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Beyond the Professoriate

BY JENNIFER POLK | March 11 2015

Canada’s two largest universities — University of Toronto and York University — are affected by strikes. Last week, first graduate student teaching assistants and course instructors struck at U of T, followed closely by all contract teaching assistants and instructors at York University. (York’s CUPE 3903 Unit 2 — non-student contract faculty members — ratified […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | March 03 2015

Kara Santokie earned her PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. Formerly a professor, she is now director of Toronto Women’s City Alliance, where she works towards the inclusion of women’s voices in municipal politics. Her work has led her to be featured in the Toronto Star, NOW Magazine, CTV News, CP24, and […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | February 19 2015

The Unruly PhD: Doubts, Detours, Departures, & Other Success Stories by Rebecca Peabody is a collection of first-hand accounts and interviews with people who’ve travelled in, through, and beyond graduate school. After a brief introduction by Dr. Peabody, an art history PhD who works at the Getty Research Institute, the book is divided into three […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | February 05 2015

Jennifer Polk explains why PhDs should sign up, either as a participant or as a speaker.

BY JENNIFER POLK | January 27 2015

How he went from a PhD in neuroscience to working with autistic elementary school children.

BY JENNIFER POLK | January 22 2015

Jennifer Polk lists her favourite coping mechanisms for when you are waiting for the phone to ring about that academic job you applied for.

BY JENNIFER POLK | January 14 2015

“When did you decide to leave academia?” This question, or some version of it — “How did you know that you didn’t want to be a professor?” for example — is one I’m regularly asked. It comes up in conversation, on Twitter, or when I’m on a careers panel. It’s a fair inquiry, and the […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | December 19 2014

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, Jennifer Polk reflects back on what she did and didn’t do this past year.

BY JENNIFER POLK | December 10 2014

Jennifer Polk looks at how Nadia Jaber took her disdain for the academic lifestyle and turned it into a solution for other PhDs.

BY JENNIFER POLK | November 25 2014

The other day I read a story of waiting and hoping. It was the story of a woman, a PhD and an adjunct professor, who works at an institution she hopes would one day grant her a permanent professorship. I found myself getting mad. But mad at whom, mad at what? At her, the institution, […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | November 11 2014

Melissa Dalgleish is the research officer in the faculty of graduate studies and a PhD candidate in English at York University. She researches Canadian literature and graduate education, professionalization, and reform. When she’s not working on her dissertation, you can find her writing for Hook & Eye and #Alt-Academy, where she’s the co-editor of Graduate […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | November 06 2014

Last week a Twitter contact asked me, “Would you ever go back to academia if your dream job opened up?” We both knew he meant a university faculty position, tenure-track. We knew this because talk of a “dream job” is common among graduate students and PhDs on the academic job market. For me, now, the […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | October 30 2014

Ten years ago, when I started my PhD at the University of Toronto, I began tracking every penny (R.I.P.) I spent. I can’t remember what motivated me to do this, other than the knowledge that I’d now have to pay rent and buy my own groceries out of my fellowship and teaching assistant income; previously, […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | October 21 2014

“How’s business?” I was asked this by a fellow panelist at an event I recently participated in. “Good!” I responded, and then added my usual caveat: “I’m not yet covering my expenses but I’m getting there.” Reflecting on this now, I want to go back in time and change my answer. Why? TBU. This acronym […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | October 06 2014

Jennifer Polk chats with Kelly J. Baker about juggling her writing career with family life.

BY JENNIFER POLK | September 29 2014

Earlier this month I completed the coaching supervision course. It started in the spring, and consisted of biweekly 90-minute classes and six 1-on-1 sessions with the supervising coach. The individual sessions involved listening to one of my own coaching calls, followed by me receiving feedback on my coaching, with an eye toward passing the Professional […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | September 12 2014

When it comes to making changes in your life, start small. It’s all well and good to decide to exercise regularly, take up a vegan diet, or write for two hours every day. But if doing so means a significant departure from your current routine, you’re unlikely to succeed unless you take things one step […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | September 05 2014

Noticing and coming up with a strategy to deal with inner critics is an important part of coaching. We all have these “gremlins” messing with our lives. They are there to protect us, but we rarely need this protection. We are all much stronger than our inner critics think we are. Here’s how inner critic […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | August 28 2014

Many academics, broadly defined, claim to dislike networking, think it is insincere, that it’s not something they’re good at anyway. Now, I have many thoughts about all this, but let me offer just one in this post. I make a distinction between networking proper and informational interviews. The latter involves making contact with a person […]

BY JENNIFER POLK | August 21 2014

Andrew Miller earned a PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University in 2005. He currently manages a transit policy office for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.  What did you hope for in terms of employment as you completed your PhD? Unsurprisingly, I hoped for a tenure-track job, although I must admit those hopes weren’t fervent. […]