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GRADSkills

A student in a gray sweater writes on a whiteboard.

You’ve made it to grad school! Now what? Grad school can be a stressful and demanding experience as you balance academic progress and build professional relationships to serve you in your future career.

GRADSkills is a workshop series to help build your toolbox as a graduate student in competencies such as effective communication, conflict resolution, solution-focused dialogue, giving and receiving feedback and navigating professional relationships.

Students can take part in any or all six workshops. Completion of at least four workshops will earn a digital badge. Completion of each workshop is eligible for Future Smart.

To receive a digital badge that certifies the skills achieved, graduate students must complete a minimum of four sessions to obtain a digital badge. 

As one of those four completed sessions, students must attend one of the two skills reflection sessions (as part of the Nov. 24, 2021, and March 23, 2022 sessions).

Learning Outcomes

By participating in the GRADSkills Communication Series, graduate students will be able to:

  • Reflect upon and explore communication styles and strengths and identify areas for improvement and growth;
  • Apply practical communication skills in a variety of contexts;
  • Better navigate communication within and beyond academia with increased confidence.

Upcoming workshops

This year's series of workshops will focus on effective communication skills to help you navigate and optimize your graduate school experience.

Navigating the Student-Supervisor Working Relationship: Strategies and Skills

January 27, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

In this workshop, we will provide an overview of current research by Ryerson faculty and graduate students, on the mental health and wellbeing of graduate students and on some of their prevalent concerns on successfully navigating one of the key experiences in graduate studies: the student-supervisor relationship.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify some shared sources of stress in the graduate student experience
  • Describe common challenges and concerns, including those related to the student-supervisor relationship
  • Create and use an empathy map as a way of constructively navigating complex challenges involving multiple perspectives

Conflict Resolution: Developing Skills and Competencies

February 10, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Developing competencies in conflict resolution is important for all of us, in many of our everyday interactions. In challenging times or in difficult interactions, having well-developed conflict resolution skills is absolutely crucial. Graduate students may find themselves navigating challenges and conflicts in a number of contexts. In this workshop, we will identify some common scenarios in graduate studies that may involve potential conflicts, review some common styles of conflict resolution and discuss barriers to conflict resolution. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect upon their own conflict resolution styles, and identify potential resolution strategies that aim to resolve conflict, avoid creating further friction, and that maintain collegial and professional relationships. 

Learning outcomes
Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify potential sources of conflict
  • Describe common conflict resolution styles, and reflect on your own style and approach to conflict
  • Learn strategies to find solutions to challenges without creating additional conflict
  • Integrate effective conflict resolution skills into a role-playing exercise

Solution-focused Dialogue

March 3, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Navigating the bumps and hurdles of graduate studies can be a major source of stress. The good news is that you can find effective ways to tackle these challenges by leveraging skills you already have. Taking a solution-focused approach to graduate education emphasizes your competencies, strengths and possibilities instead of problems, deficits and weaknesses. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn practical techniques and work with simulation actors and your peers to learn how to shift your focus from problems to solutions.

Learning outcomes
Upon the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Use practical solution-focused techniques to address common challenges
  • Identify key hope-activating and goal-setting skills
  • Set time-efficient goals for their interactions with supervisors and instructors

Giving and Receiving Feedback

March 31, 2021, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Providing feedback to others and being able to listen to and implement feedback effectively are arguably some of the most important skills that graduate students develop over the course of their studies. Feedback is also an integral part of effective advocacy, managing and resolving various forms of conflict, and having difficult discussions. In this workshop, you will learn various strategies for giving and receiving effective feedback and have a chance to apply feedback strategies in a series of cases and activities. 

Learning outcomes
By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and apply effective feedback strategies
  • Discern and integrate aspects of feedback that are most relevant to your academic and professional growth
  • Navigate difficult feedback conversations with supervisors and others in positions of power