Log in

2023 GPDN Annual Conference

Building Community: from Practice to Action

The Graduate and Postdoctoral Development Network (GPDN) is excited to invite you to our Annual Conference on Tuesday November 7 and Wednesday November 8, 2023. We are pleased to offer a hybrid format with an in-person conference in Victoria, British Columbia and a virtual conference on Zoom. The GPDN Conference will be held during the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies’ (CAGS) conference

Date: Tuesday, November 7 and Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Time: 8:30am- 3:00pm PCT on Tuesday and 8:30am - 1:30pm PCT on Wednesday

Location: Victoria BC / Virtual (Zoom)

Conference description

This year’s conference aims to explore evolving approaches to supporting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and discover actionable strategies for nurturing thriving communities. Join us to engage with your peers from across Canada, gain practical insights, and forge meaningful connections with like-minded individuals. Some questions we might ask together could include: What does community look like for us as we look ahead? How do we rebuild and sustain communities? What actions can we take in support of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as a connected community?

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Interactive facilitation strategies that build community
  • Developing programming in times of budgetary constraint
  • Building institutional communities (internal, external, stakeholders, etc.)
  • Strategies that support retention and engagement
  • Addressing the experience of role clarity, workload, and professional identity

Conference agenda

Please see our conference agenda in Google Doc or PDF for full details. 

Keynote Session: Building a Supportive Community for Students on the Journey to Their Graduate Degrees

Join Dr. Leela Viswanathan, author of The Deliberate Doctorate: A Values-Focused Journey to Your PhD, for a motivational keynote presentation about building a supportive community for students through graduate school and beyond. Graduate career and professional development advisors as well as academic supervisors play key roles to ensure that graduate students are not alone on their journey to their Master or PhD degree. Dr. Viswanathan will share insights into ways that enable graduate students to identify and optimize their skills, build supportive networks and relationships, and honestly identify and work through the emotional aspects of their journey through graduate school, so that students can thrive in a supportive community, and define success on their own terms.

About the Speaker:

At the time she embarked on her PhD, Dr.  Leela Viswanathan had already spent a decade as a community planner and policy analyst. She earned her doctorate in 2007 and, in 2015, obtained tenure as an associate professor at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON). A lifelong learner, Dr. Viswanathan is an accomplished and innovative educator, mentor, and researcher Currently, the founder and principal of Viswali Consulting, a planning and advisory firm that supports individuals, organizations, and institutions to change systems and practices through policy, research, and planning, Dr. Viswanathan is also an adjunct associate professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s, and Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University.

To find out more, visit: and

Follow Leela on LinkedIn:

Registration: Please visit the event page to register. 

Questions? Contact:


Conférence annuelle 2023 du RPESP

Bâtir une communauté : de la pratique à l’action



Cette année, la conférence vise à explorer des approches en constante évolution pour soutenir les personnes étudiantes aux cycles supérieurs et les personnes chercheuses au postdoctorat et à découvrir des stratégies concrètes pour entretenir des communautés prospères. Joignez-vous à nous pour dialoguer avec vos pairs de partout au Canada, obtenir des informations pratiques et forger des liens significatifs avec des personnes partageant les mêmes idées. Voici des questions que nous pourrions soulever : À quoi ressemble la communauté pour nous alors que nous regardons vers l’avenir? Comment pouvons-nous rebâtir et soutenir les communautés? Quelles actions pouvons-nous entreprendre pour soutenir les personnes étudiantes aux cycles supérieurs et les personnes chercheuses au postdoctorat en tant que communauté connectée?


Les sujets peuvent couvrir sans s’y limiter :

  • Stratégies de facilitation interactives qui renforcent la communauté
  • Développer des initiatives en période de contrainte budgétaire
  • Bâtir des communautés institutionnelles (internes, externes, avec des parties prenantes, etc.)
  • Stratégies favorisant la rétention et la participation
  • Aborder l’expérience de la clarté des rôles, de la charge de travail et de l’identité professionnelle


Des questions? Contactez :


Join Us


Graduate and Postdoctoral Development Network | Le Réseau pour le Perfectionnement aux Études Supérieures et Postdoctorales

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software