In my day job, I manage professional development programs. And in that field the trend has moved to offering bite-sized training. Appetizers, if you will. Rather than committing someone to a full three-course meal (or more!) of training, we know adults learn best when single-tasked and focused, and in smaller chunks, particularly as we get bombarded with more and more information. This applies really well to graduate school training too.
One of the prevailing paradigms in higher ed these days is student success. Cynics decry it as a framework devoid of meaning. After all, haven’t all of us in higher ed existed to ensure student success at all times? As in: how is this “new” or advancing the field? But more narrowly constructed, many universities, colleges, and community colleges frame their missions and strategic plans around it. Student success can mean many things. It can entail access – ensuring that education remains available to all to the degree possible. It can include breaking down scheduling and financial barriers so students are able to complete their programs and graduate to a rewarding career. And it can mean that institutions provide services for its increasingly diverse students, such as food insecure students, first generation students, etc. But what does your higher ed institution do for career success for its staff? Anything?
We need to be helping grad students learn how to multi-task. Actually, that’s not quite the right term. It’s more how to handle task-switching. To learn how to put constraints on their time and deliverables and accept ‘good enough’ and move on, because that’s what any job will require of them.
Work is about more than just getting there on time and being where you say you’ll be when you say you’ll be there. Behaviors & habits can help address not just what you need to know, and be able to do in order to perform a job, but what traits make someone really successful at that, what sets them up to thrive in that work.