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Leadership at The Graduate School, including for its CareerWell professional development programming and Master of Applied Professional Studies (MAPS) degree program, attended an annual conference designed to showcase and share ideas to enhance career development support and opportunities for graduate students. A group of people sit in discussion

Vanessa Doriott Anderson, assistant dean for academic and career development, said the Graduate Career Consortium — an all-volunteer organization — is a leading voice in the field. The organization supports more than 450 members across the United States and Canada at nearly 185 institutions of higher education.

This year’s conference was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the end of June. Doriott Anderson facilitated a workshop with Brian Rybarczyk, associate dean for professional development, on a career allyship program for faculty that The Graduate School is designing. Rybarczyk co-chairs a GCC committee focused on data and benchmarking.

Laura Kuizin, director of the MAPS program, collaborated with Anne Mitchell Whisnant, director of the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Duke University, to present their programs supporting master’s degree students who are pursuing interdisciplinary degrees.

“At Carolina, we’re really looking at the needs of our graduate students; many of us in the field are coming to the realization that we need to provide faculty with more resources so they can become career allies,” Doriott Anderson said. “People who do this type of work do it as a labor of love; we really care about our graduate students … There’s a misconception that pursuing a faculty role is the obvious and the most desirable outcome to graduate training,” Doriott Anderson said. “However, not only are there fewer tenure-track or permanent faculty positions available than there used to be, there’s a greater awareness that master’s and doctoral students have a broader, more widely applicable skill set than people might realize.”

Doriott Anderson said attending the GCC conference showcases a commitment to building on excellence and considering how to best serve the career and professional development needs of Carolina students as The Graduate School launches its strategic plan in fall 2023.

“Being able to mix with experts in the field gave us a new perspective and also new ideas to bring back to Chapel Hill to enhance our very supportive community; it reflected the best of what we do — this spirit of inclusion, support, and caring.”

The GCC is behind many initiatives designed to support graduate students, including Imagine Ph.D., an online resource graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill can access to explore career pathways in humanities and social sciences.

“We are in a great position to serve our audiences,” she said. “The GCC develops leaders in the field.”

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