Professional Development at UAAC 2014

ArtCan is sponsoring two PD events at the annual Universities Art Association of Canada conference.

Location: OCADU, Toronto
Date: Sunday, 26 October, 2014

Feature Lecture

9:00–10:30 a.m.
Jennifer Polk (Academic and Career Coach, Toronto)

“From PhD Candidate to Life Coach: Rethinking Success after Graduate School”

The focus on my talk will be on my own transition from PhD student and “failed academic” to budding coach and businesswoman. I’ll describe how I felt as I went through graduate school, emphasizing how I came to believe in the standard narrative of success in academia and what the consequences of that were. Over time, I embraced a new definition of success, one that is rooted in my own values, strengths, and lifestyle desires. I will connect what I’ve done in the past with what I do now, explaining how it makes perfect sense that an archives-loving PhD candidate came to work as a life coach. The talk will centre on my story but along the way I’ll introduce concepts important to any transition: values and strengths, identity recrafting, redefining success, taking risks, and getting support.


11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

“Imagining Otherwise: Expanding the Narrative of Academic Success”

Erin Morton (University of New Brunswick)
Allison Sherman (Director of Graduate Studies, Queen’s University)

Leanne Carroll (Associate Research Director and Project Coordinator, ArtCan)
Brianne Howard (Director, Academic Support, University of British Columbia)
Jennifer Polk (Academic and Career Coach, Toronto)
Julia Skelly (Affiliate Assistant Professor, Concordia University)
Kim Yates (Associate Director, Jackman Humanities Institute)

What happens if an academic researcher decides to abandon self-defeating notions of success? Does it mean leaving academe, where the tenure-track position sometimes feels like it exists on the other side of a locked door to which we don’t have a key? Does it mean maintaining commitment to a scholarly career no matter the economic and psychological realities of sessional teaching and short-term contracts? Does it mean staying in a job that you hate because it fits the mold of conventional success in your field?

This panel will explore ways in which to expand the narrative of academic success, which has long encouraged one-size-fits-all-solutions such as finding a tenure-track job and turning your dissertation into a book. It will reveal, through the various experiences of the panelists, that the belief system on which conventional academic success has long been based need not be perpetuated. Instead, it will encourage participants to carve out new, shared definitions of success and standards of evaluation through interactive discussion.