Individual Development Plans

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IDP for PhD Graduate Students

To assist PhD graduate students to achieve their career goals, the School of Graduate Studies in the Heath Sciences has a policy that mandates all PhD graduate students develop and use an Individual Development Plan (IDP). All graduate students will review their IDP with their research mentor and program director at least once per year during one or both of the twice-annual student progression review meetings.

What is an Individual Development Plan?

The IDP is a useful tool designed to assist the graduate student with:

  • Identifying his/her professional goals and objectives;
  • Assessing the graduate student's skill set relative to his/her career goals;
  • Developing a plan (training plan) to acquire the skills and competencies needed to achieve short- and long-term career objectives.

In addition to serving as a planning tool, an IDP also serves as a communication tool, allowing the graduate student to communicate research and career goals to mentors, including research advisors and graduate program directors.

What is the IDP process?

The development, implementation, and revision of IDPs require a series of steps to be conducted by graduate students and their mentors. This is an interactive process and requires full participation of both students and mentors.

  • Student Self Assessment;
  • Student: Write and share IDP
    • Mentor: Review IP and adjust training plan;
  • Student: Implement plan and revise as needed
    • Mentor: establish regular progress review;
  • Student: Survey opportunities with mentor
    • Mentor: Discuss opportunities

What is the SGSHS policy for IDP?

The annual review of the IDP will take place during at least one of the twice-annual Graduate Student Research and Career Progress Review meetings between the graduate student, program director, and research mentor (the latter: for post-candidacy students). The date of this IDP review will be noted on the last page of the Individual Student Progress Report form.

Upon completion of the Student Progress meeting and the review of the IDP, a signature page at the end of the Individual Student Progress Report form is to be signed by all participants. The completed and signed Individual Student Progress Report Form for each student enrolled in the program is to be provided to SGSHS by June 1 each year.

How does this relate to the core competencies?

There is broad agreement that core competencies provide an excellent way to evaluate career/professional development. Core competencies are primarily blends of skills and experiences that future employers and/or educational institutions will be seeking. Specifically, graduate training should aim to build competence in:

  • Communication (writing, speaking, grant writing, communication in English)
  • Teaching
  • Leadership, management and mentoring
  • Career exploration and job search skills

What resources can I use?

An excellent free online tool for developing an IDP is myIDP. This tool is written specifically for scientists to help them understand their skills, values and interests and how those align with potential career choices.

Training in use of IDP

The School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences will organize a workshop annually for all first-year graduate students to educate them on the use of IDP and the myIDP website.