Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Professional Development Initiative Growing Outstanding Academic and Leadership Skills

The Professional Development Initiative

The Professional Development Initiative (PDI) is organized by the Graduate School and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), and has received support through many partnerships and colleges across campus. This initiative provides a range of programs, training opportunities, and resources to graduate and professional students that will help prepare them for academic and career success. The goal of PDI  is to ensure that all graduate and professional students have the skills, knowledge, and mindsets necessary to succeed both professionally and academically.

Through this initiative, we have developed a series of core competencies that are intended to guide students through their programs and help them transition into their future role in academia or industry.  The following core competencies are inclusive of masters and doctoral students across disciplines and applicable to a wide range of professional settings:

Academic Development

Research/scholarship; Effective teaching strategies; Critical thinking and problem solving; Transferable skills; Academic job strategy


Career Development

Critical thinking and problem solving, Resumes and Transferable skills, Professional competitiveness, Career strategy, Interviewing and Negotiating

Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication; Mentoring relationships; Interpersonal understanding; Team-building; Networking; Conflict management


Leadership and Professionalism

Goal and milestone planning; Professional ethics; Leadership styles; Problem solving strategies and solutions; Evaluation and feedback; Applicable presentation skills


Personal Well-being

Financial planning; Mindfulness and mental health; Relationship management; Physical wellbeing


PDI Events

Please click on the following link for a full list of PDI events:

PDI Events Calendar


Let us help you reach your goals


Presentation TopicPresenterEvent OrganizerDate(s)Time
Writing Lock InWriting Program/ PD CommitteePDI11/14/181:00-4:00 pm
Work and Wellness Discussion Series: How We WorkAuthor Leah Weiss and AFW faculty presenter PDI and AFW11/30/1812:00-1:00 pm
Tax Help for Graduate and Professional StudentsDr. Richard ToolsonPDI1/24/194:00-6:00 pm
Interviewing and Negotiating for Industry CareersDr. Isaiah Hankel (The Cheeky Scientist) PDI2/1/1912:00-2:00 pm
Hacking the Academic Job MarketDr. Karen Kelsky (The Professor is In) PDI2/7/1912:00-3:00 pm
Sexual Harassment in the AcademyDr. Karen Kelsky (The Professor is In) PDI2/8/199:00-11:00 am
Human Subject Research and Institutional Review Board WorkshopIRB Office PDI2/11/1910:00 am-12:00 pm
Writing Workshop Series: Literature ReviewsLorena O'EnglishPDI2/13/191:00-3:00 pm
Data Literacy: Busting Myths of Big Data Part 2Dr. Nairanjana DasguptaPDI2/19/191:00-3:00 pm
Submitting Your Thesis and DissertationDaniel Vickoren, Programs and Graduations Supervisor, and WSU librarians Debra Spidal and Talea AndersonPDI2/27/1912:00-2:00 pm
Stress Relief and MindfulnessDr. Cecilia Richards, Professor School of Mechanical and Materials EngineeringPDI3/6/19TBA
Work and Wellness Discussion Series: Braving the WildernessAFW faculty presenter PDI and AFW3/19/1912:00-1:00 pm
How a University WorksProvost Dan BernardoPDI3/20/191:00-3:00 pm
Writing Workshop Series: Writer's Block and Writing StrategiesElitza KotzevaPDI3/25/191:00-3:00 pm
Writing Lock InWriting Program/ PD CommitteePDI3/27/191:00-4:00 pm
Panel Discussion: Balance of Work, Life, and FamilyDr. Carmen R. Lugo–Lugo, Dr. Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo, Dr. Joanna Kelley, and Dr. Omar CornejoPDI4/5/193:30-5:00 pm

Presenter Spotlight


Lorena O’English

Tenured Faculty, Holland/Terrell Libraries

Lorena came to librarianship after a stint working for the nonprofit election information organization Project Vote Smart, which made her value the importance of access to information. Oddly enough, she went into librarianship after being on a Foley Institute panel in 1996, and realizing what she really wanted to do! She has been a librarian at WSU since 2000 as a social sciences librarian, just recently adding government information to her portfolio. She very much values her partnership with the GPSA Professiona Development Initiative – working with graduate students in PDI workshops over the last three years has brought her professional and personal joy.

PDI Presentations:

  • Writing Workshop Series
    • Goal Setting and Project Management
    • Critical Reading Strategies
    • Reference Management Software
    • Submitting Your Thesis and Dissertation
    • Writers Block and Writing Strategies
    • Literature Reviews