Individual Development Plan

UW–Madison recommends all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers utilize Individual Development Plans to set academic and career goals and facilitate conversations with their mentor(s). All graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NIH funding are required to have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). Other funding agencies may have additional requirements related to the IDP.

IDPs are written plans that give mentees ownership and structure to assess their skills, interests, and values, define clear and actionable goals, explore career options, and facilitate conversations with their mentor(s). IDP forms vary greatly, although many are structured around core competencies or learning outcomes. The onus for writing, maintaining, and implementing the plan is on the mentee, and conversations with and feedback from the mentor(s) are essential.

The Graduate School will identify individuals who must complete an IDP and will notify them of tools and resources available. The Graduate School will offer graduate students, postdocs, and PIs tools to track IDP progress. The IDP tracking tool will log activity related to the IDP, but the actual contents of the IDP will not be captured by the tracking tool. The contents of the IDP are private to the mentee, who chooses which parts of the IDP to share with his or her selected mentor(s). Find the IDP template for graduate students and postdoc mentees, guidelines and other supporting resources for mentors and mentees, resources for PIs and grants administrators, including the IDP tracking tool.