Our Educational Approach

As a part of the university's mission to educate the next generation of health care and bioscience leaders, the OCPD's goal is to collaborate with the professional schools, academic departments and the graduate division to teach UCSF students and postdoctoral scholars the information and skills required to successfully manage their careers.

What career and professional development topics does OCPD address?
The OCPD's scope encompasses the career competencies involved in 1) meaningful self reflection, 2) effective career exploration and decision making, 3) strategic positioning and the competitive pursuit of internship, employment, postdoc, residency and fellowship opportunities, and 4) the development of professional skills essential for success.

To this end, the OCPD designs and implements educational interventions in the form of programs, counseling, tools and online resources, and experiential opportunities that provide professional growth opportunities for UCSF trainees that they can access in pursuit of an overall career development plan that they implement during their time at UCSF in tandem with their academic and personal goals. 

What is OCPD's educational approach? 
The OCPD staff has intentionally adopted educational best practices in designing programs.  As a number of the Office's programs focus on competency/skill development, the goals of OCPD workshops and experiential opportunities is 1) to allow students and postdocs to challenge their misconceptions, 2) improve their skills, 3) test their newly acquired knowledge and assess their progress, and 4) determine next steps for development.

Specific redesign efforts have included defined learning outcomes and articulating learning objectives for all OCPD programs,  the targeted development of higher order cognitive skills (e.g., learning the components of designing and presenting and effective research presentation, and applying that knowledge to assess a peer's presentation using peer-review rubrics), inserting opportunities for active learning with both formative and summative assessments, and developing structured participant interactions and group work. Staff particularly focus peer interaction opportunities, both as a strategy to foster equity in the classroom, and as a chance for students and postdoctoral scholars to build a supportive learning community/community of practice with peers developing at similar career development stages or around a common topic of interest.

What is an example of an interactive skill development workshop?
Successful Networking: Conducting an Effective Informational Interview

  1. Define a particular professional competency (i.e., the ability to conduct an informational interview with professionals in one's field) and it's specific value to biomedical trainees (i.e., key skill in career exploration, and to establish mentorship relations, etc.)
  2. Have participants assess their initial skill level (i.e., describe the appropriate etiquette to request an informational interview, identify the steps to conduct an interview, discuss possible follow up strategies to maintain the relationship over time)
  3. Interactive activities to develop the competency (i.e., participants use written exercises to identify their goals, identify someone with whom they wish to speak, choose relevant questions, write a draft of correspondence requesting an interview, and pair up to share their opening statement, questions and closing statement for feedback)
  4. Assess to determine progress in skill development, (e.g. participants share, review and critique their written responses in pairs) and
  5. Brainstorm next steps, including identifying upcoming programs, 1:1 counseling appointments or opportunities to help participants further develop.  (i.e., review career guides cataloguing additional opportunities, workshops, etc. to further develop, and participants identify one next step). 


To learn more about OCPD's educational approach, please contact [email protected]

Upcoming Events


Info Session: Career Exploration Classes, 2021-2022

Date: July 7, 2021
Time: 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.