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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Foundations of Professional Identity

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


Many find themselves frustrated in their careers by lack of preparation for dealing with predictable dilemmas that regularly arise in the world of work. Two in five professionals fired in their jobs after college are terminated for lying, or misuse of technology. Easy to avoid! Or is it? What if you find you have to compromise your values to keep your job? What if they ask you to lie or cheat, even though you know if you are found out you will be fired? What if you find out the company is breaking the law?

Successful people know about and have the skills taught in this specialization. You should, too.

Those who wish to make a difference, build positive reputations, become leaders, and advance in their careers must cultivate professional success skills, along with their specific job skills. The central themes of this course – knowing yourself and your values, recognizing and meeting ethical challenges, using an analytical decision-making framework, identifying potential pitfalls, and developing tools to use in the moment – are essential soft skills for succeeding at work. In short, an ethical framework is necessary, and not just nice; smart ethics, as we define them, are integral to success.


  • Course Orientation
    • You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course.
  • Week 1: Introduction and Who Are You?
    • Find out how the course will run and how we’ll use 2-Minute Challenges and expert commentary to give you a 3-D understanding of the material in this course. Establish and clarify your values and learn how they underpin your career.
  • Week 2: Opening Up Problems through the Decision-Making Framework (DMF)
    • Learn a systematic approach to tackling any decision.
  • Week 3: Career TRAGEDIES: Recognizing and Avoiding Them
    • Find out about nine common sources of problems at work, and how to identify them and stop them from derailing your day, your job, or your career.
  • Week 4: Knowing What To Do Isn't Enough – How Do You Say It?
    • Develop personal scripts for difficult situations.

Taught by

C. K. Gunsalus


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 55 ratings

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