Pilot Program

Program Goals and Vision

Own Your Future is a new, comprehensive transitional competency and career engagement program for doctoral students at Western that will:

  1. make explicit key learning outcomes that extend beyond the discipline curriculum
  2. facilitate doctoral student self-directed professional development learning
  3. support doctoral student engagement in maximizing the value and applicability of their doctoral degree for career preparation and development

The Own Your Future program provides an infrastructure that equips and encourages students to explore career options, and implement a planned course of action that opens doors to futures within and beyond academia. The program builds upon programs and resources that currently exist. It reflects initial consultations with key stakeholders (2015-2017), as well as a review of the best professional development programs globally. The program is flexible and can be adapted to suit the needs of Western’s diverse disciplines and programs.

Own Your Future will ensure that doctoral graduates at Western have improved access and opportunity to prepare for a variety of post-doctoral careers, including the broad range of careers beyond academia. The program complements the academic preparation that students receive in their degree programs, and is designed to build career preparation from entry, through engagement, to exit. ALL doctoral students will benefit from this program, regardless of their ultimate career choice.

The establishment of Own Your Future entails both a structural and cultural shift in how we envision and construct the doctoral academic program. Approximately 60 per cent of doctoral graduates obtain employment in industry, government and not-for-profit organizations; 40 per cent work in the post-secondary sector, half of whom are full-time professors (Conference Board of Canada, 2015). This is a timely and needed initiative.

Launch of Pilot Program

A pilot of Own Your Future was launched in September 2017 with a small group of doctoral students to optimize program design and delivery. All doctoral students are invited to participate when spots are available. The program will launch in September 2018 for all new doctoral students. 

The Own Your Future Self-Assessment will be made available to all Western doctoral students in Winter 2018. Completion of the Self-Assessment will grant doctoral students (including senior students) access to a priority module waitlist.