Enhance Communications Skills with these Georgia Tech Resources

Public speaking, basic web design how-tos, and interviewing strategies — whether you’re earning a graduate degree in engineering or in modern languages, these are all skills that will come in handy in your career.

That’s why Georgia Tech offers a variety of communications resources to assist graduate students, including a Graduate Communication Certificate, a Communication Center, and courses and workshops offered by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

Daichi Fujioka, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Mechanical Engineering, pursued the Graduate Communication Certificate because he’s interested in a career in engineering education. Fujioka knew that good communication skills would come in handy in the job and in life.

“What I learned through this program has helped me to be a more effective teaching assistant,” he said. “And other skills I learned in seminars provided me with guidance on conducting academic job searches and interviewing skills.”

Read on to find out if one of these options might be helpful for you.

Graduate Communication Certificate Program

This program launched in January 2012 and aims to assist students in enhancing their skills as they prepare for careers in industry, government, and academia. The program is comprised of two components — a series of core and elective workshops to help build communication proficiency, and a capstone experience.

“Employers consistently rate soft skills, particularly effective communication, as essential or must-have skills for the workplace,” said Lori Critz, program coordinator. “There are continuing efforts to address and develop these skill sets throughout the graduate programs, but some graduate students seek additional, nondepartmental opportunities for professional development. This certificate was developed to provide a customizable program of short workshops on a wide array of communication skills.”

Core (or required) workshops — which are offered during fall and spring semesters — cover topics including public speaking, CVs and resumes, and communication ethics. The elective workshops — which are offered on a rotating basis, but not every semester — include sessions on everything from interviewing to media management and promotion. The capstone experience then provides an opportunity to effectively apply these competencies, and receive feedback from Georgia Tech communication specialists.

Students may complete the program at their own pace and will receive a signed and dated certificate upon completion.

For more information, contact Critz.

Communication Center

The center offers students a place to discuss and develop communication projects — regardless of the discipline. Tutoring is available in areas including thesis and dissertation writing, conference presentations, interviewing skills, and grant proposals.

“The Communication Center is an ideal place for graduate students to work on any kind of communication project — and not just those associated with academic programs,” said Karen Head, assistant professor and director of the center. “Our services are free and confidential, and designed to help students at any stage of the communication design process.”

The center also offers workshops that are part of the Communication Certificate Program, as well as tutoring for nonnative English speakers.

“We also facilitate a Dissertation Boot Camp Program three times a year,” Head said. “This program is a week-long, intensive writing workshop. Doctoral students interested in applying for the program are encouraged to stop by the center for information.”

The next boot camp is scheduled from April 27 to May 1.

And if you need presentation rehearsal space, the center has seven rooms available for you to practice oral and visual presentations — or conduct a video conference or podcast recording.

Although appointments are encouraged for the rooms, walk-ins at Room 447, Clough Commons are also welcome. Contact the center at commlab@gatech.edu.

Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning Courses, Workshops

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CETL) offers courses for students who are and aren’t fluent in English.

“In each of my graduate-level communication courses, I engage students in an effort to understand the value and develop the ability to think rhetorically and communicate strategically,” said David Lawrence, CETL’s communication skills specialist. “The most valuable takeaway for students in both my courses and workshops is that there is a process, grounded in classical rhetorical theory, that will guide them through each rhetorical situation they encounter.”

In cooperation with Georgia Tech's Language Institute, CETL offers courses in academic writing and presentation skills for both native and nonnative writers and speakers. CETL also offers a variety of communication workshops on topics ranging from creating an online professional presence to crafting a CV and cover letter.

But if a one-on-one consultation would be more helpful, Lawrence is available to provide feedback on specific academic writing or speaking projects, including research proposals, theses, and dissertations. He is also available to meet with students entering the academic job market to advise them about writing teaching statements, research statements, CVs, and cover letters. 

For More Information Contact

Amelia Pavlik
Communications Specialist
Graduate Education and Faculty Development