Advance Professional Growth

Leadership & Professionalism

The leadership and professionalism competency includes:

  • Ability to behave consistent with the ethical standards of the given field
  • Ability to define a problem and solutions with sensitivity to context
  • Ability to lead, create vision, build a sense of purpose, and motivate regardless race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation
  • Ability to set goals, plan & measure progress

Progress is divided into three stages. Each stage includes recommended steps.

Early stage (years 1-2)

  • Create a myIDP
  • Mentor undergraduates
  • Develop internal networks
  • Attend ethics trainings & similar events
  • Seek leadership & service opportunities
  • Join professional organizations

Mid stage (years 2-4)

  • Review & maintain your myIDP
  • Mentor undergraduates
  • Develop external networks
  • Contribute to a team-based project
  • Troubleshoot issues & propose creative solutions
  • Provide feedback to peers on presentations, manuscripts & grants

Late stage (years 4-5)

  • Review & maintain your myIDP
  • Mentor undergraduates
  • Maintain & extend collaborative relationships and professional networks
  • Serve as role model for other students
  • Manage project budget & personnel
  • Seek leadership & service
  • Plan transition after graduate studies

Activities and milestones that support attainment of the leadership & professional competency include but are not limited to:


  • Annual graduate student review1
  • Seminar prep with peers2
  • Coursework3


  • Orientation & Leadership Retreat
  • Leadership & Professional Series11

Graduate school/other

  • Required trainings13
  • WSU/HRS14


  • Annual graduate student review4
  • Seminar prep with peers5
  • Lab meeting6
  • CVM Research Symposium7


  • myIDP annual review12
  • Leadership & Professional Series

Graduate school/other

  • Professional Development Initiative (PDI)15


  • Annual graduate student review8
  • Seminar prep with peers
  • Presentations9
  • Seminar10


  • myIDP annual review
  • Leadership & Professional Series

Graduate school/other

  • WSU/HRS16

Expectations for the leadership and professionalism competency:


Inconsistent or delayed trainings and attendance. Alienates others or limits professional interactions, behaviors do not support team-based projects, inability to trouble shoot issues or resists proposing creative solutions. Unable to track expenditures and ‘housekeeping’ requirements. Inappropriate role model. No evidence of planning for next steps. Is unable to lead a group, build a sense of purpose or motivate a group.


Attends or contributes regularly to seminar, lab meetings, and professional organizations. Balances academic and professional responsibilities. Accepts criticism. Provides feedback or criticism if asked. Some ability to lead a meeting, group, contribute and solicit ideas from others. Some ability to lead, contribute, and build a sense of purpose with others regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

Performs to Expectations

Attends and contributes in seminar, lab, annual graduate reviews, and troubleshooting with creative solutions. Seeks, accepts and provides feedback and constructive criticism when asked . Seeks and serves in professional leadership roles. Able to lead a group, contribute/create a vision, build a sense of purpose with others regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

1 The annual student review provides a required reason to seek opportunities, review accomplishments, model the ethics and professional standards of the discipline and establish goals. Consider attending to the ethical standards of the field and demonstrating evidence to set goals, plan & measure progress.
2 Preparing for seminar with others offers the opportunity to work with peers in a professional setting which models the ethics of the field, stretch yourself to lead a group, create a vision, build a sense of purpose, and motivate a group regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.
3 To advance your understanding of bioethics within multiple settings, complete elective coursework such as PHIL 530 Bioethics or XXX564 (Biomedical Ethics).
4 Use your annual student review to identify areas to strengthen. Consider when/where you will demonstrate the ability to lead a group, create a vision, build a sense of purpose, and motivate a group regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation or when you will have the chance to manage a project budget and personnel.
5 Leading others serves many purposes. Consider leading the ‘Seminar Prep with Others’ activities for at least one speaker during a semester.
6 Use your lab meetings to better contribute to the group and work with others. Take the chance to troubleshoot and offer creative solutions when necessary.
7 Are you ready to balance one more thing? Consider participating in the CVM Research Symposium where you can compete for some scholarship support, gain feedback from reviewers and practice sharing your research with those inside and outside your discipline. There you will have a chance to interact with a diverse audience.
8 Preparation for your annual student review can offer an opportunity to maintain and extend professional relationships. Consider selectively asking others for a review of the draft and feedback, be sure to let them know why you have chosen them to ask and consider giving them a few specific things to especially focus on. Consider including the experiences such as soliciting and providing feedback on manuscripts, proposals, presentations and more.
9 Presentations can give you a chance to convey a vision, a purpose, motivate others regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. You can practice clearly conveying the laboratory goals, methods to progress.
10 Your next steps will include professional social interactions. Take the opportunity to visit & dine with seminar speaker (guest).
11 See the list of offerings for the iPBS Leadership & Professional Series on the web page at: We recommend that you select 2 or 3 offerings to attend each semester with an overall goal of 15 before graduation.
12 Using the myIDP (Independent Development Plan) can be enormously valuable. It helps you identify areas of strength, weakness and interest to improve your chance to learn about and prepare for your next steps. The content of the myIDP is your own and can remain separate from your annual student review. Learn more during the Orientation & Leadership Retreat and we recommend visiting and updating your myIDP at least three times a year. Additionally, the leadership within the iPBS is committed to annually meeting with and discussing your myIDP. Ask to schedule that meeting in the early spring.
13 Complete the required trainings and documentation in a timely manner. Check with your department to be sure you are completing the necessary trainings, such as Responsible Conduct of Research, Laboratory Safety, and Biological Safety. Consider how you support your peers and any undergraduates whom you mentor in this effort too.
14 Consider balancing your responsibilities and stress as part of your professional development. Consider attending sessions which focus on topics such as stress management.
15 Participate in the Professional Development Initiative (PDI) which is hosted by Graduate School and the Graduate Professional Student Association.  An effort will be made to avoid duplicating a topic or offering between the offering from the iPBS and the PDI. Look for topics such as ‘Leadership/mentoring styles’ and ‘Communicating as a leader/supervisor’.
16 While details can be different between institutions, look for sessions on the topic of Teaching & Tenure. Participate in select opportunities from HRS which help you learn about some of your likely future roles.