PLEASE NOTE: The Fall semester will begin on Tuesday, August 25. Information and FAQs are available on the Return to Grounds website and the Fall 2020 Student Resource website, which will be updated frequently.

Foundations Series

PhD Plus Foundations series is best suited for PhD students in first and second year, and Postdoctoral Scholars at early stages of training. However, all PhD students and Postdocs (collectively called trainees) are invited to attend these interactive sessions. This core module provides an opportunity to develop inter-disciplinary peer communities, gain fundamental skills for holistic development and wellness, and guides trainees to design their optimal doctoral and postdoctoral experience. 

Learning Goals

Through Foundations series, trainees (PhD students and Postdocs) will  

  • Build confidence and sense of belonging in a diverse and new environment

  • Develop a community with peers across disciplinary backgrounds with diverse prior experiences, and identities 

  • Foster holistic development and mental wellbeing by familiarizing and discussing concepts, and adopting approaches pertaining:
    • contemplative practices, diverse strengths, and building resilience through art and science of human flourishing
    • self-leadership and qualities of agency to manage clear, as well as cryptic and evolving, expectations during research and pedagogy training
    • agility through inherent challenges and uncertainties that may be beyond one’s control
    • healthy attitudes and behaviors for work-life integration, physical and mental wellbeing, managing -time, projects and finances-, and collaborative learning
    • clear, concise and professional modes of communication, including approaches to manage conflict and navigate difficult conversations

Module Description

PhD Plus Foundations series core module is offered every Fall and Spring.  Each module comprises 10 interactive sessions on the following topics. Each session is approximately 90 minutes long. Upon successful completion (70%) of this module, PhD students are eligible for a non-credit credential (PhDP 9000) on your academic transcript. PhD students can complete the module over multiple semesters. 


  • Contemplative inquiry, pedagogy, and practice
  • Building resilience and leveraging strengths
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Agency, teams, and conflict management
  • Finance management
  • Effective communication
  • Developing professional presence and networks
  • Health and wellness
  • Group discussion and journey maps


September 21, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the second session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

The challenges in graduate school and Postdoc training may cause significant stress, anxiety, and imposter fears. In this interactive workshop, learn some strategies of building resilience to nip imposter...

September 28, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the third session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

'Working long hours, yet not having enough time in a day to finish work' may lead to burnout and decline in mental health and wellbeing.

In this session, PhD students and Postdocs will learn about...

October 5, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the fourth session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

PhD students and Postdocs are essentially managers of your research projects. Therefore, learn and integrate project management principles in your work for efficiency and agility. Take ownership of your...

October 12, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the fifth session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

Research productivity is highly dependent on healthy team dynamics. However, most PhD students and Postdocs are wary of "people problems" and find themselves ill-equipped to resolve conflicts. In this...

October 19, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the sixth session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

Living from paycheck to paycheck can add stress to the already complex Graduate School and Postdoc training experience. In this workshop, learn the basics of finance management, budgeting, and strategies...

October 26, 2020 | 3:30 am

This is the seventh session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

“Communication” is consistently listed among the top skills businesses want in their employees. We all communicate – what makes communication in a professional setting distinct? In this session, we will...

November 2, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the eighth session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

In this 90-minute interactive workshop, we will together explore the creative and professional ways to present ourselves in networking, establishing a professional yet powerful presence, and meaningful...

November 9, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the ninth session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

We are helping our mentees, students, and colleagues through stressful situations, all the while trying to take care of ourselves, PhD or Postdoctoral work, families, and more. We will discuss wellness and...

November 16, 2020 | 3:30 pm

This is the last session of the PhD+ Fall 2020 Foundations series. 

In this session, participants will

  • meet PhD+ Foundations series grads from past years, discuss applying strategies learned in professional life, and learn from their experience
  • discuss...