February 2014 Skill of the Month: Project Management

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Welcome back to campus.  We hope you've had a chance to plan for a successful spring semester.  

PSPP's skill of the month is Project Management.  Successfully managing a project requires a variety of skills ranging from technical knowledge, planning and organization to working with fellow project members and successfully completing the project on time.  Check out Monster.com's "Why Project Managment Skills Can Make You an IT Hero" to learn more about this skill's importance to employers-- the article focuses on the value of project management in Information Technology fields, but can be generalized for any setting.

There are campus resources that are available to you here at the University of Minnesota to help you develop valuable skills that you can apply to coursework and future employment.  The Office of Information Technology offers a useful project management toolkit with a variety of resources to help you proceed with your project.  The University also provides access to lynda.com, including project management video tutorials.

Don't forget to document your skills on your online portfolio so you can showcase them to prospective employers.  Here's an overview of some different options for tools you can use to set up an online portfolio:

Here are some basic elements to add to your online portfolio before sharing it with

potential employers and other professional contacts:

  • Your name and contact information

  • Photo of yourself in your professional persona

  • Links to and from your resume

  • Samples of work you've produced (paper, poster, video, presentation slides, etc.)

  • Description of significant professional development/experiences (intensive training courses, volunteer leadership positions, etc.)

  • Context (summary, headline, group exhibits into relevant categories, describe what skills you gained and how they're applicable to your career goals, etc.)

The  UMN Job Fair is coming up on February 21 and is a great opportunity to use your online portfolio.

You can look for more opportunities on all the professional skills at the PSPP Moodle Page

"Globe" by jbachman01 CC by-nd

Interpersonal Skills and Cultural Awareness are this month's focus for the Professional Skills Portfolio Program. Demonstrating your ability to interact and communicate with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures is a necessary skill in the global marketplace. You will want to show future employers that you can work effectively and respectfully with your coworkers and customers.

There are multiple events taking place in November that can introduce you to alternative viewpoints or new ideas.

International Education Week is being celebrated the week of November 11th. There are a number of campus events, including the Library Information Fair on Thursday, November 14 from 10:45 - 11:45 am in Walter 101.

Let's Talk About It: Muslim Journeys November 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm Minneapolis Central Library
"Critical Conversations": Under the Lens: Questioning the Culture of Science November 15 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm Andersen Library 120.

For a "bonus" skill, the Gemini Project will be offering a workshop, "Act Like A Leader Before You Are One: Leadership is Action, Not Position" Tuesday, November 19, 2013 4:00 - 5:30 pm in Walter Library, Room 101 (learn more: http://gemini.tli.umn.edu/workshops.html)

As always you can look for more opportunities on all the professional skills at the PSPP Moodle Page.

October 2013 Skill of the Month: Information Seeking

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(Image, "Information" from Paul Keller CC-BY 2.0)

Have you planned out your semester and added due dates for papers and projects to your calendar?  Finding good, authoritative, academic sources of information can be challenging at times.  Here are some resources in Information Seeking, the PSPP skill for October.

Just getting started on doing library research?  The Intro to Library Research tutorial will teach you about the University Libraries and the basics of academic library research.  

If you are interested in finding authoritative sources of engineering information (articles, patents, standards, and more!)  for your work this semester, you should sign up for the Engineering: Find Better Information Faster workshop on October 9.

Don't forget that you can always talk to your subject librarian for specialized help. Find the subject specialist for your subject area by looking at the Science and Engineering link on the Subject Librarians page.

Learn more about PSPP!

March 2013 Skill of the Month: Technical Writing

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This month's Professional Skills Portfolio Program focus is on technical writing.  Being able to clearly communicate ideas to readers is a necessary skill that takes practice and feedback.  Here are some suggestions of campus resources that will help you to improve your writing:  

  • Student Writing Support provides free writing instruction for all University of Minnesota students--graduate and undergraduate--at all stages of the writing process.Their quick help web pages provide links to videos, printable handouts, and web pages that offer support at any time for a variety of writers.  They also offer both in-person and online writing consultations to help you get started or learn techniques for revising your writing.

  • The University of Minnesota Writing Studies department offers a number of classes focused on written and oral communication in science and technology, which can lead to a bachelors degree in scientific and technical communication.  

Don't forget to add examples of your written work to your online portfolio throughout the semester, so you have it available to share with potential future employers.  

As always, don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. 

"Keyboard" by john_a_ward CC.

February 2013 Skill of the Month: Project Management

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Welcome back to campus!  

We hope you had an enjoyable break and are ready for the new semester.  

February's Professional Skills Portfolio Program focus is on Project Management. Everyone can benefit from the ability to plan, manage, organize and control resources towards a specific goal.  Whether you are working with a group for a class project or contributing to a project in a work setting, the same set of skills are valuable for seeing a project through to a successful conclusion.  


We are offering two workshops during February that address aspects of project management.  Learn the basics of project management by Developing a Project Charter.  Improve your teamwork skills at our Team Skills workshop.

Sometimes the hardest aspect of a project is getting started (See "The Art of Starting a Project" from Harvard Business Review's blog)....Don't forget to get started showcasing your work in project management and related areas on your online portfolio.  Check out our online tutorial to learn more about populating your online portfolio.

Register for PSPP today!

Already Registered? Go directly to our Program Page.

Best wishes for a successful semester and contact us with any questions about PSPP.

Image "Project Plan" from MyProjectTracker via Flickr.


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Welcome to the Professional Skills Portfolio Program! These pages are intended to act as a supplement to the program's main website in Moodle.

You can access the full site at http://z.umn.edu/profskills.

If you have any questions or would like more information, leave a comment or you can see all of our contact information on the Moodle site.

Image from angusf. CC