What are the best gifts for academics in 2021? Here are my top picks for professors, researchers, and grad students like you. I hope these gift ideas inspire you.
As with last year’s guides for professors and grad students, these are not affiliate links. Get my top recommendations for professional development and wellbeing for academics free from sponsors or paid partnerships.
Categories for gifts in this guide include
- Presentations, Public Speaking, and Posters
- Academic and Scientific Writing
- Connecting with the Public and Media
- Academic Careers and Leaving Academia
- Retreats and Conferences
- Other Gift Ideas
-Jennifer van Alstyne
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Here are 26 gift ideas to inspire you
- Fail Proof Slide Design masterclass from Echo Rivera, PhD
- How to Design an Award-Winning Scientific Poster course from Tullio Rossi, PhD
- Teach the Geek to Speak Society with Neil Thompson
- Kickstart Your Journal Article course with Lisa Munro, PhD
- The Researchers’ Writing Academy course on scientific writing with Anna Clemens, PhD
- Teaching College Ultimate Bundle Access from Norman Eng, EdD
- Lecture Breakers Conference (virtual) with Barbi Honeycutt, PhD
- Power Your Research course from Sheena Howard, PhD
- LinkedIn Profile Challenge for Professors and Researchers from Jennifer van Alstyne
- The Connected Exec Course for Higher Education leaders from Josie Ahlquist, PhD
- Art of The Academic Cover Letter course from Karen Kelsky, PhD
- The PhD Career Clarity Program from Jennifer L. Polk, PhD
- 1:1 or Group Coaching to help you build a business with Cheryl Lau
- New Year New Moon Goal Setting Retreat with Katy Peplin, PhD
- Free: The Grad School Success Summit 2021 replays
- Sabbatical: A Low-Stress Coloring Book for Academics by Monica F. Cox, PhD
- 52 Ways to Stay Well Set: Book and Planner from Hugh Kearns, PhD
- Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship and How to See Past Them by Gary Lewandowski Jr., PhD
- The Power of Procrastination by Jorge Cham, PhD of PhD Comics
- Bad Habits by Amy Gentry, PhD
- The PhD Balance Community
- The Personal Finance for PhDs Community from Emily Roberts, PhD
- Professional memberships to associations, groups, or organizations
- Money towards professional development
- A spa day
- A weekend away
Presentations, Public Speaking, and Posters
Fail Proof Slide Design masterclass
Echo Rivera, PhD brings you a 2 hour masterclass that helps you take your presentation slides from mediocre to memorable. I’ve benefited from Echo’s training myself. I highly recommend it.
How to Design an Award-Winning Scientific Poster course
I got to chat with Tullio Rossi, PhD of Animate Your Science last month about his scientific poster course. I knew I just had to share it with you. Have an engaging poster for your next conference.
Teach the Geek to Speak Society
Neil Thompson knows public speaking is hard. If you’re in STEM, you need to know how to communicate effectively about your research. Get the Teach the Geek to Speak course program with live monthly coaching calls.
Academic and Scientific Writing
Kickstart Your Journal Article course
Lisa Munro, PhD has a course for overwhelmed academics who want to get their journal articles published. It’s time to get your manuscript out!
The Researchers’ Writing Academy course
Anna Clemens, PhD has a course to help you write clear scientific papers for high-ranking STEM journals. If you’re in the physical, health, life, and earth sciences, this step-by-step system is the only course in scientific writing you’ll ever need.
Teaching College Ultimate Bundle Access
Get Norman Eng, EdD’s top resources for engaging students online and offline. This bundle pack of shows you the step-by-step methods you need.
Lecture Breakers Conference (virtual)
Barbi Honeycutt, PhD’s Lecture Breakers Conference is coming back in 2022. Earn a digital badge when you attend this conference packed full of practical advice and strategies you can use in your courses. Save the date! The 3rd Lecture Breakers Virtual Conference returns June 7-9, 2022.
Connecting with the Public and Media
Power Your Research course
Do you want major media coverage? Sheena Howard, PhD shares proven strategies to land features in the L.A. Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and more. Get more visibility for your research.
LinkedIn Profile Challenge for Professors and Researchers course
I’m Jennifer van Alstyne. Join professors around the world in my LinkedIn Profile Challenge. This 30-day course helps academics, scientists, and researchers update each section of your LinkedIn profile.
The Connected Exec course
Josie Ahlquist, PhD brings you a self-paced course on digital leadership for Higher Education executives. Learn social media strategy to connect with your campus community online.
Academic Careers and Leaving Academia
The Art of the Academic Cover Letter course
Are you applying for academic jobs? Learn how to write a cover letter for your academic job application. Showcase your record and stand out in the academic job market with this course from Karen Kelsky, PhD. If you don’t already have it, The Professor Is In book is a must read. You’ll need it for the course.
PhD Career Clarity Program
Confidently market yourself for the jobs you actually want with Jennifer L. Polk, PhD’s new PhD Career Clarity Program. There are live Q&A meetings. And there’s an awesome Sample Emails for PhD Job Seekers resource that comes with it.
Build a Business with 1:1 and Group Coaching
I’ve met so many professors and graduate students running a business. If you want to build a business on part-time hours Cheryl Lau has 1:1 and Group Coaching programs for you.
Retreats and Conferences
Don’t forget Barbi Honeycutt, PhD’s Lecture Breakers conference!
New Year New Moon Goal Setting Retreat (virtual)
Set your intentions for the new year on January 2, 2022. This virtual retreat from Katy Peplin, PhD of Thrive PhD helps you set your goals, dreams, and aspirations for the new year.
The Grad School Success Summit replays (virtual) FREE
Are you in graduate school? Do you know someone heading to grad school in the new year? This virtual summit has great sessions on school-life balance, wellness, and more. Get ready with a boost of motivation brought to you by Allanté Whitmore of the Blk + In Grad School podcast. You’ll get free access to the replays (including my session on How to Manage Your Online Presence in Grad School).
Sabbatical: A Low-Stress Coloring Book for Academics
Need a break from the hustle of academic life? De-stress with this coloring book from Monica F. Cox, PhD.
52 Ways to Stay Well Set: Book and Planner
Hugh Kearns, PhD says “being a researcher can be the best job in the world.” It’s also challenging. Learn a strategy for each week of the year to help you stay well during your PhD, postdoc, or research career.
Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship and How to See Past Them
Gary Lewandowski Jr., PhD is an expert on relationships. This is a book I read earlier in the year I think would be great for academics. Whether you’re in grad school, teaching, or in the lab, relationships can be hard. Appreciate the love you have, or find the one you want and deserve. I learned a lot, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The Power of Procrastination
This mini book is all about procrastination, academic creativity and guilt, by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics.
A psychological thriller from Amy Gentry, PhD about a Claire “Mac” Woods, a professor in a deadly rivalry. Can we ever leave the past behind? This book had me on the edge of my seat.
The PhD Balance Community
PhD Balance is a community creating space for graduate students to openly discuss mental health. Join the community for access to webinars, challenges, and conversation.
The Personal Finance for PhDs Community
Emily Roberts, PhD sets you up for success with your personal finances. From paying down debt to taxes, this community helps PhDs make the most of your money.
Other Gift Ideas for Academics
Professional memberships to associations and organizations
Support the academic in your life with an annual membership to a professional organization or association in their field. For graduate students especially, this is a valuable line on their CV that opens their world to new conferences and networking opportunities.
Money towards professional development activities
Help a professor, researcher, or graduate student gain professional development with money for
- Award submission
- Research travel
- Working with a coach
- Joining a training or course
A spa day
Give the gift of relaxation with a day at the spa. A hot stone massage can help relieve those post-semester grading muscle aches.
A weekend away
Sometimes the best gift is a night away. Take a trip and leave the work behind for the ultimate weekend getaway.
Thanks for checking out this gift guide
Please share it with a friend or colleague! For more gift ideas check out these 16 unique gifts for researchers and scientists. You can discover more books about teaching and learning.
Subscribe to The Social Academic blog.
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.