Personal Effectiveness Offerings

Successful graduates can engage in meaningful reflection about the place of their discipline in the world, and where and how they fit in it. This area will help you gain a keen sense of self-awareness of personal and intellectual strengths. You should be able to reassess your positions, values, and future plans in light of your life experience and critical self-analysis, enabling you to achieve an appropriate life/work balance, to deal effectively with challenging situations and challenging people.

Fall 2019

Career Professionalism 

Program Partner: Mitacs 
GPS Credits: 2 
Skill Areas: Personal Effectiveness

When working with others, we often forget the impressions and impact we have on those around us. We often dismiss just how important our personal reputation impacts the way we are perceived and, in turn, how others relate to us and ultimately, what opportunities are open ​to us. From first impressions to making a lasting impression, this one-day workshop will provide you with tips, tricks, and tools from dressing the part to knowing how to apply effective communication techniques and professional behaviour when working closely with others. View the Mitacs web page for details.

​Conflict Resolution Fundamentals: Conflict, Communication & Negotiation

Program Partner: Conflict Resolution Centre (CRC) for Graduate Students
​GPS Credits: 2 
​​Skill Areas: Communication Skills,Personal Effectiveness

A series of workshops that will help graduate students understand what conflict is, various approaches to conflict, triggers for conflict escalation and the role of effective communication and negotiation in conflict resolution. ​Students will have an opportunity to practice various strategies for resolving and de-escalating conflict. View the CRC webpage for details.

Designing Your Life​​​

Program Partner: Grad Room
GPS Credits: 3 
Skill Areas: Personal Effectiveness

In grad school, we often feel that we are driven by deadlines and rush from one task to another. Stepping into a fuller and reconnected self can provide new insights into how to enhance your life and make crucial decisions about your future. In this series, you will discover how design thinking can help create a well-lived, meaningful, and authentic life. 

Foundations of Project Management 1

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills

This two-day workshop provides an experiential, collaborative learning experience to enable participants to integrate the principles of project management, team building, group dynamics, and leadership that participants can apply immediately and in their future careers and lives. Participants experience the processes of collaborative planning and management, and can see the benefits first hand. View the Mitacs web page for details.​

Foundations of Project Management 2

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credit: 4 
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills

This two-day workshop provides an experiential, collaborative learning experience to enable participants to integrate the principles of project management, team building, group dynamics, and leadership that participants can apply immediately and in their future careers and lives. Participants experience the processes of collaborative planning and management, and can see the benefits first hand.​  View the Mitacs web page for details.​

Graduate Service-Learning Program

Program Partner: Centre for Community Partnerships (CCP)
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Personal Effectiveness
Dates: November 2019 & March 2020

The Graduate Service-Learning Program is an intensive project-based community service event for students to explore the concepts of learning through service, leadership for social change, and comm​​unity development. This co-curricular service-learning program gives students the chance to learn more about the local region and various social issues, and to learn and practice leadership skills by leading and contributing to community-defined group projects. Projects take place mid-February and consist of a pre-service leadership training and orientation, 2.5 days completing a community service project, and critical reflections.

Summary of Training: “Walk the Talk: Preparing for Service in Diverse Communities” will give you some insights into why awareness of culture and development of intercultural communication skills can help you build constructive relationships despite differences. Through reflective and participatory practice you’ll get the skills needed to interact in a variety of group community service settings. This workshop will link an understanding of cultural identity concepts with communication and conflict resolution skills to provide tools for cultivating a respectful environment and supporting the development of constructive community relations.

Community Projects: Graduate students will be assigned a community project which can range from direct service activities to higher-level projects which will draw on their academic knowledge and technical skills View the CCP web page for details.

Graduate Professional Day (UTSC)

Program Partner: UTSC Centre for Teaching and Learning
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Personal Effectiveness, Teaching Competence
Dates: Winter 2020

With a focus on professional development and preparation for the workplace, this free one-day program offers a mix of workshops, seminars, and a panel discussion. Refreshments and lunch are included. Concurrent sessions will allow participants to tailor the day to their needs and interests. The event is open to all U of T graduate students, affiliated with any of the three campuses, but it is only offered at UTSC. GPS credit is available for those who attend at least three of the day’s sessions and complete an assessment of those sessions.  View the UTSC GPS calendar for details.

Graduate Professional Development Conference (UTM)

Program Partner: UTM RGASC
GPS Credit: 4
GPS Skills Areas: Personal Effectiveness

This will be a two-day event with workshops and seminars that aim to enhance your transferable skills in order to better prepare you for your studies and for a competitive job market. The conference will be a great place to make meaningful professional connections with staff, faculty, and other graduate students.​ View the registration page and sign up.​

Leadership Fundamentals

Program Partner: Office of Student Life 
GPS Credit: 1 GPS credit for 2 workshops, 2 GPS Credits for 4 workshops 
Skill Areas: Personal Effectiveness, Communication & Interpersonal Skills 
View the Student Life website for details.


Program Partner: Graduate Management Consulting Association 
GPS Credits: 4 
Skill Areas: Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Personal Effectiveness 

Graduate students in non-business disciplines such as Science and Engineering have overwhelmingly expressed interest in learning business fundamentals. Success in many of the careers, which these students will enter, demands some business knowledge for career advancement. Additionally, many students lack an understanding of the range of career options open to them after completing their degree.

This 10-lecture program will give graduate students and postdocs:

  • A solid grounding in fundamental business concepts
  • The opportunity to learn from business experts
  • The chance to apply this new knowledge to solving business cases.

This year the lectures will be presented by professionals from a diverse set of disciplines, including strategy, operational, and financial consulting as well as professionals in investment and risk management.

Course format: Each class will consist of a mini group case practice on a specific topic, followed by a group presentation of the solution. There will then be a one-hour lecture on the same topic. The course will cover concepts from the popular book Ten Day MBA by Steven Silbiger. At the end of the course, students will participate in a case competition which will be judged by a panel of consultants.

*Please note, this is a very popular offering and our waiting lists are usually full. If you cannot attend all of the lectures, please consider taking the class the next time it is offered. 

Motivation and Time Management for Graduate Students

GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Personal Effectiveness

The Long Haul: Building & Rebuilding Motivation

This workshop will offer a learning skills and personal counselling perspective on motivation. We will explore blocks and barriers that graduate students commonly encounter, and strategies for analyzing and overcoming them. This is an interactive session that will involve information sharing, experiential exercises, and discussion. Active participation is encouraged.

Time Management for Graduate Students: Balancing Work & Life

In this hands-on workshop, we will explore practical ways to plan a well-rounded life, balance competing priorities, manage large projects, and structure unstructured time. We will consider strategies for students with major non-academic responsibilities (e.g., care giving duties, jobs, long-term extracurricular commitments) and discuss ways to detect, relieve, and prevent burnout.

Networking Skills

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credits: 2 
GPS Skill Area: Personal Effectiveness 

You’ve all heard the saying, “you are only as good as your network,” but have you ever wondered how to get one? This full-day workshop is designed to provide insight and interaction along with the know how to build and stabilize business relationships through effective networking. We will cover who-what-where-when-and-why to network, and participants will have the opportunity to practice what they learn. Details on the actual networking exercises will be determined by the location of each event. Activities will be customized to reflect the interests of the participants. View the Mitacs web page.

Oral Presentation Skills (for Native Speakers of English)

Program Partner: GCAC
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Personal Effectiveness
Dates: September, October/November, January, February/March, May 

Does the thought of standing in front of an audience to present your work make you nervous? Would you like to present your ideas more clearly and more confidently? If the answer to these questions is yes, then this course is for you. In this course, you will receive guidance on various aspects of presenting, such as how to structure presentations, to design visual aids, to manage nerves, and to handle the question period. You will have a valuable opportunity to learn from the presentations of others and to practice what you learn in front of an informed and supportive audience of your peers. As a member of that audience, you will be able to practice active observing to further improve both your listening and presenting skills. Students will have the opportunity to receive a digital recording of their own presentation. Please note that this course will not address the specific linguistic needs of non-native speakers of English.

Course duration: 5 weeks with an optional tutorial in the sixth week. 
View the annual GCAC course schedule.

Oral Presentation Skills (for Non-Native Speakers of English)

Program Partner: GCAC
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Personal Effectiveness
Dates: September, October/November, January, February/March, May

​This course is designed to help graduate students improve their oral presentation skills. Students receive guidance on various aspects of presenting, such as how to structure presentations, how to design visual aids, and how to use body language to enhance the clarity and impact of oral presentations. The course offers a valuable opportunity for students to learn from others’ presentations and to apply what they learn in front of an empathetic audience. 
View the annual GCAC course schedule.

​​Presenting Your Case Effectively: Advocating for Oneself & One’s Family

Program Partner: Family Care Office
GPS Credits: 1 credit for combined workshops equal to 3 hours of instruction​
Skill Areas: Communication & Interpersonal Skills, Personal Effectiveness

Graduate students have a lot on their plate. When a problem arises — be it academic, family related, personal, or professional — advocating for oneself and one’s family can feel like a daunting task, particularly if the stakes are high. Traditionally defined as the “art of persuasion,” rhetoric is a powerful tool that students can utilize to better communicate through the written word. What is the best way to present one’s case? How can emotions be conveyed strategically and diplomatically? When writing a letter, what should come first—the presentation of the problem or the suggested solution? This workshop will touch upon these questions by focusing on the strategic use of rhetoric in letter writing.

Prerequisite: Students will prepare and bring with them to the workshop a claim letter/memo requiring adjustment when something has gone wrong. View the Family Care events page.

Prewriting Strategies for Developing & Organizing Yo​ur Ideas (Humanities & Social Sciences)

Program Partner: GCAC 
GPS Credits: 4 
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Personal Effectiveness 

In order for a research paper to be clear to readers, it must first be crystal clear in the mind of its author. Whether you are writing a course paper, a journal article, or a thesis, this course will help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your argument before you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for developing and organizing their ideas — strategies such as organizing notes through key words, outlining, diagramming, use of Aristotle’s Topics, etc. — and will be encouraged to consider which strategies work best given their own learning styles. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric, the course will give students the chance to practice strategies for investigating and organizing ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages. The course is designed for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences.

Course duration: 4 weeks. 
View the annual GCAC course schedule.

​SGS Expanding Your Leadership Toolkit — Managing Change & Keeping Agile

GPS Credits: 4
Skill Area: Personal Effectiveness

Managing change and adapting to rapidly changing circumstances are key skills on both a personal and professional level. For those making a transition in their work, it’s a given that “what got you here won’t necessarily get you there.” Consequently, being “agile” and able to negotiate your way in varied situations are highly valued assets in today’s rapidly evolving workplaces.

Join us for this unique workshop series that aims to prepare you to deal proactively and productively with change. This series will be of special interest to graduate students transitioning from academia to non-academic careers in the corporate, governmental, or NGO sectors.

​This series is composed of four modules, with the first three exploring different aspects that influence the transition process (personal, interpersonal, and community). The fourth module introduces a solutions-oriented coaching model that enables participants to better negotiate change.

Module 1: Through directed discussions (in the World Café style), examine personal foundations for making successful transitions, i.e., the qualities within ourselves that play a role in how we cope with change such as mindfulness, grit, and resilience.

Module 2: Consider the interpersonal aspects of managing transitions primarily through “interest-based negotiation,” also known as “win-win bargaining.” Look at strategizing when negotiations fail by developing a “best alternative to a negotiated agreement“ (BATNA). In addition, participants will critically engage with a relevant case study and participate in a negotiation.

Module 3: Focus on how community networks play a role in making successful transitions. Participants learn how to conduct a network analysis and develop strategies that refresh and maximize the effectiveness of their personal, operational, and strategic networks.

Module 4: Examine how solution-focused coaching can overcome personal obstacles to change and to support other p​eople’s transitions. Moving beyond problem identification, learn how to move forward using specific coaching questions designed to lead to solutions. In addition, students will apply lessons in this workshop series and integrate key material from previous modules to this process.​​

Stuck in the Middle: Juggling School & Family Life

Program Partner: Family Care Office​
GPS Credit: 1 credit for combined workshops equal to 3 hours of instruction
S​kill Area: Personal Effectiveness

“Stuck in the Middle” is a session on dealing with constant challenges of having family responsibilities, working and being a student. This session is geared towards graduate students with multiple responsibilities. It will address feelings of guilt that arise when juggling your role as a student and not always having enough time to spend with your children and/or your loved ones. It’s for everyone who feels overwhelmed. This is an interactive session where most of the exercises are done in pairs and within the group. In this session you will discover your patterns of ‘stuckness’ and learn to convert feelings of being overwhelmed into action, energy, and change. View the Family Care events and workshops.

The Options Program

​Program Partner: Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
GPS Credit: 4
Skill Area: Personal Effectiveness

Take a deep dive into career management with an 11-week, non-credit course. Facilitated by faculty and professional development experts, you will learn about what you have to offer employers, the realities of the job market, tools, and techniques for getting a job, and what to expect in the workplace. Find out more about The Options Program. 

​Time Management

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credit: 2
S​kill Area: Personal ​Effectiveness

This workshop gives you real tools to measurably improve your productivity, performance, and reduce stress within and outside the workplace.​

Learn how to get your projects and activities done on time, what makes a successful action​ plan or to-do list,​ and how to implement your plans effectively. Manage time thieves such as procrastination, distractions, interruptions, and over-commitment. Discover effective time management tactics that work for our modern world. View the Mitacs web page for details.​​