Professionalism in Action

Professionalism in Action


This course is intended to familiarize students with the professional skills needed to communicate effectively in academia and to maximize their achievement in their academic careers. Students will be introduced to useful communication strategies and tactics helpful for networking or establishing a rapport with potential research collaborators. In addition, they will learn techniques needed to play different roles (e.g., a presenter, a session chair, a mediator) at conferences and seminars to deliver a well-structured presentation and a successful Q&A session. Finally, through in-class writing tasks, students will further strengthen their hands-on experience and apply their acquired knowledge to the analysis of two common types of genres: academic profiles and response letters.

Course Objectives

Core Competencies (CC)

Based on the course objectives, the NTU educational goal is adhered to through contributing to students’

CC 1:  independent judgment and ability to innovate

CC 2:  professional knowledge and skills

CC 3:  communicative and team skills


Course Intended Learning Outcome (CILO)

By the end of the course, students should be able to

CILO 1:  develop effective networking skills and knowledge (CC 1, 2 & 3)

CILO 2:  learn how to craft a professional narrative and elevator pitch (CC 1, 2 & 3)

CILO 3:  develop communication, presentation and interpersonal skills needed for different professional identities to effectively communicate at conferences and seminars (CC 1, 2 & 3)

CILO 4:  recognize and critically analyze the features of authentic texts for professional purposes (CC 1, 2 & 3)

CILO 5:  apply writing skills and knowledge to constructing two types of writing genres (CC 1, 2 & 3)


Teaching & Learning Activities (TLAs)  

  1. Students will explore the essential elements of effective networking through guided practice, role-plays and case studies. (CILO 1, 2, 3)
  2. Students will practice networking and personal branding skills through a simulation networking event and an elevator pitch contest. (CILO 1, 2, 3)
  3. Students will prepare their elevator pitch, making use of the techniques that they have learned from the course. (CILO 1, 2, 3)
  4. Students will practice different roles at in-class mock conferences and seminars, and engage in post-presentation Q&A interaction exercise. (CILO 2, 3)
  5. Students will analyze structural features of authentic texts, relevant to their professional career goals. (CILO 3, 4, 5)

Students will compose a draft of an academic profile or a response letter, making use of the techniques that they have learned from the course. (CILO 3, 4, 5)



Week 1: Course Introduction

Week 2: Essential Soft Skills Towards Professionalism

Week 3: Networking Skills in the Academia

Week 4: The Elements of a Successful Elevator Pitch

Week 5: Crafting Your Own Elevator Pitch

Week 6: Elevator Pitch Contest & Peer Review

Week 7: Presenting to Connect

Week 8: Handling Q&A

Week 9: Guidelines for Presenter, Session Chair and Mediator: duties & tips

Week 10: Mock Conference/Seminar (Role play: presenter, session chair, mediator)

Week 11: Mock Conference/Seminar (Role play: presenter, session chair, mediator)

Week 12: Mock Conference/Seminar (Role play: presenter, session chair, mediator)

Week 13: Describing Where You Stand: Academic Profiles

Week 14: Writing Your Professional Bio

Week 15: Responding to Journal Reviewers and Editors

Week 16: Conveying Your Ideas in Different Scenarios

Week 17: In-Class Writing Showcases

Week 18: Writing Consultations

Textbook and Reference Materials

  • Annesley, T. M. (2011). Top 10 tips for responding to reviewer and editor comments. Clinical Chemistry57(4), 551-554.
  • Sullivan, G. M., Simpson, D., Yarris, L. M., & Artino Jr, A. R. (2019). Writing Author Response Letters That Get Editors to “Yes”. Journal of graduate medical education11(2), 119-123.
  • Taylor, B. W. (2016). Writing an effective response to a manuscript review. Freshwater Science35(4), 1082-1087.


  • Elevator Pitch Video 20%
  • Mock Conference Tasks 25%
  • In-Class Writing Tasks 25%
  • Peer Advice 15%
  • Participation & Attendance 15%