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Peer Learning and Power Skills

Submitted by Taryn Cavanaugh Faulk, Senior Program Coordinator, Community of Scholars.

Duke’s Community of Scholars (CoS)  is a support system that connects trainees, shares educational resources, and increases program efficiencies toward the goal of enhancing career development for diverse scholars across Duke. CoS is for individuals at Duke who hold a career development award, whether internal—such as the KL2 or REACH Equity—or external, such as the NIH K or VA CDA.

At the institutional level, CoS promotes synergy, harmonization, and efficiency at Duke by strengthening connections among career development programs and making scholars aware of the breadth of available resources. CoS leverages its intra-program position to scan the landscape of offerings at Duke, share best practices across programs, and highlight resources for program leaders, mentors, and scholars. This coordination increases program efficiency and bolsters Duke’s capacity to enhance diversity among scholars, mentors, and programs.

For participants, CoS is a supportive peer learning community designed to fortify scholars’ ability to be successful researchers, mentors and leaders after receiving their award. Scholars work together and learn from one another while building a robust and diverse network that continues to serve them beyond their cohorts.

There are currently two CoS cohorts. The first recently concluded their final workshop entitled “What you don’t know about feedback and how it can get you the grant.” CoS will soon host a celebratory event to mark the conclusion of the cohort’s activities. Cohort 2 just hosted their second workshop on “The Investigator Score and the Art of Self Promotion,” where participants learned to deliver a quick pitch and were given the opportunity to practice this valuable skill with one another. 

“Often in research we focus predominantly on the core, discrete aspects of becoming an independent investigator—things like grant writing, concept development, and timelines,” says Clarissa Diamantidis, CoS Co-Director. “But these represent only a small fraction of the skills required to become a successful researcher. We often overlook the ‘power skills’ of research that are fundamental to success—things like self-promotion, team science, impact—that can distinguish career success from failure. The Community of Scholars was created to enhance these power skills and connect with others.”

To learn more about Duke’s Community of Scholars, visit https://sites.duke.edu/centerforpathwayprograms/community-of-scholars-cos.

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