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Career advice for academia and beyond

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Interested in learning how to publish and market your scholarly work? Looking for tips on writing fellowship proposals and awards applications? Seeking some insight into teaching and community engagement? If you’re looking for advice, you can find it at Congress 2013. This year’s Career Corner series, jointly presented by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University Affairs magazine and the University of Victoria, will host 19 different professional development workshops from June 2nd to 7th, providing Congress attendees with a free opportunity to learn about life and careers as an academic.

Though the program has been a part of Congress for many years, Career Corner has recently become a more prominent element of the conference as the participation of our host institutions in its organization has grown. According to Glen Ashworth of University Affairs, “The history of Career Corner goes back about 10 years, when the term ‘Career Corner’ referred to a physical space at the Congress book fair [now Expo]. At that time, universities across Canada were anticipating a significant wave of faculty retirement and academic labour shortage, and so a number of universities set up exhibit space at the Career Corner venue as a recruitment strategy to meet future faculty face-to-face”.

When the Federation partnered up with University Affairs in 2007, the Career Corner sessions began to include more formal presentations by experts from Canadian universities, the federal and provincial governments, and the private sector. This year, having teamed up with both the University of Victoria’s Learning and Teaching Centre and Co-operative Education Program and Career Services department, the organizers of Career Corner have created a high-quality lineup of workshops and presentations about a range of helpful topics.

“UVic has done an excellent job of reaching out to their faculty members to help build a Career Corner program that draws on the personal experiences of senior faculty in order to help graduate students prepare for an academic career,” says Ashworth. Though typically geared toward graduate students and junior faculty members, many of the sessions provide information relevant to scholars of any age or tenure.

According to April McNeil, a Career Educator at the University, “All of the sessions are tailored to the needs of social sciences and humanities students and focus on excellence in research, teaching, community service or general professional competencies”. Additionally, she states, “a panel entitled Careers Beyond Academia will explore how young scholars can apply their skills and experience outside the world of academia. This topic is not traditionally explored at academic conferences and represents a unique opportunity for Congress attendees”.

A reflection of UVic’s mandate, another interesting aspect of the series this year is a greater focus on community engagement. Additionally, participants will find professional insights into social media use, cross-cultural competency, and maintaining a healthy work/life balance. At University Affairs, the hope is to “answer some of those tough questions that grad students are either hesitant to ask, or simply don’t know where to turn to find advice.”

For more information about Career Corner at Congress 2013, visit the Congress website or browse by “Series” on our calendar of events.

Bonus! A number of Career Corner presentations from past years are also available for viewing on the University Affairs Youtube channel.

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