Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

IDPs are tools for students to identify academic and career goals, assess the feasibility of obtaining these goals with respect to the individuals' skill sets, and develop a plan to acquire these skills and competencies to obtain short- and long-term academic and career goals.

IDPs were first used by the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) for postdoctoral career planning. NIH is also encouraging grantees to develop an institutional policy requiring IDPs for all graduate students and post docs. Therefore, we want to provide ASCEND Scholars with a career planning process that will allow them to identify both academic and professional needs and career goals. In addition, it is the basis for further communication between the student and mentor.

Once admitted into the ASCEND program, Scholars will initiate a self-assessment of short-term and long-term goals including current skills they possesses and skills they would like to develop. The IDP will be developed in collaboration with the Program Director, Co-Director, and mentor, and will include research goals, suggested coursework, skills development (e.g., improving writing, oral, leadership and analytical skills), team work, and community outreach activities.

The IDP will be organized and maintained as an e-portfolio to document their participation in ASCEND program activities as well as document their progression through the program. Instructional materials, including webcasts of video-recorded presentations, will be made available to students via a Blackboard site that will be created for the program.