Gopal Midha

Display Date
August 26, 2020
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Gopal Midha

Gopal transitioned from banking to education in 2005 and recently received his PhD in Education-Administration and Supervision program at the School of Education and Human Development in December 2019. For his dissertation research, Gopal investigated ‘meetings.’ He chose to study leadership meetings using the educational context of schools. Research suggests that school principals, like CEOs, spend at least 75% of their time in meetings, yet they are understudied by scholars as a significant research phenomenon. His dissertation drew upon organizational learning and meeting science to study how leadership meetings develop and shape professional knowledge of teachers and principals in two high-poverty schools in Mumbai. Besides his research on leadership meetings, Gopal also conducts theater workshops for educational leaders. He recently published his perspective on unplanned meetings and his approach to using theater to develop educational leaders in a curated website on educational leadership (

Gopal participated in Foundations series, Career Design, Communicating Research, and Science Policy core modules of PhD Plus.

Gopal was a PhD Plus intern at Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia through Summer and Fall of 2019, under the mentorship of Larry D. Terry, Executive Director of the Weldon Cooper Center.

Q. What is your post-PhD career aspiration?

A. I would like to continue working on strengthening leadership, which brings together my PhD skills and my 18 years of work experience across banking and education. I may explore this area either through faculty positions or diverse careers beyond the professoriate.

Q. How would you summarize your PhD Plus internship?

A. I applied to PhD Plus internship for experience on leadership development outside the School of Education. During my internship at the Weldon Cooper Center, I researched community leadership and co-developed a workshop for strengthening the skills of local leaders in southwest Virginia. The workshop was conducted in October of 2019. PhD Plus internship program was helpful in getting a broader perspective on leadership development, in developing a social and professional network of colleagues and contributing to the community.

Q. What professional skills did you develop during your internship?

A. I strengthened my leadership, self-management, and initiative. Also, through my internship experience, I have a better understanding of workshop designs and research on community leadership.

Q. How has this internship assisted your career preparation?

A. The internship gave me a broader perspective on the diverse applications of the research and analytical skills that I developed during my PhD journey.

Q. What advice would you give peers on utilizing PhD Plus internships for career development?

A. Think broader and bigger in terms of your PhD skills. This will help you see another arena of meaningful work where you can leverage your research skills and even further understanding of your research area. While aspiring to be a faculty is wonderful and good use of your training, PhD Plus can also help you meet colleagues and professionals in non-faculty positions with a fresh perspective.

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