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The importance of student-led initiatives in rethinking the Ph.D.


In this article, we share our own experiences with graduate student-led professional development opportunities. With this focus we contribute to the theme of this special issue: rethinking professional development and the training of geography Ph.D. students. Citing our own graduate experiences at Penn State University and Ohio State University, we discuss the importance of informal professional development seminars, graduate student conferences, community outreach, and service learning for enhancing graduate student professional development. Our hope is that such discussions can lead to a rethinking of the Ph.D. in geography and help graduate students as they make the challenging transition from doctoral student to junior faculty member.

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We are grateful to the insightful comments of four anonymous reviewers. We are thankful to Ken Foote for inviting us to be a part of this special issue and for his thoughtful editorial comments. Lastly, we are grateful to the graduate students and faculty in our respective programs for their encouragement, friendship and insight in our geography graduate training.

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Correspondence to Timothy L. Hawthorne.

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Hawthorne, T.L., Fyfe, D. The importance of student-led initiatives in rethinking the Ph.D.. GeoJournal 80, 175–179 (2015).

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  • Ph.D.
  • Professional development
  • Student-led initiatives
  • Geography
  • Graduate education