Beyond the Professoriate conference preview

Beyond the Professoriate is coming up soon! Maren and I are very excited and thrilled with the group we’ve gathered. Read the full preview here. An excerpt:

My conference is coming up fast! Beyond the Professoriate will bring together 25 PhDs from a wide variety of disciplines – engineering to ethnomusicology, genetics to German – who are working in a variety of fields. The two-day conference will be presented entirely online. All are welcome to register and attend.

On Career Day, Saturday, 2 May, my co-convenor Maren Wood and I will host four panel discussions with doctoral degree holders working in higher education, business, nonprofits, government, and elsewhere. On Professional Development Day the following Saturday, 9 May, we’ll host six special presentations aimed directly at PhD job seekers and career explorers.

More info on today’s blog post for University Affairs. Check out the full conference program below and be sure to head over to the conference website for all the details plus blog posts by a few of our speakers.

Transition Q & A: Raj Dhiman

So what does a guy with a PhD in bio-organic chemistry do outside the academy? Work in tech sales, of course! Well, that’s one option. Read about Raj Dhiman’s transition from science postdoc to corporate sales training manager over at my University Affairs blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

What do you do now?

For the past year, I have been working at a new division of Rogers Communications called Vicinity. I sought full-time employment in a sales role because I had very little money on hand to deal with student debt while trying to make ends meet. I knew I had the right skill set to be successful in sales with the strong potential to earn some serious money.

I started out on the sales floor, making cold calls and selling to small businesses. I devoted myself to learning the entire sales process from scratch then got very good at it. After six months, I was encouraged to apply for the sales training manager position and was successful in being promoted to the role.

The full post is here.

Transition Q & A: Viviane Callier

Viviane Callier has a PhD in biology and now works as a science writer at the US National Cancer Institute. Here how the interview begins:

What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD?

When I finished my PhD, I had lined up a postdoc in the same field of study (insect physiology). During my postdoc, I spent a lot of time applying for grants, and also had my first interview for a tenure track job. I started to realize that, the closer I got to what I thought I wanted, the less appealing it became. So I started exploring alternatives away from the bench. I wrote for the university blog and alumni magazine, which led to the idea that I could write full time.

Read the rest over at University Affairs!

Transition Q & A: Nicholas Dion

How does a religious studies PhD wind up working as a senior coordinator at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario? Read this week’s Q & A over at University Affairs to find out! Nick spent months exploring his options beyond academia, and was proactive in his job search toward the end of his degree.

Before the interview, I prepared as best I could. I milked my contacts for anything they knew about HEQCO. I spoke to my friend’s mom – the one who sent me the ad – to see what she knew about them. I reflected on my grad school experience and did some research into Ontario’s postsecondary challenges and policy priorities. When I got to the interview, I learned that, unbeknownst to me and unannounced in the ad, they had been thinking about hiring two interns – the traditional research intern and another intern who could move into an editor role. They had never had an editor before but had been increasing their rate of publication recently and wanted someone who could create and manage a consistent process. My work on the journal, together with my research experience and my experience working with academics made me a strong candidate. So I’m fond of saying that my first job was technically one for which I hadn’t even applied.

Read this rest of this interview here.

Transition Q & A: Daveena Tauber

Rutgers English PhD Daveena Tauber is forging a career for herself in higher education, but from the outside. Read her transition story over at University Affairs. An excerpt:

What do you do now? 

At this point, I am an established writing consultant who specializes in working with graduate programs and graduate students. The first part of my mission is to help graduate programs increase retention and diversity by supporting the full range of skills required to produce successful academic work. The second part is to support graduate students through direct consulting services. You might say that I facilitate excellent working relationships between universities and their students.

Very cool!

Striking for a better now, and a better future

This week’s post for University Affairs is my contribution to the debates about the strikes happening here in Toronto, and especially the situation at the University of Toronto, where I do my PhD in the Department of History. I quote from a marvelous open letter written by an English professor, and from a memoir I read on the weekend, written by a tenure-track professor who lost his job. I think it’s a good post. Check it out here. An excerpt:

It is often extremely difficult for new PhDs to secure meaningful, full-time employment that pays a living wage. This is true for academic and non-academic jobs. Recent graduates may spend years teaching courses on short-term per-course contracts, often for multiple universities at the same time, or moving far from friends and family to take up a one to three year postdoctoral fellowship or visiting assistant professorship position. (“Visiting from where? you might ask. From nowhere.“) Those of us who “leave” academia may find it takes four to five years to settle into a new career. To pay graduate students a pittance, sell them (if only by implication) on the merits of a tenure-track position, then offer them little assistance on the transition to secure employment . . . well, it doesn’t sit right with me.

Transition Q & A: Kara Santokie

My friend Kara worked as a professor in Bangladesh for a year after earning her PhD in political science, then returned to Toronto — she did her PhD at U of T — and found a job managing programs for a local nonprofit organization. Since then, she’s been promoted to executive director. Read her story in the latest Transition Q & A post on University Affairs.

What are your favourite parts of your job?

My favourite audiences are high school students, although I hardly speak at high schools. When I do get the opportunity, their ideas are always really interesting! I also really like getting stuff published in the newspaper! I think that more people have read my work in one year than at least 10 years of academic life would have produced.

The full Q & A is here!

Book review: The Unruly PhD

Are you looking for more stories about life after a PhD, and about the experience of graduate school itself? There’s a book for that! In my latest post for University Affairs, I reviewed The Unruly PhD.

This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the work and lives of people who’ve pursued PhDs in humanities disciplines (and one in neuroscience). The stories will resonate with readers pursuing graduate degrees, or considering doing so, and those who’ve moved on after finishing (or not). I found myself at turns dismayed and delighted by the tales. It’s hard for me to read about Josephine, the adjunct who’s sacrificed so much for her education and is now dreaming of a tenure-track job. It’s frustrating to learn that Derek, who got himself a tenure-track job in the perfect-for-him location, cancels a class every semester so he can go surfing (“It’s just one of those things I do”). But there’s enough variety in here to cover a wide range of experiences and reflections, and that’s a good thing.

Read the full review here.

CFP: Beyond the Professoriate, 2 & 9 May 2015

Were you at Beyond the Professoriate last year? No? Well, you can come this year! The Call for Panellists and Presenters is now out. We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to talk about your career trajectory (be a panellist on 2 May) or deliver a presentation to help PhDs in career transition now (on 9 May).

Read more at “Info on the 2015 Beyond the Professoriate” conference over at University Affairs. And check out our next website.