What is the IDF?
Developed by a diverse working group at McGill, the IDF (Individual Development Framework) is a framework of goal categories that will provide students with guidance on areas to focus on when creating their IDP (Individual Development Plan). Comprising 21 categories, the IDF is grouped into 7 themes: Lead Projects, Work with Others, Communicate Ideas, Solve Problems, Expand Your Expertise, Be Well, and Plan Your Career. Below is a link to the full working group report along with the executive summary that outlines the process used to develop the IDF.
This framework has been adopted by SKILLSETS to help guide university-wide professional development programming for graduate students, and is now being used by a number of departments as a guide for population specific offerings. The IDF categories are used in myInvolvement, to help students find and track relevant professional development and training opportunities. It also serves as the foundation for all the tools and programming under development for myPath (a toolkit to help students create an IDP).
Increased national and international focus on enhancing the graduate and postdoctoral experience at academic institutions, as well as providing support in their transition to a wide variety of careers, has led to a widespread interest in better articulating and serving the individual development needs of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
McGill University has significantly expanded the number and diversity of services and programs that provide individual (academic, professional, and personal) development opportunities for graduate students and postdocs. More recently, McGill has introduced myPath: a network of tools and programs to help students and postdocs create an annual Individual Development Plan (IDP) that reflects their academic, professional and personal goals.
The McGill Framework Working Group, comprised of experts in student services and development from a variety of McGill units, was established in order to create an individual development framework that will unify these tools and offerings across the university to provide guidance and recommendations to graduate students and postdocs, while also helping administrators to design, advertise, deliver, and evaluate programming.
The Framework Working Group analyzed well-researched frameworks and reports on individual development practices from Canadian and international research, education, government, and corporate organizations. With the goal of adapting this established content into a McGill-specific framework, attributes identified in these documents were compiled, re-defined, and assembled into a cohesive framework of seven themes divided into twenty-one categories of individual development. This became the McGill Individual Development Framework.
The themes included in the framework cover a wide range of topics applicable to academic, professional, and personal contexts. They are: Lead Projects, Work with Others, Communicate Ideas, Solve Problems, Expand Your Expertise, Be Well, and Plan Your Career. Within these seven themes, there are twenty-one categories that focus on diverse aspects of individual development, including skills development, self-care practices, and career planning.
This comprehensive, yet succinct, framework is intended to be a flexible model that students and postdocs can use to create a customized Individual Development Plan that reflects the areas they wish to cultivate, and that administrators can use to identify gaps in their offerings as they align their programming with the framework. The McGill Individual Development Framework does not cover measurable outcomes; instead, it provides a starting template that departments and units at McGill can build on to create relevant program-specific learning outcomes.
To provide support for implementation across McGill, the Framework Working Group created a set of twenty-one handouts (one per framework category) that provide more robust descriptions, useful individual development strategies, and resources at and outside of McGill. The Framework Working Group will share this report broadly with all relevant units, and interested administrators are encouraged to join our Community of Practice.
The McGill Individual Development Framework can help students to unify their experiences at McGill, including their research project, coursework, and co-curricular activities. By promoting a unified individual development framework for its students, McGill can complement world-class academic experiences with expertly designed co-curricular activities in order to provide graduates with a competitive edge in a continuously evolving job market.