Professional Development for Graduate Students

Meteorology 891, Professional Development for Graduate Students

Semester:  Spring 2018
Instructor:  Dr. David Stensrud, 504 Walker,, Office Hours:  By appointment
Class meeting times and locations:  T 3:05 – 4:30 pm, 110 Walker Building
Course designation in curriculum:  Professional Elective

Brief course description from University Bulletin

This one-credit course will offer practical advice to graduate students regarding their future career in the atmospheric sciences and help them think through their employment options. Topics will include professionalism and ethics, needed skills to succeed, career paths and planning, grant writing, finding a mentor, developing professional references, salary negotiations, etc. There will be guest speakers, including successful alumni, university staff and others whose participation will enhance the value of the class.

Prerequisites and concurrent courses:  None
Required textbook:  None

Internet materials and links: Canvas (

Course expectations:  This course will help graduate students develop skills necessary to start and develop a successful career in meteorology and atmospheric science. 

Please let me know if you have any difficulty with downloading, reading and printing pdfs.

Course Objectives:

  1. Students understand the ethical dimensions of conducting scientific research.
  2. Students explore career paths and develop a more holistic perspective on their career.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Students have improved resources and understanding regarding careers in science.

Course content:

  1. January 9: No class
  2. January 16: No class
  3. January 23: Introductions, class objectives, syllabus
  4. January 30: Professional ethics:  Responsible Conduct of Research
  5. February 6: Writing and Reviewing Scientific Papers
  6. February 13: Grant Writing and Getting Funding
  7. February 20: Post-Doctoral Opportunities and Jobs
  8. February 27: CVs and Professional Narratives
  9. March 6: Spring Break
  10. March 13: Applying for a job and the Interview process
  11. March 20: PhD Graduates in Industry
  12. March 27: Financial literacy
  13. April 3: Networking and the value of Professional societies
  14. April 10: Career planning after college
  15. April 17: Leadership
  16. April 23: Alumni Interview Presentations

Course attendance policies

This course abides by the Penn State Class Attendance Policy 42-27: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Attendance Policy E-11: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  Please also see Illness Verification Policy: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., and Religious Observance Policy: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities.  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of Student and Family Services for help: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..  Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar's Office: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., at least one week prior to the activity.

Grading policy

This is a one-credit pass/fail course with grading based on attendance and participation only.  The course is broadly designed to prepare you for aspects of your professional career that are not typically presented in traditional courses.  Considerable class time will be spent in discussion and other faculty and alumni will also lead discussions.  

Weather Delays and Emergencies

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News: http:/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). 

Penn State E-mail

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes will be posted to Canvas and discussed in class.