Gift Guide for Academics and Researchers 2020

Gift Guide for academics and researchers 2019 on The Social Academic

What do grad students, faculty, and researchers want this holiday season?

The semester’s still going, but holidays are just around the corner. What should you get for the grad student or academic in your life?

Last year, my gift guide was focused on grad students, and it came a bit later in the season. This year, I wanted to get to it early.

That means in December, I’ll be sharing not one, but two academic interviews with people included on this list.

I curated this list of awesome professional development and academic gifts just for you.

And just like last year, this is not a sponsored list. These are not affiliate links. My blog and social media are ad and sponsor free.

So check out these awesome books, online courses and services created for people like you.

Welcome to The Social Academic Gift Guide 2020.

2019 Gift Guide

Professional development and training to give the grad student, faculty, or researcher in your life

The 2019 gift guide for academics is here; image: gift box

Captivate with Stellar Slides with Echo Rivera

$297 for the course

Echo is an amazing communicator. She knows how to help you engage your audience with highly effective presentations.

I’m recommending this course to you today because I took it myself just last month.

Check out Captivate with Stellar Slides, an online training program that teaches “how to communicate academic, scientific, and research data effectively, when you happen to be using slides.”

Learn more about Dr. Rivera on her website.

Manage your academic writing projects with Cathy Mazak

$127 for the project management course, $2,497 for the Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap

Do you have a system to organize your academic writing projects?

Learn how to use Trello effectively for project management. And, get the templates to help.

This online Academic Writing Project Management Workshop is here to help.

Cathy Mazak works with women academics to “help them find time to write and publish.”

You can get the Project Management Workshop for free when you join the Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap, along with a bunch of other bonuses like

  • Inbox to Zero for Academics
  • Create Your Academic Brand
  • and, Five-Year Plan

Learn more about Dr. Mazak on her website.

The Professor Is In

$10 for the book, $50+ for gift certificates for services

If you’re in grad school or on the academic job market, I highly recommend The Professor Is In.

I first encountered Karen Kelsky’s book and blog, The Professor Is In when I started grad school. I’m a huge fan of her Facebook live’s and webinars.

And, Karen has 1:1 services to help with your academic life whether you need career counseling or help with your professional job documents.

Gift certificates can be purchased through the Prof Shop for $50+ (scroll to the bottom of the available items).

Learn social media skills with me

$297 for the course

Social media has amazing benefits for your academic life. It helps communicate who you are, and helps new people encounter your work.

Are you ready to communicate your academic or research life effectively? These are the skills you need to enjoy social media and use it across platforms like

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

From content strategy to scheduling your posts, you’ll have all the tools you need to manage your social media life.

Learn more about Cross-Platform Social Media for Academics.

Norman Eng’s Teaching College

$10 for the book, $997 for the course

If you’re looking for a great guide to teaching college, I recommend Norman Eng’s bestselling book.

Whether you’re just starting out, or hoping to engage your students this is the book for you. It’s all about communication by design, and teaches skills like how to write a syllabus “that gets noticed and read,” and how to “stimulate deep engagement” when developing your lessons.

Norman also has an online Teaching College Masterclass ($997) that opens a few times per year.

I’ll be interviewing Dr. Eng next month here on The Social Academic as one of my December features.

Build your personal PhD brand with Melanie Bruce

$69 for the course

Are you a PhD student, early career academic or interested in AltAc careers?

Learn how to “develop a name for yourself that can lead to guest speaking, consulting, book sales, full time employment, online course creation, coaching, and/or freelancing” in this online training. Check out The Leveraged PhD: Establish Your Personal Brand.

Melanie also hosts great social media challenges.

I’ll be interviewing Dr. Bruce next month here on The Social Academic as one of my December features.

Learn more about The Leveraged PhD on the website.

Beyond the Professoriate Community


Whether you’re on the academic job market or transitioning into a professional role, this free LinkedIn community from is for you.

Get support and build confidence, and learn how to improve your professional documents with Dr. L. Maren Wood.

Where will you take your PhD?

Join the Beyond the Professoriate Community today.

And check out their career events, courses, and coaching.

Create a personal academic website

$599 for the course

What do you want for the holidays this year? A personal academic website, and all the benefits that come with it. You get the full course, 6 weeks of email support, and access to my live monthly office hours.

  • An easy-to-navigate and engaging website helps present your professional accomplishments.
  • Your colleagues and others in your field will be able to find you, and your work.
  • Students learn about you in a fun and engaging way. And, if you have a good teaching section, it’s a great way to attract students who actually understand what your classes will be like.
  • People who want to get in touch (potential collaborators, the media) will be able to. They can learn about you and know how to reach out for speaking engagements, media requests, and collaborations.
  • Potential funders and publishers will have a better understanding of who they’re working with. Your ability to publicize yourself helps them justify their time and funds.
  • You will have a better understanding of the impact of your own work.
  • Website visitors will be able to develop longer-term connections with you and your work.
  • People can connect with you on the social media accounts you share on your website with ease.

Join my online, self-paced course and learn how to build the academic website your colleagues will love.

Time with friends and family at the holidays


Spending time relaxing with friends and family can be the best part about the holidays.

But it can also be stressful.

Check out “Communicate your Academic Life This Holiday Season” for my top tips.

And, don’t miss the newly updated Gift Guide for Graduate Students 2019.

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and public relations consultant. She founded The Academic Designer, LLC to help academics, researchers, and writers control their online presence and share their work with the world.

She holds a B.A. from Monmouth University in English, and an M.F.A. from Naropa University in Writing & Poetics where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. Jennifer also holds an M.A. from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Literature and Cultural Studies where she was one of four master’s fellows and a finalist for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award.

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