It's convocation week at SFU! Rose Evans, physics grad program assistant, helped her students through the final step of their graduate career.

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Weekly Roundup: October 5

October 05, 2012

In this week's roundup: thriving in your PhD, digital humanities, and life after graduation.

Please leave a comment if you have feedback or additional stories that we missed. If you'd like us to include an article in the next roundup, email the link to

Future Graduate Students

  • My Graduate School: Getting Experience is Essential Preparation for Graduate School
    "Anyone who has been in the job market knows how important it is to have relevant experience in the same or at least a similar kind of work. All other things being equal, most jobs go to applicants with experience. It is similar when admissions committees or individual faculty members consider which grad-school applicants to accept and which to deny. "

New Graduate Students

  • NeuroChambers: Tough love: An insensitive guide to thriving in your PhD
    "A PhD is not for everyone. It requires a peculiar mix of intelligence, discipline, creativity, rationalism, stubbornness – and sheer nerdiness. Different people have these in different measure, but a successful PhD student has a healthy dose of all."
  • Matt Might: Illustrated Guide to a PhD
    "Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of PhD students what a PhD is. It's hard to describe it in words. So, I use pictures."
  • PhD Confessional: Impostor Syndrome
    "Well it’s a few weeks into my first year of my PhD and I have mixed emotions about the whole experience so far.."

Grad Student Life

  • University Affairs: Re-framing the picture on PhD completion
    An article in reply to the tweet from Ontario's Minister for Training, Colleges and Universities: "The first question I have is why would it take 6 years to do a PHD?"
  • First Monday: The Academic Online: Constructing Persona Through the World Wide Web
    "This paper explores the way individuals are part of the prestige economy generated by universities as institutions. It explores how the construction of online identities or persona is now an essential activity for the academic both from the perspective of university value and individual/career value."
  • Researcher Transitions: Should you get work experience during the PhD?
    "Getting some sort of internship or work experience during your postgraduate studies could be really useful, especially if you are thinking of moving outside of academia." (Mitacs Accelerate is always looking for interns and welcomes ideas for internships in your research area.)
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: We Met in Graduate School
    "My thought? In an atmosphere of extreme peril for those seeking academic employment, two of my graduate students had gone and upped the level of difficulty by getting married. As we perspired through our gowns and sports coats, my mind kept returning to fires and frying pans."

Writing and Research

  • Attempting Elegance: Walking away from the American Chemical Society
    "SUNY Potsdam will not be subscribing to an American Chemical Society online journal package for 2013. We will instead be using a combination of the Royal Society of Chemistry content, ACS single title subscriptions, the ACS backfile, and ScienceDirect from Elsevier** to meet our chemical information needs. We’re doing this because the ACS pricing model is unsustainable for our institution and we were unable to find common ground with the sales team from the ACS." This is a huge issue in academic publishing today. See also: As Chemistry Journals' Prices Rise, a Librarian Just Says No and the SFU Library's blog on Scholarly Publishing News.
  • Teaching College English: A Tale of Two Requests
    "I have recently had two requests to take down blog posts about Popular Culture panels I attended." (Very good discussion in the comments. Definitely relevant to you if you're organizing conferences or attending and blogging about them.)
  • Inside Higher Ed: To Blog or Not to Blog?
    "There was a heated discussion on Twitter over the weekend (I told you that’s when things go DOWN on academic Twitter) about the ethics of live-tweeting (and, one could argue live-blogging) conference panels, sessions, talks, etc."
  • Inside Higher Ed: Humanities in the Digital Age
    "The other option is for humanities faculty, chairs, and administrators to plan how to integrate the digital humanities systematically through our departments -- to infuse departments with digital technologies and practices so as to create models of organically interrelated humanities digital research, teaching, administration and staff work."
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: The Multi-Track PhD
    "... two generations of "crisis thinking" are finally giving way to the idea that we're not in a crisis—because no crisis would last this long. Instead we're confronting a new normal, and we have to adjust accordingly."


After Graduation

  • Inside Higher Education: Why Some Academics Publish More
    "Motivation and the ability to network have a far greater impact on research productivity than age, gender, job satisfaction, managerial support or teaching load."
  • The Guardian: The truth of the academic job hunt – even one with a happy ending
    "A science career is about sacrifice, says one post-doc after a decade's journey from PhD to permanent research post."
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Wearing Me Out
    "I was reminded of similar advice that I got many years ago when I was a graduate student: A tenure-track professor who favored suits, makeup, and heels told me that unless I started routinely dressing like her, I would never get a faculty position."
  • Inside Higher Education: Quitting an Adjunct Career
    "From the start I understood that my position was precarious. Contingent. And so my primary concern was always that, at some point, there might not be a spot for me on the schedule."
  • Inside Higher Education: From Adjunct to the Tenure Track
    "Here’s how I got from Adjuncthood to Professorland: Luck, hard work, and opportunism. Not much to say about the "luck" component, but I can say plenty about the latter two."


This week's PhD comic:

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