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Versatile PhD helps students, faculty, alumni find non-academic careers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2016) — The University of Kentucky Graduate School has adopted an online service, Versatile PhD, that will benefit students, faculty and alumni seeking careers in the humanities and social sciences.

vphd_logo“A growing number of graduate students are drawn to careers outside of traditional academic paths. In a survey of UK graduate students conducted earlier this year, 82 percent of the respondents indicated they are planning or considering alternate-academic or non-academic careers,” Morris A. Grubbs, assistant dean in the Graduate School and director of graduate student professional development, said. “Versatile PhD is the most robust online resource available to them, and one that offers direct opportunities for networking with peers and employers.”

Versatile PhD is an online resource to help graduate and doctoral students in all fields identify, prepare for and succeed in non-academic careers through the PhD Career Finder. Graduate students will be able to access resources from the experiences of real doctoral students who have gone in new professional directions including:

· Résumés: Authentic résumés and cover letters that got doctoral students their first jobs away from the faculty track, with detailed analysis that describes how they made the non-academic pivot and showing the application and hiring process step-by-step

· Bios: Inspiring first‐person stories by experienced non-academic doctoral students describing how their careers evolved over several years after moving out of the academy, including promotions, advancement and signature accomplishments

· Panels: Detailed inside information on a wide range of specific PhD‐friendly careers provided by doctoral students in those careers, along with their answers to a wide range of member questions.

Heather Sawyer, an anthropology student in the Graduate School, said she is still learning about Versatile PhD, but is excited for what it has to offer.

“The challenge I am now facing as I near the end of my degree program is how to translate and apply these skills to a career outside the tenure track. I feel Versatile PhD is a great tool for job seekers with doctoral degrees who wish to better navigate the non-academic job market and transform their academic skills for broader applications,” Sawyer said. “This is a fantastic resource!”

UK currently has an institutional subscription for the humanities and social sciences areas of Versatile PhD, but based on usage statistics and feedback from users this year, the Graduate School will consider purchasing a subscription for the STEM areas as well.

The mission of the Graduate School is to promote excellence at all levels of graduate education at the University of Kentucky. By encouraging and supporting the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge in an environment of diversity and interdisciplinary cooperation, the UK Graduate School aides graduate programs in preparing students as future leaders of the global society in research, teaching, applied science, creative production, policymaking and public service.