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. 


Through the Foundations series, trainees will  

  • Gain self-awareness and understand how self-knowledge relates to PhD/Postdoc journey
  • Develop a sense of belonging in a new professional environment
  • Develop a community with peers across disciplinary backgrounds with diverse prior experiences, and identities 
  • Foster holistic development and mental wellbeing by familiarizing participants with six core PhD+ competencies:
    • Personal development
      • Contemplative practices, diverse strengths, and building resilience through art and science of human flourishing
      • Healthy attitudes and behaviors for work-life integration, physical and mental wellbeing, managing -time, projects and finances-, and collaborative learning
    • Leadership & management
      • 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
    • Communication
      • Clear, concise and professional modes of communication, including approaches to manage conflict and navigate difficult conversations
    • Collaboration
    • Analytical thinking
    • Cultural competency
unified hands



As you are beginning in your PhD or Postdoctoral journey, take some time to connect with your peers in the greater UVA PhD/Postdoc community.

Skills graphic

Skills Series


PhD Plus Foundations Series module is offered every Fall and Spring. Click here for details on learning goals, topics and schedule.