Texas Tech University

Professional Development Curriculum

Professional Development Workshops

First-Year Students [FY15s]

  • Jan 21: Choosing a PhD program (MAs only)
  • Feb 4: Managing a (professional) web presence
  • Feb 18: The publication ladder: book reviews & review essays
  • Mar 3: What to do on your “summer vacation”

Second-Year Students [FY14s]

  • Jan 28: Dissertation unbound (PhDs only)
  • Feb 11: Applying for grants & alternative funding
  • Feb 25: Exit interviews

Professional Development Curriculum (PDC) Overview

Semester 1 - Fall

Orientation: Introduction to Graduate Studies
Welcome to TTU, the Graduate School, Arts & Sciences, and the Department of English; introduction to the department, its staff, faculty, and resources; overview of graduate programs in English. Initiating your PDC Guide.

Week 1 - Success in Graduate Courses
Faculty expectations for basic conduct and comportment; meeting deadlines and obligations; managing reading loads; participation; presentations; seminars and woprkshops; the seminar paper and MLA Style Manual overview of the critical essay/article, section 1.5.1.

Week 3 - Assembling a Thesis/Dissertation Committee
What are expectations of a portfolio, thesis, and dissertation; conceiving a research project; choosing a supervisor; assembling a committee

Week 5 - Juggling Responsibilities, Managing Time, Maintaining Productivity
Balancing it all: juggling multiple responsibilities; classes and teaching and personal life; time management; from student to professional roles.

Week 7 -The CV: Building Your Career
Generic features of this most foundational of career documents; what does a CV look like? what does one include? how does one accumulate the credentials that belong on one? Workshop CVs, as time allows; students will have the chance to revise and submit their CVs for feedback and process.

Week 9 -Campus Resources for Leadership Development

Panel discussion with guest speakers from The Office of Diversity, The Career Center, and The Counseling Center.

Week 10 - The Teaching Portfolio
Introduction to the teaching portfolio; what does it include? what records does one cultivate, collect, and save? how does one build the kinds of teaching experiences that are steps to success? Workshop teaching portfolio materials, as time allows.


Semester 2 - Spring

Week 1 - Choosing a PhD Program (MAs only)
dentifying programs and/or scholars with outstanding reputations in your proposed field of study; leveling approaches to programs; contacting potential committee members; calculating cost of living; de-limiting and narrowing your choice; organizing your data

Week 3 - Managing a (Professional) Web Presence

Considering the range of current social media and the implications of different information available to different audiences in different contexts; managing responsibilities of required information; making advantages out of potential disadvantages in web presence and professional identity

Week 5 - The Publication Ladder: Book Reviews & Review Essays
Using reserach projects to feed publication records; generic distinctions of book reviews and review essays; what function they serve; what they look like; how one evaluates someone else's work; saying what you mean; not saying what you mean; how and where to publish book reviews; how & why to contact editors

Week 7 - What To Do on Your Summer Vacation
Using your 'breaks' from assigned activities to the best advantage; preparing work for scholarly publication; researching graduate programs; preparing materials for graduate school applications; preparing to write a thesis or dissertation.



Semester 3 - Fall

All students required to take English 5390: Writing for Publication for 3 credits. With all students taking it, demand would be sufficient to run sections led by faculty in TCR and LCWL. This course, part-seminar and part-workshop, provides our graduate students the opportunity and structured environment to revisit a project from a previous course with the aim of revising it for publication.

Semester 3 (the second fall) is the appropriate time for this to occur for two reasons:

  1. For MA students, the time is right for their preparation of a writing sample for PhD applications, or for adapting a prior seminar paper to a place within an MA thesis or portfolio
  2. For PhD students, semester 3 is the latest that they can begin attempting to publish if they want a piece to be accepted or already in print before they hit the job market.

Week 2 -Considering Academic, Non-academic, and "Alt-Ac" Employment Options
A career workshop to let students know about particularly their non-academic options; weighing academic vs. non-academic options; crucial for our 2nd-year MAs who have decided not to go on to doctoral studies; useful, too, for those who go on but never finish a dissertation or land an academic job; only 1 in 3 students who finish PhDs land in tenure-track jobs within 4 years of finishing, so it's irresponsible to consider professional training only in the context of academic jobs

Week 4 - Applying to PhD Programs (MAs only)
Giving 2nd-year students an overview of what it's like to be on the academic job market; what does the job market look like; what are rChoosing appropriate letter-writers; organizing application processes & information; choosing (and revising) your writing sample; revising other required documents (personal statement, CV, etc.)

Week 6 -Understanding an Academic Job-Hunt
Giving 2nd-year students an overview of what it's like to be on the academic job market; what does the job market look like; what are reasonable expectations for academic employment? what documents and materials does one need to prepare for an academic job-hunt?

Week 8 - Phone Interviews, MLA Interviews, and Campus Visits (PhDs only)
Preparing for interviews; handling phone and MLA interviews; what to wear on campus visits; how to field difficult questions; choosing (and tweaking) your research presentation; the complexities of negotiating employment offers and conditions



Semester 4 - Spring

Week 2 -Dissertation Unbound
A discussion on the parameters and generic qualities of dissertations for studies in English; some strategies for time management and workflow of the project; relationships to coursework and the quals.

Week 4 -Applying for Grants and Alternative Funding Sources

Identifying available grants and fellowships; choosing recommenders; drafting a proposal or research statement

Week 6 - Exit Interviews
One-on-one meetings with ADGS to review professional development strategies, individual plans, and determine future activities; scheduling tba



Program links

Helpful links


Dr. Julie Nelson Couch
Director / Advisor
Graduate Studies in Literature, Creative Writing and Linguistics

About the area

picture of campus

Lubbock is the "Hub City" of west Texas, eastern New Mexico and western Oklahoma--the center of commerce and culture for a giant swath of the sunny southwest.

  • 263 days of sun each year
  • Altitude: 3,000 feet
  • Average high temp: 80.1º F
  • Average low temp: 52.3º F
  • Population: 220,000