PhD+ Foundations 1: Values and Your PhD/Postdoctoral Journey


This is the first session of the PhD+ Spring 2021 Foundations series. This discussion on values will serve as a baseline for the rest of the series, which offers guidance on common areas related to your mentality, well-being, productivity, and professional preparation.

Many of you are just getting started with your PhD programs or Postdoctoral training at UVA. While it is easy to feel the weight of your checklists, your to-dos, your calendars, it is also critical for us to pause and reflect on what is explicitly and implicitly driving our decisions. What are values exactly? What are your values? How are your values connected to your PhD/Postdoctoral work, your professional and career development, and your personal life?

In this session, we will discuss the definitions of values, take a values assessment, and brainstorm ways that allow us to live our lives more intentionally based on our values. We will also get to know each other from different academic/professional backgrounds, creating a learning community for the semester, share and exchange thoughts through small breakout rooms and general discussions, and lay out the topics for the rest of the semester. 

Learning Objectives

  • Gain more understanding of what values mean to you and which values stand out to you
  • Understand how values play a role in individual life as well as your subsequent graduate training, professional development, and career decision-making
  • Discuss intentions and transformations: what happens when values align or shift.


Karolyn Kinane, Ph.D., is Associate Director of Pedagogy and Faculty Engagement at the Contemplative Sciences Center. Karolyn works one-on-one and in small groups with faculty across grounds to develop and enhance contemplative approaches to teaching and learning. She facilitates workshops and retreats, designs curriculum, and directs the pedagogy database for the Contemplative University.

Previously, Karolyn served as professor and chair of the English Department at Plymouth State University (PSU), New Hampshire, where she researched and taught Medieval Studies, English literature, mysticism, and contemplative reading and writing. Over her thirteen years at PSU, Karolyn served as founding co-director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, director of the Medieval and Renaissance Forum, and founding director of Contemplative Communities, a cross-campus initiative that helps students, faculty, staff, and community members explore and develop agency, resilience, purpose, and mindfulness.

Please register to receive a Zoom link.


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