At the University of Otago there are multiple opportunities for postgraduate students, particularly research students, to present their findings in a public forum.
These range from fun events such as the annual Three Minute Thesis competition, to symposiums specifically designed to celebrate postgraduate research.
The Dunedin School of Medicine held its first such symposium earlier this year, with ten postgraduate researchers outlining their findings to a distinguished gallery of guests alongside guest speakers from the School.
The day showed the breadth of research being conducted by doctoral students, with topics ranging from the Hunger Training Method, skeletal mechanosensing, and tobacco regulation, to epigenetics and sleep-disordered breathing in children.
Many other Otago departments offer similar opportunities for research students to build their presentation skills, in preparation for conferences and other academic opportunities.
For example, eight current Māori postgraduate students took part in the biennial Māori Research Symposium held in the first half of this year, Hui Poutama 2015; and the Department of Applied Sciences has, for several years now, held an annual event showcasing the innovative research their students are undertaking.
Otago Vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne has made it clear in recent years that the university “is highly committed to the value of a well-rounded education for our students”, and for postgraduate students that means gaining valuable skills for use in future workplaces, whether they be in academia or commercial enterprises.
Speaking and presentation skills are just one way Otago is working with students to achieve that goal.