have never delivered scientific research posters at an academic conference or who have experience but want to improve.

On Camera Interviewing Techniques for Skype, Street, and Studio (All fields)

In today's media-rich world, you are likely to face an on-camera interview sooner than you may expect. From the candid man-on-the-street caught at the scene to the highly structured television studio interview--with Skype in between--this workshop teaches strategies to prepare you to speak easily in front of a camera. Limited to 10 participants, the workshop teaches strategies to help you stay calm, on message, and ready for questions. Join us with a paragraph on a topic in your area of expertise--something that might bring the media or a hiring committee calling--for a studio- or Skype-style interview. Or, if you prefer, join us without a script and we will interview you impromptu as a man-on-the-street at the scene of an interesting event right here at Stanford. You will leave the workshop with personal feedback and a video clip of yourself on camera. When you are soon faced with a journalist, a microphone, or a panel of experts, you'll be thankful you had this opportunity to practice your message.

Developing an Online Presence (All fields)

As more and more academic life has moved to online environments in recent years, it has become increasingly important to develop a carefully‐crafted and credible professional online presence. In this workshop, we will discuss many of the pathways available for crafting your online persona – from personal webpages and profile pages; social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online professional networks; publication through online academic journals and blogging; and even microblogging, including services such Twitter and Tumblr. Goals for the workshop include: 1) helping you take the first steps in establishing a strategic online presence or enhancing your existing one; 2) considering the benefits and dangers of online profiles and publications; and, 3) discussing the ethical implications of establishing identity in electronic environments. During the workshop, you will spend some time constructing your identity online; accordingly, you're strongly encouraged to bring your own laptop, if you have one.

Developing Your Elevator Pitch (All fields)

An elevator pitch is a brief oral narrative that encapsulates what you do and what you have to offer in a way that makes a strong first impression. Depending on the situation, the duration of your pitch may be anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes (the time it takes to travel several floors in an elevator).  In this workshop, we'll discuss strategies to help you convey your work succinctly in a way that is relevant, memorable, and easy to understand for a lay audience. You will have opportunity to draft, practice, get feedback on, and refine at least a couple iterations of your pitch.  By the end of the workshop, you'll feel more prepared to handle the question: "What is your research about?" or "Tell me what you do?"  This workshop will be most valuable for people who have their dissertation topics, are preparing for interviews, or planning to attend a conference. 

Start with YES: Improv Tips for Quick Thinking (All fields)

Through classic and not-so-well-known improvisation exercises, this workshop will show you an array of techniques for thinking on your feet and learning to enjoy the freedom of that moment when you have no idea what you're going to say. Learn to survive and thrive amid the unexpected! This workshop will address physical relaxation and voice, as well as techniques for engaging with and productively holding onto an audience's attention. It is intended for all graduate students who want to hone their in-person communication skills. No previous theatre or improv experience is required.