Day 1: October 24, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Pushing the Needle: Expanding Professional Development in Academia

Keynote speaker (TBD)

9:10 – 9:30 a.m.

We are excited to have a representative from NIH give an inspirational talk that will set the stage for the meeting.


Institutions in Action: Projects & Programs

Abstract submission is now closed


This four-part session, occurring throughout the day, is a great opportunity for us to learn from each other. Representatives from various institutions will give 10-minute presentations about their programs or report on data-driven projects. Talks will be followed by a 5-minute Q&A.



Plenary: Leveraging Organizational Influence to Support Culture Change in the Academy

1:15 – 2:45 p.m.

Multiple organizations in the graduate and postdoctoral education spheres have been enacting programs to build awareness of the diversity of career pathways pursued by Ph.D. scientists, and to broaden training to better prepare trainees for these outcomes. This session highlights initiatives by the Association of American Universities, Council of Graduate Schools, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Keck Graduate Institute, and discusses the role organizations can play in supporting and stimulating culture change within academia.

David Asai: Senior Director of Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


James Sterling: Director of Postdoctoral Professional Master’s Program, Faculty Director of the Professional Science Master’s National Office, Keck Graduate Institute


Julia Kent: Vice President, Best Practices and Strategic Initiatives at the Council of Graduate Schools


Tobin (Toby) Smith: Vice President for Policy, Association of American Universities



Seeding Partnerships: mingling for introverts

4:45 – 5:30 p.m.

There will be five ten-minute rounds. For each round, you will pick one topic.

Networking Happy Hour

5:30 p.m.

Day 2: October 25, 2018

Part 1: 9:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Maintaining Momentum: The Role of Collaboration and Community

Creating Sustainable Organizations: Sustainability & Lessons Learned from the National Stage

9:10 – 10:30 a.m.

As the BEST Consortium considers future directions, this session highlights other related organizations at various stages of evolution as models for how sustainable organizations can be established. Each organization will highlight its mission and goals related to Ph.D. career development, and share strategies for creating a sustainable organization. The discussion will include the role of collaboration and community in maintaining momentum behind the common initiative of improving graduate school education.

Anthony Boccanfuso: President of the University-Industry Demonstration Partners


Cynthia Fuhrmann: Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development at UMass Medical School


Jodi Yellin: Director of Science Policy, Association of American Medical Colleges


Kim Petrie: Graduate Career Consortium Executive Board, Assistant Dean for Biomedical Career Development, Vanderbilt University



Blue-Sky Visioning: Imagining the Future

10:45 – 11:45 am

This is a very interactive session in which everyone will be free to share their vision for the future of graduate school education and career development. It is called Blue Sky Visioning because the sky is the limit. After collecting ideas, workgroups will be formed to discuss ways in which we can make these pie-in-the-sky hopes a reality.

Thanks to our guests for coming

Day 2: October 25, 2018

Part 2: 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Closed Session: Consortium Business

Moving Forward: Nuts & Bolts of the BEST Transition

Blue-Sky Visioning: Consortium Intro & Working Groups

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.

In this session, the pie-in-the-sky hopes will be specific to the consortium. Ideally, working groups formed during this session will remain after the meeting so that we can continue to work together to advance graduate school education.


Future of BEST: Nuts & Bolts

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

In this session, the group will discuss what will be needed logistically to maintain the momentum we have developed during the BEST funding once the funding has ended.


The BEST Book Project: Updates & Working Groups

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

In this session, the group will discuss the progress of the BEST book and the steps needed to complete this project.

Networking Happy Hour

5:30 p.m.

Day 3: October 26, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Continuing Collaboration: Cross-site evaluations and future projects

Imagining Cross-Site Data Sharing: What Questions Can We Ask?

9:10 – 10:15 am

Goals for this session include 1) plan future collaborations for examining cross-site data with future incoming data, 2) create working groups of schools interested in doing specific topics over the long-term, and 3) imagine and propose future paper topics


Pursuing Cross-Site Collaborations: New and Old

10:30 – 12:30 p.m.

Working groups formed during the previous session will meet to have specific discussions about projects and the best way to move forward.


Lunch on your own

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.



Optional Collaborative Meetings

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This session is to give people unstructured time to talk amongst each other about ongoing or future projects. Stay for as little or as much of this session as you would like.