Individual Development Plan

Planning process that identifies both professional development needs and career objectives.

Plan ahead for your professional career path

Trainees benefit by using Individual Development Plans in goal setting. CWRU has adopted the use of an Individual Development Plan (IDP) as a way to ensure these conversations take place at least annually. The IDP is prepared by the trainee, highlighting research goals, presentations and skills training, and career goals. This IDP is then reviewed together with the trainee’s mentor annually. 

School of Medicine IDP Policy 

The School of Medicine recognizes the benefits that graduate students and postdoctoral scholars experience by using Individual Development Plans (IDPs) in setting career goals and in ensuring that conversations between the trainee and mentor about these goals occur on a regular basis. The significance of IDPs in training of the biomedical workforce has been emphasized at the national level by the National Institutes of Health. Thus, the SOM has adopted the following policy to ensure that all NIH-supported trainees utilize IDPs to aid in setting professional development goals and planning their future careers.

All PhD students in the school will complete an IDP within six months of arrival in their permanent mentor’s lab and annually every year after that. Postdoctoral fellows and scholars are strongly encouraged (by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs) to complete an IDP within three months of their initial appointment. Completing an IDP is an interactive process that involves face-to-face meetings and frank discussions between the junior researcher and mentor. The IDP will evolve through annual meetings between mentee and mentor during the trainee’s tenure at the SOM. Copies of all graduate student and postdoctoral IDPs as well as all annual updates will be submitted electronically to the CWRU SOM Graduate Education Office through the SOM IDP Portal.  

Recommended Format

The recommended IDP format is available at the on-line submission. The final submission process requires that both the trainee and mentor have viewed the document and have met to discuss its contents. Departments and programs may develop their own IDP formats however, all IDPs must be submitted through the SOM IDP Portal and they must include a career planning component as well as assurance that the trainee and mentor discussed the content of the IDP.

The SOM strongly encourages trainees to develop content for their CWRU SOM IDPs by exploring the myIDP web tool package. Other resources and example IDP templates are available through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Training and Implementation

A workshop developed by the School of Medicine Graduate Education Office is held in September and January of each year to familiarize students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty with the policy and the IDP process. If additional assistance is needed, please reach out to us at the GEO.