Phd Career Outcomes: You don’t HAVE to work in academia


– All right, hello everyone,
I’m Jonathan Turner, I’m your moderator and MC for the evening. It is my pleasure to introduce Charmaine Williams to provide the official welcome and opening for
PhD Career Outcomes, Research Results & Future Directions. Charmaine is acting vice dean
of students at the School of Graduate Studies and
an associate professor in social work and the
Factor-Inwentash chair in health and mental health. Charmaine. – Okay, thank you so much, Jonathan. I’m gonna start us off with
a practice that I’m so glad has become part of what we do here at the U of T, which is
the land acknowledgement. We wish to acknowledge this land on which the University
Of Toronto operates. For thousands of years, it
has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently Mississaugas
of the Credit River. Today this meeting place
is still the meeting home to many indigenous people
from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to
have the opportunity to work and to learn on this land. So welcome again and thank you so much for that introduction, Jonathan. As he said, I am the acting vice dean for students at the School
of Graduate Studies. I was actually going to
mention the pamphlets on the side there to that, it’s
a project out of the School of Graduate Studies
that I’m very proud of. I had nothing to do with,
but I’m very proud of it. (laughs) And it’s very interesting just to see what people are doing with their PhDs and I’m gonna take a
moment to talk about my own PhD experience because you’ve
given me the microphone. I see I have five minutes
though so I won’t go too long. So when I did my PhD I was like first in family but also
like first basically in my whole world to go to university. So by the time I got to
the PhD people were really quite perplexed about
what it was I was doing and why I was doing that kind of stuff. And I think that I went to
it really just with an idea. I was a social worker, and
I went to it with an idea that there was something
I wanted to learn, questions I wanted to ask,
skills I wanted to pick up. And honestly had not given
much thought to academia. And I suppose in a
discipline like social work which is also a profession
we were a bit ahead, maybe, in terms of thinking that,
you know, there may be other things that you’re gonna
do with your social work PhD. So me and my colleagues have
ended up in a lot of, oops in a lot of interesting
places and I’m very glad that the rest of the world
has caught up with social work and realized that you can do
other things with your PhD. About time, so, (laughs) so I’m very glad that we’re collaborating
with the career exploration and education group to bring this to you. I think you have a very
interesting group of speakers here to tell you about what PhD
Career outcomes can be like. And some of the questions
that they’re going to be addressing are things like, what is the value of a PhD,
where are PhDs employed? What does this tell us
about career development programming for PhDs, and
what can you as a PhD student, or someone who’s thinking about a PhD, postdoc fellow, or even
a professor, do to get people thinking and
preparing for flexible career development as they think
about their doctoral studies? So let me tell you about the
group of people to my left. Everyone appearing tonight
has a current connection to the University of Toronto and all but one are University of Toronto alumni. It’s not alumni, almunus, whatever. (laughs) They came from U of T. Collectively they can offer
perspectives from working within and outside of academia and
across many different sites. And they’ve been sharing
their insights on the graduate education landscape and
career outcomes and career readiness for doctoral students. I’m sure they’re gonna
have very interesting remarks to share. Now I know there are other
places where they have their bios written out so I
will not say the whole bio but let me tell you a
little bit about the people. We have Daniel Munro, who
will be speaking first, a visiting scholar and director
of policy projects at the Innovation Policy Lab and the
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the
University of Toronto. Yeah, it needs a few commas, it does. (laughs) He’s a PhD graduate from
MIT who, by the way, did his undergrad at UTM and Dan also
writes and speaks publicly about education and innovation
technology and ethics. Next we’ll hear from Reinhart Reithmeier, who is a professor in the department of biochemistry at the
University of Toronto. As special advisor to the
Dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 2015 to 2017, he
was instrumental in developing a major study of employment
outcomes for U of T PhDs called the 10,000 PhDs Project. So he’s the guy who gets credit for what I was just taking credit for over there. (audience laughs) – It was a team effort. – Monica Munaretto will
then share her current research on doctoral
student career pathways, building on the contributions
of Dan and Reinhart. Monica is a current PhD
student at the Ontario Institute for Studies and Education, OISE, who also works at the
University of Waterloo as a career advisor for
graduate students and post docs. Next to her, Simona Chiose
will follow with insights and reflections on all of
our panelists’ presentations. That’s a big job, so good. Until recently Simona wrote
extensively on post-secondary data projects and investigations
at the Globe and Mail. She now works as senior
policy advisor, stakeholder engagement in U of T’s
government relations office, and she brings a perspective
of a recent PhD graduate having earned a PhD in political science focusing on immigration policy in 2016. There’s an exciting outcome right there. Last but certainly not least our moderator, Jonathan
Turner, who you’ve already met, is a career educator at U
of T’s career exploration and education, and one
of the U of T’s alumns captured in the 10,000 PhD’s Project. Jonathan cofounded the
Consortium of Canadian Graduate Student Professional Development Administrators and still
serves as a past chair. So after all of the panelists
have had the opportunity to speak we will welcome
questions from all of you. And Jonathan has told you
about all the ways to do that. And Jonathan will be
moderating our discussion. So without further ado I’m
going to turn it over to Dan. Thank you very much. (audience applauds) – Thank you, let’s see. I think and talk about technology
but can I actually use it, is the question. And normally I start a presentation with a joke but I’ve
been given five minutes. So if I tell a joke I’m gonna
take up 30 seconds of time. So I won’t tell a joke. But I still took up 30 seconds of time. (audience laughs) So I did some work, so prior
to joining the Munk School I did some work with the
Conference Board of Canada, where I was employed
for 10 years actually. Conference Board is Canada’s largest, most prominent economic
and policy think tank. So I’ve been working outside of academia for most of my post-PhD career. A few years ago I wanted to
understand, with a colleague of mine, where PhDs in
Canada actually end up. So we took, and the data
on this is not very good, but we took a look at what was
available in the 2011 census. So it’s a bit dated but things don’t move too quickly in this area
so I thought I’d share a little bit of that with
you to give you a sense of what the national picture looks like. So as you can see Canada
is home to about a quarter of a million people
with PhDs and we produce about six or 7,000 new PhDs a year. And we also attract, through immigration, another few thousand a year,
so we’re a growing cohort. Other research shows that about
60 to 85% of PhD students, people who start their degrees,
want to become an academic. They want a career in
academia, and that varies by discipline but what our research shows was that few people
actually realize that aim. But that’s not a bad thing. We found that about one
in five PhDs in Canada are employed as what Statistics Canada calls full-time university professors. You’d prefer to have
tenure track professors as a category but that’s
just not the way Stats Can collects data so this is what you get. So tenure track is probably
a little bit less than that. One in five are employed
in other positions in the post-secondary education system. That can be part-time teachers,
post-docs, people who teach in the college system and
people who are researchers. Three in five, so about
60% of people who hold PhDs in Canada are employed in
private and public sector organizations outside of the
post secondary education system and that’s fantastic,
right, because that means that the knowledge and
skills that you develop in a PhD program actually have relevance to positions and career
paths outside of academia. You’re not going down a dark
tunnel towards one career. You’re going down a tunnel
that once you get through to the other side a whole
world of opportunity opens up. And the data bears this out. This has been the case, actually,
for ages, forever, really. I mean, a lot of people
think that older cohorts of people with PhDs, most
of them would’ve been employed in academic positions,
that’s simply not true. Full time university professor position has always been a minority role. So even if everybody
who’s over 55, you know, for the sake of argument,
say everybody over the age of 55 with a full time
university professor position retired tomorrow and all of
those positions went to people, say, you know, under 45 years
of age, it would still be a minority occupation among people
in that younger age cohort. So this is not a new issue, right? This has always been the case. I mean the good news is
that you’re developing advanced skills and behaviors in your PhD programs that are valuable to employers. So I’ve had a career outside of academia and I actually go back
and forth a little bit which is one of the great
things about having a PhD. I’ve had a career outside of academia, I’ve also been on the other
side of a hiring table looking at the CVs, the
resumes of recently minted PhDs or PhDs who’ve decided to leave academia. And actually helped them
through articulating the skills that they have
and basically identifying for public and private employers why it’s worthwhile to hire
somebody with a PhD. So you have advanced research
and analytical skills, you have great communication skills. Project management skills,
right, that’s something that employers like to see
but PhD students don’t always think to put on their CVs
or resumes when they apply. Great teamwork and interpersonal skills, and you have perseverance, right? Anybody who can make it through a PhD is gonna look good to an employer. That means you can stick with something. Although, to be fair, leaving
a PhD is totally fine, right? That’s a totally legitimate
thing to do as well, right? But, you know, when we
see PhDs on the other side of a hiring table we know
that this is a person who can pick up a project and
get all the way through it, just work through that kind
of project, which is great. I’ll just close by mentioning
a book that was produced by a couple of colleagues
in political science, and my degree is in political science. So Loleen Berdahl and Jonathan
Malloy recently published a book called Work Your
Career: Get What You Want From Your Social Sciences,
Your Humanities PhD. But it also applies to people
in other fields as well. The reason why I recommend this book, and the reason why I
really like it is because they ask a really good question
and they ask it repeatedly in the book, which is,
given my future goals and the information
currently available to me what is my best decision right now, right? You’re future goals, they
prompt you to think about your future goals not simply in
terms of becoming an academic but thinking about what kind
of life you wanna live, right? What kind of career, what is
important to have in a career? It might be the case that
academia is the way to go, it might be the case that
something else is the way to go. And they remind us that,
look, this is your life. This is your career, your current and future happiness is
what’s at stake here. So, you know, as people throughout your program and, once you
get into the working world, tell you, you know, they might tell you what they think you should
be, step back and say, look, think about what it
is that you want to be, what it is that you want to
do, and work towards a plan to actually realizing
those sorts of things. So, that was probably
seven minutes, right? All right, Jonathan’s
gonna pull me off stage. Happy to share more about my own personal experience as well as we
get into the discussion. – All right, thank you
all for coming here. So 15%, that’s the percentage of PhDs who graduated from the
department of biochemistry in the decade that I was
chair of the department. When I got that number I
was absolutely shocked. I said, it can’t be right, ’cause our job is to create the next
generation of academics, that’s the way I was
brought up and trained. And I wondered about the
85%, what are they doing? Are they working at Starbucks? Am I gonna see them driving
a limo to the airport? Weren’t you a PhD student in
biochemistry, what happened? Nowadays you’d be an Uber driver, I guess. So the answer to that question
was, the 85% are doing amazing things, and the
problem was I as chair didn’t know what those
amazing things were. The current pool of graduate
students didn’t know what those amazing things
were and most supervisors didn’t know or care, which
is very important to make that statement, about
what those 85% were doing. And it turned out they were doing, like I said, absolutely amazing things. Now if you want to get some information, so there’s little booklets
here very nicely done, but you can actually Google
SGS 10,000 PhDs Project and you’ll get a picture
that looks like this. And at the bottom of that image on your phone you’ll see a dashboard. You can go to that dashboard and find the outcome data for your
particular discipline. So you wanna find out where
PhDs are graduated from U of T in political science
are now, you can do so. You can also search it by gender, by country of origin, et cetera. So there’s a lot of information there. So here’s a bit of data. So this is a graph showing the number of students who graduated from U of T with a PhD from the year 2000 up to 2015. As you can see this has
been a dramatic increase in the number of
graduates and their school of graduate studies here is
divided into four divisions. The top part is physical
sciences, which has had the biggest increase in
the number of graduates. Life sciences, my own
discipline, in green, a very substantial increase,
almost double there. Social science also an increase, and the humanities is absolutely flat. 100 people graduated from
U of T in the humanities with a PhD in the year 2015
and 100 people graduated in the year 2000, so there’s been
no growth in the humanities. And we can maybe discuss
why that might be. So there’s more PhDs
graduating than ever and again, during the question period
Dan can talk about this, too, about why there was a deliberate
policy at the government level to increase the
number of funding slots for graduate students at U
of T and throughout Ontario. So here’s the big pie chart,
so again this is the employment sectors of all PhD graduates,
all 10,886 who have graduated from U of T between the
years 2000, 2015, and we did this survey in 2016 so it’s
a snapshot of that year. Where are they in 2016? So tenure track professors
it’s about a quarter, that’s the dark blue that you see there, are in 2016 tenure track professors. And the rest of the
blue shading is in what we call the post-secondary
education sector. So some people are
teaching stream professors, you’ll see them there. The next group down is adjunct or affiliated professors,
that’s people who are commonly employed in hospital-based
research institutes. But they also have
appointments as professors at universities, they may also
be at the Royal Ontario Museum or the Art Gallery of Ontario
at faculty positions as well. Then we have part time
professors, those are mostly in humanities that are
sessional lecturers and college lecturers, so college lecturers
we define as non-degree granting institutions
university administration and research associates,
post doctorate fellows. Of course post doctorate fellows
are mostly recent graduates that graduated within the
last two or three years. But you’ll notice that the private sector, in the kind of orange
color, is very substantial as is the public sector,
charitable, not for profit. Individual sector is
sort of entrepreneurial and other and then unknowns is 15%. The methodology we used for this was the same methodology as Headco. I hired a team of media
savvy undergraduates to go to the internet and locate these
people, so we were able to find 85% of the graduates
without contacting one person. So you’re out there, okay? So here’s a little bit of
a trajectory going back to the year 2000, again this
is looking at tenure track and post-docs, so it goes
from 2000 over to 2015 again. And the darker blue at
the bottom is the number of people who graduated
from U of T with a PhD who are, in 2016, tenure track professors. So you notice in the year
2000, if you graduated in the year 2000 there are
about a couple hundred people who are currently tenure track professors. Most of those are, of
course, since they graduated in 2000 are full professors,
they’re departmental chairs, they’re vice deans, deans, you know, presidents of universities, et cetera. And then that number
stays stable all the way through ’til about 2011,
12, so there was no little dip in 2008, 2009,
we were were worried about that recession might
have an impact there, so the number of people who
are getting tenure track positions when graduating from
U of T has stayed constant. Then you see a drop in more
recent years and that drop is due to the people who are
currently doing post-docs, that’s the next color blue above, that are carrying out
post doctoral training. And we project, if you
project out that 200 across the 2015, about half
the people doing post-docs will end up as tenure track professors. So of course the number of
people who are awarded PhDs is almost doubled and the
number of people attaining PhDs, that number has stayed
constant so it’s more competitive than ever to
get a tenure track position. But they are out there, there’s been no decrease in the numbers attaining that. I would say from U of T PhD
graduates we populate over 60 universities in Canada and
also in the States, Britain, around the world, have attained
tenure track positions. So just my last slide, the reality check. So graduate enrollment has increased and the graduation rates have
increased, almost doubled. Again in physical science
has been the most dramatic. Faculty positions are limited, so they’re not growing,
but they are there. As Dan has said non-academic position careers are in the majority and I think there’s a need, really,
to redefine success. And this is a quotation I
got from a fellow faculty member when I was standing
in the Starbucks line, when I told her that a lot
of our students are getting amazing jobs outside of academia she said, “Well, yeah, I guess,
but our best students “will always become professors.” And I said, well, according to the data that we have in the 10,000 PhD Project, many of our best students
are making other choices. So it’s not a plan B, it was their plan A to work outside of the
tenure track stream. So thank you for your attention. – Hello everyone, my name is
Monica and the introduction told you why I’m a
doctoral student at OISE. And I stand before you
as also an archeologist. I did my first graduate work in the field of Greek and Roman archeology
and I did not pursue a PhD. For they told me, “There are no jobs, “you should not continue
into the doctorate.” And that was in another lifetime. I still touch on a lot of
things as well because I still teach as a sessional, as
an adjunct in the field of archeology, so I still
have that part to my life. But that’s a piece of the reason why I’ve chosen this to study. I chose, after my master’s in archeology to pursue a career in student services. I currently work as a career
advisor for graduate students and when I came to OISE
to do my master’s degree I focused some of my
attention on the concept of a return on investment
to higher education. If you do a master’s degree, how much more money will you make? If you do a PhD, how much
more money will you make? And the story I kept
hearing is a common refrain. The PhD there are no jobs. And I had the data in my hands
that said, yes there are. Our PhDs are having rich careers. Yet the stories that unfold
from people are these stories of dismay and we call it
the PhD crisis discourse. And the hiring issue is just a part of that PhD crisis discourse. So that’s what brought me to this. I wanted to take that story,
as I got into my doctorate, and explore if those realities we’ve spoken about are
known, that less than 30% of our students will become professors. What are institutions doing? How are they responding
to this information? So my first step in my
research was I designed a project where I could look
at institutional responses. And I met with individuals
from three Ontario universities and I spoke to
three stakeholder groups. I wanted to get the
perspective of career advisors, the perspective of graduate
students, and the perspective of administrators in
graduate studies units. And those conversations were very rich. When I brought up this
topic that the volunteers that came forth to share
their stories provided me with a lot of information to
go on, but one of the pieces of that information that
came through was the barriers that people find when it
comes to participating in the programming
available on our campuses. Most campuses in Canada are providing graduate specific career
development opportunities and they are diverse based on the needs of the particular campus
and the resources available. But when I broke down
that data and I looked at that little package of
information about the challenges, these are some of the
things that came through. The participants wanted to talk about how career options
are simply unclear. They wanted to talk about the
additional responsibilities and the different time and
space sometimes doctoral students are in with families
and work responsibilities, previous careers that came
before their doctoral work. A lot of people also talked
to me about international students and the different
experience they have pursuing work if they’ve studied in Canada and then trying to navigate
the application process and the work environment
in the Canadian contexts. It won’t surprise you, some people wanted to talk about the awareness of services. Some people simply don’t know
those services are available. And the piece that I
found really interesting, that I got very excited about,
were the conversations around advisors and the concept of
shame and fear as a barrier to exploring careers that
don’t involve becoming a prof. And one of my graduate
administrators actually used the phrase, “Advisors are
an impediment to the success “of our doctoral students
from a career context.” And tied in with that there’s a phrase we call the replication model. Many of our professors have
gone from their undergrad to their master’s to their
PhD to their post-doc to professorship, and as
our students are currently looking for other opportunities,
other ways to apply this higher learning, if
their advisor only has that network of on-campus and
discipline specific individuals, the student sometimes doesn’t
have that advisor as a person to turn to for all of the
other opportunities out there. So discussions around
networking and the significance of the advisors network
on the doctoral student were also a dominant theme in
the stories that were told. So as I collected all that
data and took a little bit of time to think about
it the things that inspired me the most, quite
sincerely, were the barriers. So I’m moving forward with my research looking at how do we
overcome these barriers? I looked at the institutional piece and what are the schools doing? And now I’m brought to the question, what about the individual,
on an individual level? Why do we see some students
being highly engaged in the career planning
aspect of a doctoral program? Why are some starting early, and what brought them to
that awareness and interest? We also have a pool of students
who are well intentioned, they value the services,
they know those services are there but they’re still not engaging. So are there different barriers for them, when you want to go, you want to engage, but the programming isn’t
fitting what you’re seeking? And then the third group are those who consciously don’t engage. And we find, as practitioners
I don’t have a statistic to quote you but we’re
constantly trying to engage, for example, students in
the arts and humanities. And that’s where I think I’ll
be spending a lot of my time because the replication
model is very strong in many of the arts and
humanities programs. And that replication model is modeling after your advisor for
a career in academia. So there are many students who are consciously not engaged. Is it that they’re struggling
with this fear and shame? Is is that they intend to be professors and they’re not open
to other opportunities? These are important questions for us to answer because it’s important to Canada that our PhD students are
contributing in the many ways. If you follow the literature
people talk about, how do we harness the
innovation and creativity and knowledge of those who’ve
attained our highest degree? And so I think it
interests a lot of people. I hope it interests you ’cause
you’ve joined us tonight. And I wanna welcome you
after this talk to share your stories with me,
connect with me via Twitter or you can Google me and find
one of my many email addresses and I encourage you to share your stories so that we can move forward to identifying some of the barriers and
maximizing all of the resources that are on campus offered
to students quite often without cost that are
sometimes being underutilized. So that’s a little bit about what I do and an invitation to connect further. So I will now turn it back over. (audience applauds) – So thank you very much, Monica. I think that’s a very good lead in to some of the things
I wanted to talk about. So I’m Simona. I now work for the University of Toronto but I think one of the
perspectives that’s interesting that I bring is that I
recently struggled and worked my way through the process of figuring out how to make a career
change and how to utilize and integrate an existing
career with my PhD. And I did that while having
the privilege of talking to almost all of these people
and seeing this research develop over time and
understanding some of it, and also seeing the new
resources that are available for PhD students to be able
to take some of this research and do what I call
reverse-engineer your career. So rather than have sort of
like a one by one I’m gonna just try and bring it all
together discussion style. Monica mentioned the highly engaged and what is it that makes
some people start early. Ideally we all would like to start early. I think, given the
resources that are out there in terms of the research, being
able to in your first year say where do I see myself,
what are the possible pathways after my PhD. If you can start to think about that in your first year,
you’re definitely ahead. But I also know that’s not the reality. So for me I didn’t really
start to think about that. I was working at the same
time that I was doing my PhD. I didn’t really start to
think about those things until, really, I was
very close to defending. I was quite happy being a
journalist as well and then I started to get more engaged
in these sorts of issues and thought there must be
a way to integrate this. But at that point I had
wonderful research to look at. So let’s go maybe through some of that research and see what you can do. So the first piece I wanna
look at is the 10,000 PhDs. And if you are a PhD student
at any level of study, you can use the dashboard
that the graduate school has put together to find places and people to connect and network with. So to demonstrate, you’ll be
able to see this in the slides, is you can go to the dashboard,
you can find your faculty, the closest graduating cohort,
your actual department. So I’m just using myself,
I’m using the last cohort of political science PhD
graduates and where they are. And then you can go and
find where they end up. Who are their primary employers? Then you can match that up with LinkedIn. And you can find people at
each company who are PhD graduates from your department and set up informational interviews with
them if you’re interested. So just doing that there are a number of places I would have
never thought of, right? Like at the end, Fox Pop Labs. So that’s data analytics and journalism. There’s the Scottish, if I can, oh I have it right here, don’t I? You guys can’t see it but
there is the Integral of Mental Consultations
on Asylum, there is a, I’m trying to find, accounts
commission in Scotland. I mean, I just want to talk to somebody who ended up with a PhD
working for that company. And so you can find
yourself in the literature and you can kinda work
backwards to see who you might be able to talk to
and what some of the companies are that are using current
U of T PhD graduates. The other thing that you can
do is, along with Daniel’s work and the 10,000 PhD there
are other PhD studies. There’s actually one
that came out from the US just in the last couple of days and a very good one is the HECQO, Ontario’s PhD Graduates From 2009: Where Are They Now? There’s a table in that study
that actually identifies what the most likely
destination of PhD graduates are who are teaching. So if you have a PhD from Wilfred Laurier you
are most likely to end up working at Laurentian or
Concordia in different fields. You can kind of see what your
potential pathway will be. As you can see when I did
this exercise the number one employer was the University
of Toronto, which made me realize maybe I should
investigate that possibility. (audience laughs) And that worked out fantastically well. The other thing I wanted
to- I really want to stress, and everybody here touched on this, is don’t lose touch
with the world of work. And I do think of academic work as work, but don’t lose touch with
employers outside of academia. Don’t lose touch with nonprofit,
community organizations. What this is showing you is
that things change quickly in the private sector, the
demand for PhD graduates has been growing over time,
particularly in some fields. So the blue graph is PhDs in physical sciences
graduating in 2002. So this is custom data that
I did for my job, in fact. And I’m kind of repurposing
it, using the 10,000 PhD database, so thank you
for making our job easier. And what you see there on the orange graph next to the blue graph is
telling you the percentage of people of those grads who
are not in the private sector. Next to that the gray is
social sciences and the yellow is percent share of social science PhDs who are in the private sector. So looking across what we see
is that the private sector is increasingly, is a destination
for physical science PhDs. That speaks to what we all know. Google, Facebook, Tech, all
of those companies are bidding up salaries, they’re really
keenly interested in PhD graduates from aerospace, from
engineering, from chemistry. Is chemistry physical sciences? It’s not?- It is, okay good, social sciences here. So just keep on top of what
happening in the private sector and do information interviews
because there are lots of opportunities and those
opportunities are growing. The other thing I would say,
and again I was very lucky in that this was just
my life, Alt AC is not a plan B, as the panel has talked about. It is an opportunity, the
opportunity to have a PhD, to study for a PhD, to have
a job that uses those skills but perhaps is not in academia, is a way to engage in the world, it’s
a way to be in the world. And it gives you a chance to
connect with the community and to do research that
speaks to the community and that serves the community’s needs. So I have here a quote
from a fantastic initiative at UBC, the Public Scholars Initiative, that has set as its mandate
to allow PhD students to present research in different
formats and to do research that is engaged with
community needs from day one. You don’t need to be in this
program to have those same goals and to have a conversation
with an advisor, to educate an advisor if the advisor is
not aware of these options about how community research
can inform your work. If that’s what you wanna
do then that dialogue, you can bring that dialogue
into the institution. It’s also, as I found
throughout my transition on my own informational
interviews, really good preparation for the discussion you’re
gonna have with employers. And if there’s one thing I
learned from those discussions is employers, some employers,
if there’s, you know, a meeting of interests, so
my PhD is about immigration, if I’m talking to an immigration group, they may be interested in
your research, but most of the time they’re not
interested in your research. What they’re interested in,
they’re not even interested in your puzzles, they’re not
even interested in how you came up with the questions
or what you did to get there. And we should talk about
employers and sort of what we can do to change
some of those things. What they’re interested in is solutions. So your job is to take
all the ways they’ve been taught to think and to
present those solutions and to present all the complex variables that go into coming up
with those solutions. And it’s an education to do those types, to do a job interview
outside of academia, in fact, and I recommend it just
in terms of staying on top of things and
what’s expected out there. And this basically just
summarizes what I’ve said. But I started to think of it as, I didn’t have that many
sort of interviews, like job interviews, but I
had lots of informational interviews where I learned
some of these things. And I started to think
of my own ability or gaps in my ability to be able
to present solutions as service to the profession,
to the profession of PhDs. That the more than PhDs
can explain what it is, PhD graduates can explain
what it is that we do, how we do it, and then continue
to do that in our positions, whatever roles we do every
day, I think over time it will change the perception
of employers, perhaps, as PhDs sometimes being overly
educated and really come to appreciate and to increase
the proportion of PhDs in the private sector
and in the community. So yeah, demonstrate what you can do. It’s really wonderful to be
able to use it in a position and I think all of you can
sort of follow, integrate and follow that kind of
different path if you choose to. Thank you. – Excellent, so the
first thing that I wanted to do before we get to fully open Q&A is just ask any of the
panelists if they have a comment on one of
the other presentations that they just heard, a
question for one of the other panelists, wanted to start there first while people figure out
what they want to ask. There’s already some
good questions coming in from the webcast and
I’m sure there’s gonna be lots of good questions in the room. But I just wanted to start
with the panelists first if you had questions or
comments for each other. Yeah? – One of the things that I
wanted to speak about briefly, because I see it often in my workplace, is the idea of the
informational interview. There may be people in the
audience that have never participated in one or are not
even familiar with the term. What we recommend when you
are learning about career opportunities is through
the various wonderful ways that have been identified,
finding someone whose career excites you or is in a field
that you’re curious about. And quite often we reference
LinkedIn because you can see if there are alumni of similar programs or institutions where you’ve
been, and simply reaching out. And not asking them for a job,
but that’s the informational piece, letting them know you
want to hear their story, you wanna learn more about
the type of work that they do. And you’re wondering if they
could spare 15 or 20 minutes to talk to you as a doctoral
student about how you may enter a similar career
and simply to learn more. So if you’re unfamiliar
with what an informational interview is that is how
you might start that process to do that and to be very clear
you’re not asking for a job. It’s not a job interview, it’s to learn, as was discussed, about
what the opportunities are. And sometimes that networking
piece, like I mentioned, will become richer because
you’re making connections in industry, but the wealth of
knowledge, what you can gain as a graduate student trying
to figure out how to best approach your career search,
I don’t know many things that are quite as valuable
as informational interviews with people who work in fields
that you’re interested in. So I wanted to add that if
anyone in the room is unfamiliar. – That is an excellent addition and you’re saving me like half my
job so this is great. – Can I add to that? – Yeah, go ahead. – So I would say a good chunk
of my time now is spent, so, in addition to working
for the conference board I continue to teach at
the University of Ottawa. Sort of a part-timer just ’cause I like teaching and I’ve taught in other places. Anyway so I’ve developed
a pretty large network of former students who come
to me to ask for advice about these sorts of
things and I generally say, “Yeah, you should do
informational interviews.” I don’t always use that
terminology, right? I like to approach things
sort of more informally. I ask them, you know, what
are you interested in? And I’ll listen to them for
a couple or three minutes. So first of all just
think about who you know and who you can talk to about
what you’re interested in. And if those people are like
me they will start thinking about who they can put you
in touch with to, you know, have these informational
interviews, to open these doors. I have never had somebody who
I’ve contacted on behalf of a student say no, that they don’t
want to meet with somebody. People who hire people
and people who work with other people are constantly
looking for smart people. So it might sound,
informational interview might sound very formal and intimidating. It’s not. And networking might sound
kind of icky and I don’t like the word but really just,
you know, talking to people who might know something you
might be interested in and who just wanna have a good
chat with somebody who’s smart. And you’re all smart, right,
so that’s not an issue. – All right, we’ll start with
the questions and there’s already some online so we
might go to those first while people are queuing
up, although there’s quite a few people in the queue already. Just want to remind you of the
logistics of how that works. So if you want to ask a
question press the button in front of you, you will
be added to the queue and then I will read out
the number of the microphone so that you know who you are
and that you’re now speaking. We are webcasting and recording,
so if you’re uncomfortable with your voice being captured
in the recording then I would recommend that you use one
of the alternative ways of sending a question to us so
that I can read your question for you instead of having
your voice in our recording. If you’re watching the webcast,
some people have already started typing that in so I’ll
poll some of those questions. And a gentle reminder for people
who then get the microphone to ask a question, a good question starts with a question and is very concise. If the panel needs any clarification, we will ask you for clarification of what you’re asking
and why we wanna do that. So anything that starts
with a long preamble I’m going to the next
button, the next microphone. Anyone who disguises a
mini-presentation as a question I’m going to the next microphone
so just a forewarning, questions are short, they
get right to the point of what the question is, and
then the panel will address it. We’ll keep your microphone open in case there’s clarification required. Our speakers have all
agreed that we want this to be informal so we
would prefer that we use just our first names, you
don’t need to call us doctor or anything like that, so first names. Dan, Reinhart, and I
all use he-him pronouns, just in case you’ve forgotten a name or how to pronounce it so
you can call us he and him, and Simona and Monica both
use she or her pronouns so you can also use that
if you would prefer. So I’m gonna start, as I promised, with one of the questions
that came in online. And so this comes in from Bula Watif. “I’ve heard that international
PhD graduates have a harder “time securing a job than
Canadian graduates, is this true?” And I know, Dan, you had some
data on this, and Reinhart, you might as well, so either
one of you wanna jump in? – Okay, so, I mean there’s,
distinguish between a couple of categories,
right, so there are foreign born students who earn their
PhDs in Canada and foreign born students who earn their
PhDs outside of Canada. Those who earn their PhDs
inside Canada in general don’t have much more
difficulty than Canadian born PhD students in finding jobs,
whatever it is that they want. Foreign born students who
earn their degrees outside of the country seem to have
higher unemployment rates, lower employment rate, and
some more difficulties. And I think that, I mean
I think that’s largely due to the usual challenges
that face any immigrant, which is sometimes there
are language issues, sometimes there’s a lack
of a network to tap into, lack of understanding of what
opportunities are out there. But I think if you’re a foreign
born student at a Canadian institution then if you
work with the services that that institution has you should generally be, I think, generally be okay. – Yeah, so we looked at,
of course, graduates from the University of Toronto,
many of whom were international students and we define those
as students who kept their original citizenship
upon date of graduation. Many students become permanent residents, either during their
program or maybe they came as children, so those
are a different pool. So again the data was parsed
in terms of the Canadian citizens, permanent
residents, international. The international really
varied on country of origin. So most Americans who did their
PhD at University of Toronto went back to the United
States and mostly as tenure track professors and
mostly in the humanities. I ask, we didn’t interview
anybody for this project but I was curious about
that so I did interview a few humanities PhD
students here at U of T and what they said, the
best quotation I had was, “Canada is the promised land
for humanities research.” That’s why they came to
Canada, in particular U of T. So again the narrative
there is if you want to get a job as a tenure track professor in humanities in the
United States, put U of T as one of your possible
PhD schools to consider. And again it varied with nationality. Again, most Japanese international
students went back to Japan and they actually went
back as post-doctoral fellows. That’s because Japan, in
the sciences in particular, has a pyramid structure so if you want to enter the pyramid
you enter at the bottom as a post-doctor fellow and work yourself into a research scientist
or a tenure track position. But it did vary with country of origin. – [Dan] Okay, let’s go. – Can I add, real quick? – [Dan] Yeah, go for it, Simona. – Is that, I mean, in the 10,000 PhD study what’s interesting about
the international student question is that PhDs from U
of T, international students, half of them if I’m not mistaken, end up actually staying
here which is higher than the numbers overall
of international students who graduate from other universities. And so it does kind of
depend, the outcomes depend a little bit on where you graduate from but also, I guess, who
comes on the selection bias. So yeah there’s many, many, depending on. – I’d like to comment on that. So if you take two other
nationally, so, students who came from China about one third
stayed in Canada, one third go to the US and one third go
back to China for employment. If you’re from India,
most people from India, the majority of PhD graduates from U of T who are from India
originally stay in Canada. – Excellent, okay, we’ll take
a question from the room. And the first microphone
that comes up is C3. If I’m reading my chart properly. – [Woman] You should try and fix it, since it worked. – Okay, so I will press, take
next, and then you should be talking if you have a
question but if it’s just broken. – [Woman] It’s just broken. – Okay, we’ll go on to the next one which should be D10, and that
should be over here, okay? I love technology when it works. Now we have D7, which should be– – [Kim] That’s me, but I
didn’t press the button. (audience laughing) – Yeah, just ask a question, Kim. – [Kim] Are these all
the tests from earlier? – They might be all the
tests from earlier, okay. Then I will go on to the next one which should be right here, C8, testing? – [Man] I didn’t press the
button but I do have a question. (everyone applauds) – Great, go for it. (laughs) – [Man] So Simona, you mentioned that employers during the interview process don’t care about the science you did. They’d rather care about the solutions. And I find that really interesting. So do they care about other
things that happen in your PhD? Like, say, how long it took
you to finish or the papers you publish, or any other obscure
facts that we’re not aware of? – I think it’s up to you. I think one of the reasons
I would say that it’s good to have informational interviews,
and thank you to Monica for explaining what that
concept means, but even going beyond that, even just applying for jobs just to get an interview
is because you learn how to insert those
facts, how to tell a story about those facts that is
interesting to employers. So you can take a question
that they may have, how are you going to do
this job, for example, which is a question I was
asked, and you can create a narrative about a
challenge that you faced in trying to pass peer
review to publish a paper. How many revisions you
had to do to get a journal article published, how
you went about doing that. Keep all your stories succinct,
I can’t stress that enough. I think, you know, as asking a question, and just asking the
question, I think academia sometimes trains people to talk a lot and to hold your ground and defend. And an interview is not
the right place for that. So I do think there’s also
an education component that’s required with employers and
it’s up to PhDs to start that, I look at it more as a
dialogue, to have that dialogue. But yeah, your experience
should be a story that is relevant to the position
that you’re applying for. – Can I add to that, yeah? So earlier I was telling
you a story about a student I met with recently that
is an expert in black holes and wants to work in industry,
and the conversation, it was very hard for
us to get to the point where she agreed with me that
the science is important. And just as was mentioned
we spend so much time as doctoral students
focused on those results. But that black hole, she
was not gonna find a job about black holes, right,
but all of the skills that she needed to utilize and
master to get to that point. Project management, she
had grants, that’s dealing with numbers, so numeracy is
important, project management, teamwork, communication, those
are the things that helped her find that new
behavior of a black hole. I don’t know anything about her research, it was far above my head,
but I said they wanna know because they’ve got these problems. So sometimes you have to
paint the picture for them. I know you don’t, you’re
not hiring for black holes, but the tools I used and the
skills I developed to find that solution, I can apply now to the problems that you have. And you say to that employer,
I’ve done the research. Because of course you’re
a good career searcher, you’re gonna do your research in advance. And you say, I know you’re
struggling with this in your area or I know you just got
assigned a new project with this corporation, and
these are how, these skills are how I’m going to help
you find those solutions. ‘Cause I found solutions
through my doctoral work and my education, so it’s not
that they don’t care about the science itself, it’s that
the process of how you’ve achieved what you’ve achieved,
the process is sometimes far more important to them than the findings because the findings won’t
solve their problems usually. It’s the process you used
that brings you in their mind to being an excellent team
member they wanna bring on board. – Can I add to that? Yeah, so I entirely agree with this. I would say probably if
you’re an astrophysicist and you’re applying for a job
at the Canadian Space Agency you’re probably gonna wanna talk about your research and they’re
probably gonna wanna, however. – Hey, my doctoral research is in careers and I’m a career advisor so
sometimes we find that link. – That’s not mine, so I
usually, when I’ve been on the other side of a hiring
table I’m dealing with people who are in the humanities
and social sciences. And I’m always looking
for really two things. I’m looking to see if I can
communicate with this person. That is, if we can work
well together on problems, and I wanna see how these
people can think not necessarily about things that they’ve
thought of for the past six or seven years but how they
can think about new problems. So I actually ask terrifying
questions in interviews. I will do things like, you know,
say you’re a social science major who spent a lot of
time trying to understand ethnic conflict in Sri
Lanka, I will drop a chart in front of you about
Canadians’ sugar consumption. And just say, tell me
what you think about this. You know, is there
something interesting here? Something to unpack, I mean,
terrifying question, right? I just wanna see how you can
think about something that’s new and whether we can have
a conversation about this. The other terrifying question I ask is to have people tell me
what they last read. You know, what was the
last book that you read? Not because I’m really
interested in what book you read but I wanna see that you
can have a conversation with somebody in a kind
of spontaneous way. Like not a prepared way
but in a spontaneous way that we can just talk about
issues in the kind of way that we will when we’re actually
doing some work on the job. – That sounds like a dream
interview compared to others. – Yes it’s great, so just a
couple pieces of advice on that. So you all have an academic
CV but you’ll have many resumes and it’s very
important to construct resumes for- and a cover letter, for
that particular position. Often, we have a course in
biochemistry on professional development where we help
our students write resumes. They go out and find a
dream job that they think they might want, not to
say an advertised one. They’ll reach out, do a cold
call, information interview, find out about if it’s really something that they’re interested
in, then they’ll write up a cover letter and a resume
for that particular position. And then we help them edit it, et cetera. So it’s really a compelling
kind of narrative, and again storytelling is a really,
really important thing to do. And we challenge the students,
maybe you do it in this class is, you know, can you prepare
a cover letter and a resume for your dream job and
have that done by nine a.m. tomorrow morning, that’s
when the deadline is. How many could do that in this room? Oh a few, good. I couldn’t. (laughs) I couldn’t even do it now so that’s great. Writing those stories takes a lot, and there’s many different
stories you have to do. And again I think, I’ve
done a number of interviews on the academic side which
are kind of more formulaic ’cause we have to do it that
way, we don’t have as much fun as Dan does at his
interview, but some of the ones that are really interesting
I’ve heard about, especially in the humanities,
you know, questions are like, what did you do to prepare
for this interview? So surprisingly some people
hadn’t even gone to the website of the company or the ministry
that they’re working for. Some people have, and they
said I’ve read your mission statement and I’ve got a couple
of ideas I’d like to share with you about how I think I can help you achieve your
mission or your goals. And they say, fantastic, tell me. And away the conversation goes. The other piece of advice
is that there’s lots of experiences you’ve had
throughout your career. Don’t just focus on this
last little bit of the PhD where you’ve worked really hard to get papers out and everything. There’s experiences can go
back to your high school days where you might’ve volunteered
for an organization and dealt with say the public,
or had challenges there. There’s one again, I
think it was in Ottawa where we had a humanities
thing where they were looking for people working in
the Canadian War museums. They were looking for
people who had experience in Western European history
but one of the people who applied for the job
had worked as a guide in Louisbourg, I think, in
Cape Breton, when they were, and he was wondering whether
he should put that experience down on his resume ’cause
that was like 15 years ago. Is that really relevant? Decided to do so, and then
the person doing the interview noticed this on the resume and said, oh, I see you were a docent at
Louisbourg in Cape Breton, tell me about that experience in dealing with the public, what the
challenges were and that. So had a whole conversation
that was revolved around that experience ’cause it
was about engaging with the public ’cause that was
what the job was about. So again look at your whole
record and try to draw on those stories and those experiences that you think are
relevant to that position. – Excellent, so we had a
question, it was actually a comment online but
I’m gonna be courteous and turn it into a question
and it picks up on some of the things that came
up a little bit earlier. And it was a question
about how to balance time through the PhD, to do the
PhD, which is hard enough on its own, but then also to
look for work and a couple of people here who have
had kids through their PhD, had been working either full
or part time through their PhD. So I think we have some
experts in time management here who can speak about how to
do some of that balancing. – So I’m gonna talk about mistakes I made. Because I think it’s
important to acknowledge the mistakes and the
difficulties that people have. And I won’t take as long
to talk about the mistakes as I will as it took me to get a PhD because of the time
management problems I had. So I think that’s the first
thing is to acknowledge to yourself that what
you’re doing is very hard. If you do have a family,
if you do have a job, if you’re also doing a
PhD and to make the most of the time when you are, in
fact, fully dedicated to study. Because there will be
times when you do that. Even though you’re overwhelmed, take your holidays to work on you PhD. Not on holidays, mistake
number one, didn’t do that. And I think that’s why
going back the biggest issue is do, be efficient
when you’re working. When you’re working on your degree, when you’re working on your
research really focus on that. Even if it’s two hours,
don’t allow interruptions. Find a space. Robart’s has really great rooms now where you can do that, work every day. Some of these are really
sort of logical things to do. The other thing I would
say, and this is where the integration part comes in
and the alt-AC is not plan B, is try to think about
your life as a whole. So the PhD is not something
that you do on the side, it’s not, oh, that thing
that I have to finish. I said that, too, it’s part of your life. So how can you make sure
that the ways that you’re involved in the community
in some way inform your PhD? Are there groups on campus
that are family groups if you have a family where
you can make connections that will help you in your research, where you can make
connections for your career? Really think of, kind of map it out and think of it as a whole. I started to do that later on and it was, everything felt easier because
the schedule is holistic. So that’s what I would say. – Jonathan is looking
at me, possibly because I’ve had two babies during my doctorate. So there’s a joke with
my friends, I am the most productive person in my
cohort, I’ve built two babies. It has delayed me, of course. One of the things that I
say to people constantly is the University of
Toronto is far more friendly to students who are parents
than most other universities. So if that is something
that you’re experiencing or you’re considering, I encourage you to connect with the family care office. Some of you may be aware
there’s an area in Robart’s where you can bring your
children and you can study in this room and there’s
playthings for your youngsters so that if you can’t find
childcare you’re not left without being able to work
for that piece of time. I would love to talk about
my children but I’ll tell you about how I managed to get
these things done instead. The key for me is
strategizing and planning. And what I can comment
is that I have so many, everyone has all these three-ring binders and core notebooks and I keep
stumbling across old plans. So I would map out a plan
and that plan will shift. But what keeps me on target
is I try and plan out three, four semesters
ahead what my goals are, where I need to be, what I plan
to do, and being open about those plans with the people
who are in my support network. When I speak about the
networks of PhD students a key piece is, who are your supports? Whether they’re friends or
family, I have a very supportive advisor, I have a faculty
advisor and I have my supervisor. Both of them knew before they
took on that role with me that I was also focused on
building a family at this time. But that openness to
discuss what your needs are and making them clear but
accepting that it will shift. So not one of those written plans has probably come to
fruition as I planned on that day I wrote it out, but
it helps keep me focused. And then I think, as
well, the goal is always there to still have
some fun where you can. Because one of my colleagues
in my department is studying the mental health of doctoral students. There are statistics that show there’s a higher incident
of depression and other challenges with regards to
wellness for doctoral students. And one of the things
that happens quite often is we don’t take the time out
to take care of ourselves. I may not do that so well
but I don’t think I would be doing anyone a service
if I avoided to mention it. Do focus on planning,
strategizing, career based strategizing early on as
well as just finishing the requirements of the
program and then trying to do something every once in a
while that’s somehow for you. So that would probably be
the best advice that I have. And if you want, you
know, have two children during your doctorate
and see how that goes. ‘Cause it’s been a bit of a challenge and my time is not my own,
but some statistics show that parents, some stats,
depending on the discipline show parents have a harder time graduating and others show that
we are quite successful because we pay for daycare
so we’re really motivated to use that paid time to get
the work done we planned to. – I also called on you
because you’re working as a session instructor
and a grad career advisor. So you’ve got, like, multiple
jobs that you’re managing and the PhD, and the
family, and so there’s a lot that you’re doing and I
think it’s a good example of what you’re talking about,
how to manage that, yeah. – [Monica] Thank you for honoring that. – Yeah. Let’s try this microphone game again. So E8. No, okay. Now we are on, what is it saying, F3. No, okay. – [Man] Who has a question? (laughs) – Yeah, that would be
great, we’re at J7 now, J7, it’s gonna be close to you, Nana. We’re at J7, J7 at the back
there, question, no, okay. This is really fast, C4, yes? – [Monica] I feel like
we’re playing Bingo. – [Woman] Simona, I
have a question for you. What are some of the
ways of getting involved and sharing your work as a PhD or, yes, as a PhD student and not
specific to your work portfolio? – Do you mean outside of your department or outside of conference? – [Woman] To the public, I guess. – To the public, yeah, so I
think that’s a great question. It’s something I’m working on right now, is around how do you
universities in general engage with the public and
what are new ways to do that. I think, I’m gonna say, so Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and community groups,
particularly around city, city building exercises help because there’s a lot going on right now. How can you insert yourself
into that conversation? The one thing I would caution against is, and I struggle with this myself, is have something to
say that’s of substance. I think a lot of the time people feel like if I’m on social media
and I make a comment then the presence is there and I am trying to take some time away from commenting in that
manner and kind of create more research driven work,
create more thoughtful posts, putting something of substance
out there seems to me to pay much better dividends in terms
of real network building. And if it is about your
research, maybe there’s a current event that is happening, if
you’re working on, for example, political economy and we
have GM pulling out of Oshua. There are ways to kind of
craft and to respond quickly. Also sometimes personal experience. The MSM, mainstream media, is interested in personal experiences of graduate students, of postdocs in the sciences. How do you navigate that landscape? Whether it’s around profession or career if you just sort of want
to be involved in that. And don’t underestimate
not participating as well. Actually participating in
physical space with other people rather then putting it out,
that is also the public, the people that you talk
to in real life will, those conversations, I
think, sort of serve us well. – If I may, so there’s
a program on CBC radio called In The Trenches which
is completely about trainees, grad students and post
docs and their stories. So just Google CBC In The
Trenches, they’re looking for great stories but be very
good at preparing your pitch. Right, both written and, you
know, you got three minutes basically to make the case
with these people so do that. The other thing I’d advise
you, if you’ve got an exciting new finding that came
out and you’re published in a great journal, you know,
try their draft to press release for that, all the
publicity offices at all the universities want these stories
out there, the good stories. So again that takes a lot of effort. School of graduate studies actually has a course on science communication, it’s given by Ivan Sminyak, a
gold medal science reporter. That course is always, of
course, full, but if you contact Liam over there maybe
for next year, is it rolling? I think it’s rolling
in the new year, right? Always full but again if
you’re interested in science journalism or you need
more of those people then there’s opportunities
there to get your work out. If you create some materials
that have been published or you’ve been on the radio,
local mail article, whatever, that’s on your resume
if you want to become a science communicator that
puts you above the crowd. – Excellent, let’s play this
microphone Bingo game again. And we have E7, which is it Nana one, okay Nana. – You won the lottery, there
could be a prize at the door. – [Nana] I have a question for
Monica about your research. You said you had interviews
with career advisors, students, and grad studies administrators. I’m curious how come you
didn’t have interviews with faculty or with
people that are involved with graduate studies
curriculum development. – That is a wonderful question. It was considered. First I will say it was
a pilot study so I needed to narrow in before it
grew very, very large. And the goal of that study
was to find direction for where to move my dissertation,
what direction to take. But when reflecting on it
I specifically didn’t speak to advisors and faculty
members on the advice of some people, and I see
where they’re coming from. Those who would engage
would self select, right? And it would be the people
that would give me rich information about the
things they do right. Those advisors that
are a barrier would not self select to participate
in the conversation. So I was a little bit concerned
that that would not provide the picture I needed
because it was an optional participation, so an
advisor who is an impediment probably doesn’t realize they are and nor would they really talk about it. So that was a conscious decision to find out the institutional
response but the issue of those advisors who,
using someone else’s words, are impediments, is
something that wasn’t really a part of my goal for that project. And that project really
identified, having noticed that before I started, the results
and the stories that were told during that experience
really solidified that that was correct, that the advisors
can be a strong impediment. Yeah, so two reasons, the
size of the project and the concerns about self selection
and skewing the information. Thank you for your question. – Excellent, let’s go on to the next one. I know Simona has a
question she wants to ask and I need to clear the microphones before we can get them
to answer your question. So let’s go to H10. H10 should be over here, do
you have a question, yeah? – [Woman] So what I hear a lot is that some people say
that you should only do a PhD if you’re interesting
in pursuing academia. Given all of this data,
what do you say to that? (panelists laugh) – Well, I’ll be very quick. In my opinion it’s never been
a better time to have a PhD. ‘Cause the opportunities
that are available to PhDs is amazing. When I went through many years ago in Canada there was basically
two jobs you could get. As an academic, work at
a university, or working in a government research lab, that was it. There was no biotech, no pharma industry in Canada, now it’s amazing. So I think the opportunities
are enormous for PhDs. There’s never been a
better time to have a PhD. – So I was at this, I’ll be quick as well, I was at a discussion this afternoon that was looking at how
do we talk about the value of humanities and social
sciences education and let’s just take the
ROI completely out of it. I think it makes you
into a different person. I think it makes you
into a stronger person. The perseverance, I think
that Daniel talked about, you cannot underestimate how you rely on that in all areas of your life. And also the complex thinking. The way that PhDs see
many different variables. Sometimes too many, but I think, yeah, I think it’s a terrific degree to have to
and carry through with you. – So I struggle with this. I would not trade my PhD for anything. I had an extraordinary experience. I see so many people with PhDs
coming out of their programs quite bitter and with some quite negative attitudes about the value
of what they’ve done. I think it’s hard, actually,
to generalize about this. I think, you know, each
individual has to ask in the course of doing
a PhD whether or not it continues to make sense
to keep working on a PhD or whether it would be better
for your mental health or your career interests to actually
go and do something else. I mean I know that that’s not
the sort of PhD marketing line that we’re supposed to have,
but I think like with my political science colleagues,
Burdal and Malloy, I think the question should really be, what kind of life do you wanna have? And how does a PhD fit into
that, if at all, right? And you can ask that question even when you’re in the middle of your PhD. For a lot of people I
think, yeah, it makes sense. You do end up with
fantastic research skills and analytical skills. It will open doors in some places that wouldn’t otherwise be opened up. There are all these
great things, but again, it’s a long process,
it takes a lot of time, and the opportunity
cost can be quite high. So I really think there’s
no general answer to that. I think it really is an individual one. But one, also, that you
should have good conversations with other people in order
to reach that answer. With your advisor, with
people outside of academia. With your family, really just figure out what your values are and
whether or not that fits in. – Reinhart, we have question online that you might be best
positioned to answer. “From an employer perspective
in the life sciences “private sector, is it worth
hiring an entry level employee “with an academic background
but no experience in industry?” – Yeah, so again I think
if we’re talking about why industry hires PhDs, we talked about those attributes already. They’re actually looking for leaders. And a skill set that involves excellent communication skills, problem solving skills,
resiliency, all the kind of things you learn doing
your PhD, quite frankly, ’cause it’s not, doing a PhD
as Dan says, it’s not easy. And that’s what people recognize. I remember I was at
panel like this one time over at Massey College and
there was somebody there I think was from Patch
Engineering who hire, by the way, lots of PhDs in all
disciplines, and he said that, “We hire PhDs ’cause we
know two things about them. “They’re smart and they work hard.” – Excellent, let’s move on to J9. – [Man] Great, so I had a
question about the faculty impediment and the replication
model that you described. Are there and interventions
or processes that you know that have worked to try
and help change the culture faculty members, to help
them recognize the importance of quote unquote alternative
careers and such? – I got a shot at that
in my own department. So Nana Lee, who asked
the question previously, and I have a train the trainers
thing for faculty members. I was telling Dan earlier, it was actually amazing to me
who actually, which faculty members showed up at
some of these workshops. They’re what I thought
were the old school ones. I call it the apprenticeship
model, like I’m a successful scientist, academic, just
do what I did and you’ll be successful too, it’s
pretty easy, really. It’s a role model kind of thing, right? But don’t, very don’t
stray, just take my advice. So I think it’s a challenge. You can talk about old dog,
new tricks, hard to do. So at the university
there’s a lot of effort now going into younger faculty
who have been recruited. I must say that they have
a totally different view of what their role is in
term of mentoring the next generation and the mentors that I, my mentors were excellent,
they were superb, no criticism about them but the new
generation are more mindful of work-life integration,
those kind of issues. When I went through you’re
expected to work basically 12 hours a day, seven days
a week in a lab and produce papers so your supervisor
can get their grant renewed. That still exists in the
minds of a lot of supervisors and I think you probably
have to do that, actually. But you have to find
space, as we talked about, for other things, including
I would say, yourself. – I can add a little bit to that. What came to mind for me
right away is across campuses there are champions
championing this issue. And my recommendation
would be to connect with the career advisors that
are part of your community and ask them if they have
suggestions for people. You may not be able to change one advisor but that doesn’t mean that there’s not someone out there that you could work with that you could glean a lot
of important support from. The second piece to that,
I sound like I’m putting a plug in for you but attend
the events that are being hosted such as tonight
around these issues. Because the people that
are taking their time to come and talk to students about this are the sorts of people
that you may want to add to your network of supports
and connections on campus, to present questions to
them as you move forward. We donate our time to this
because we’re very, very, it’s very, very important to us and we understand there’s a need there. So every campus, and I hope
almost every department will have champions for
careers beyond simply looking at academic
careers, and so engage. And if you don’t know where
to start I would suggest speaking to one of your career
advisors in the center here, the career exploration education center. – Can I just have one? – [Jonathan] Yeah. – Yeah I mean, there are some
people who will not change. Right, but if, sort of
in a departmental context or disciplinary context,
if you recognize that not everyone or even a few people will change another alternative is
to introduce someone new. Like there may be existing champions but you can also introduce
someone new into the mix who has a different view on things. I’m at the Munk School and
people will ask me, you know, what are you up to,
expecting an answer like, oh, I’m working on this academic
paper, I’m publishing here. No, my answer to that is, this
week I’m working on a podcast I have a meeting with
a guy from Element AI to figure out what cool
stuff they’re doing. And sometimes, you know, the
students’ eyes sort of light, what is this unconventional
thing that a PhD can do? So the faculty, recognize
that some of them aren’t gonna change, they’re
gonna do what they do. But having someone like me
around who doesn’t want to go down that path provides that
other perspective to students. So just introducing something
new into the mix can help. – I have one short story that I’ll share, and Monica sort of set
this up for me perfectly. So when I started as the career educator here at the St. George Career Center, which is what it was called at the time, I went to some meetings with
the school of graduate studies and the deans and the vice deans are like, “We need to talk about academic
jobs and non academic jobs.” And I said, ‘Wow, maybe we can talk about “this using slightly different language.” What we’ve done and what I
did when I joined the career center was change the language around what we call their programming
for grad students. No longer academic work search,
nonacademic work search. We call it flexible futures for graduate students and post docs. We’ll talk about academic
work if that’s what they wanna talk about, we’ll talk about nonacademic work if that
what you wanna talk about. If you wanna call it alternative academic, post academic, whatever you wanna call it, whatever that job title is,
we want to help you with it. And a couple years later
I was in another meeting at the school of graduate
study and they were like, “We need to talk about flexible careers “that people can pursue.” They were using my language
and I was like, success. We’ve made a change at the
high level at the university in terms of vice provosts
and deans talking about careers more
flexibly, not being locked into that academic, nonacademic search. Okay, next in our Bingo is J10. – [Man] Yeah this is sort of a follow up on Daniel’s comment about being able to speak spontaneously at interviews. So this may be a bit of a
weird question but for some of us who may not be so great
at that, how might we find opportunities to practice
those kinds of skills? – Yeah, so one thing you probably notice is that I talk a lot, I talk quickly. And my brain moves
faster than my mouth can. And I trip over words. I was an entirely different
person 20 years ago. I didn’t open my mouth
in my entire first year of PhD studies, I was
a really quiet person. And I recognized that
I had to get over that, whether I was gonna
have an academic career or some career, you know,
outside of academia. I knew that I was going
to have to get over that. So what I did, as uncomfortable
as it was, I put myself in positions that I knew would
be terribly uncomfortable for me but would break
me out of that silence. So I would sort of nervously,
sweatingly, you know, get up in front of a class and give a presentation that nobody
else wanted to give. You’d be given these options, do you want to write a paper or do you
want to give a presentation? I’ll do the presentation. Awful experiences, right, like terrible. And yet just simply practicing this stuff allowed me to become much more
comfortable hearing my voice (laughing) in a room and realizing
actually that on the one hand in your head you think that
you’re sort of the center of attention all the time. People only hear about
half of what you say maybe. 10 minutes later they sort of vaguely have a sense of how the interaction went. – What was that again? – Exactly, right, right. And once you sort of learn these things, I mean at least when I sort of learned these things it calmed me down, right? I said, okay, I’m just
having conversations with people now, you know, this one. Maybe I’m gonna screw up
an interview, so what? It’ll be a learning
experience and the next one will be better but
really the ultimate thing is just continuing to do
those uncomfortable things until they became habitual
and normal and comfortable. Right, again, this would have
terrified me 20 years ago. I would not have done this, right? I’m a totally different person, yeah. – I’m gonna go online ’cause
there’s a very broad consensus that Monica is awesome and
there’s a couple questions for you because you are awesome. So one of the questions– – [Monica] Oh, I have to be more awesome. – Yup. One of the questions was, “Can you talk more about the return “on investments in your research?” And that was something that
a couple of the panelists talked about was ROI which
is return on investment, for anyone that’s not familiar
with that quick lingo. And then the other
question for you, Monica, was around individual
barriers to engagement. So suggestions for engaging
people who aren’t engaging. – I’m about to get much less awesome, because those are challenging questions. With regards to the return on investment I am not an economist. So the work that I did,
what I explored was actually looking at what we understand about the potential income of people with a bachelors degree and then a masters degree
and then a doctorate. And one fact that I will bring forward, and I think I read about it in one of your pieces as well, is what’s
called the MBA effect. So you will find data that,
depending on what you’re looking at that may state
there’s a higher return on your monetary investment
in a master’s degree than a PhD and when you
hear that or when someone presents it to you as an
argument about why you’re wasting your time, one thing to
consider is when you, much of the data that includes
that approach includes MBAs. And people who are doing their masters in business administration are quite often already making a very good salary. When you pull out the MBAs
from that data, it does show that a doctoral graduate, over
the course of their career, will have a higher salary overall. So it’s not gonna surprise
anyone, you see an increase from a bachelors degree
to a masters degree, depending on the field
that you’re in salary potential raises and then
again for doctoral students. So that was one of the
pieces where I had that data and I said well why is
everyone saying they’re not getting jobs because
statistics Canada tells me they’re making more
money over their careers and their starting salaries
are often quite higher. So that’s a piece of the story and I think my colleagues actually are
probably in a better position to talk about the economic side. Do you have anything to add? – Very quickly, when we
looked at the income data we didn’t report much of it
in the report that we did but when we looked at the income data, it does depend on discipline. And it does depend on how
long you take to do your PhD. I mean for a number of
years you’re earnings are lower and you
essentially, not lost because you’re making an investment
but you’re not earning for those years while
you’re getting your PhD. So over the course of a
lifetime on average across disciplines the PhD has a good payoff. But there is variation
within those disciplines. So again it’s, but it’s not
just a monetary question right, it’s whether or
not that fits part of the kind of life that you wanna lead. And some people are
willing to pay that cost, if there is one in a certain discipline. – Absolutely, and the second
question was about the barriers so is it that they’re
wondering how to overcome them? – [Jonathan] “Can you please
talk a little bit about “the individual barriers to engagement “and do you have any suggests
for how to engage folks “who are consciously not engaging?” – That is the magical question
I think for Jonathan and I in the roles we have as
career educators and advisors. One of the things that
I can say quite simply is often the schedules
of doctoral students are very different from
the standard university schedule of 8:30 to 4:30, so I think one, if I was gonna quickly give
a couple tips for people that are having trouble getting
people to engage, I would say rethink the timeframes
and the modes that you use. So people are often surprised I do a lot of career advising via Skype. I had a student yesterday, I
said, “I’d like to hear more “about your story and
how things turn out,” and she said, “Well I’m off
campus starting in January.” And I said, “Well then we’ll
do a Skype appointment.” And so she was shocked
that she could still get services from the university that way. So trying to find ways,
it’s an overused phrase in student affairs but
meet the students literally where they are, so provide web links. We’re webcasting this event tonight. Find opportunities that you’re
not excluding those students, for example, who are parents. My children are both toddlers. I am not available from five to eight. That’s just the facts
of bedtime, et cetera, and so having opportunities
that work around that, the common timelines, we’re
very focused as universities on the 8:30 to 4:30 and
our doctoral students, for one piece, will have varying schedules and a lot of other responsibilities. Second to that is the
presumption that they’re all on campus. If you are in a doctoral program that requires lab work, if you’re TA’ing, if you’re getting a paycheck associated with showing up to campus, you’ll be here. But many students when I
was doing my archeology masters work at UBC, I
had no physical reason after my coursework to be on site. Everything could be done online from the comforts of my bedroom. A lot of our doctoral students
are not coming to campus. So if all we’re offering is on campus, what I call adhoc one time programming and not finding ways to
integrate it into their life and integrate it into that
kind of overall wellness picture, many students
simply will not attend. – Excellent, okay, we have
one more question online that I want to get to, but Simona you said you had a question for the audience. – I wanna hear their– – Oh you wanna keep hearing, I keep wanting to keep
hearing their stuff too, so we’ll do one last question from the audience
then I’ll go to the last question online and then we’ll
get to our closing remarks. So the winner of our last
question lottery is G4. – [Man] Thanks for this presentation. This has been very helpful. I’m just wondering for a PhD student, are there opportunities
for them to gain exposure in the training in the industry, for example, and are there such internships and what are the best ways to get those opportunities? – So one thing to look
at definitely is my tax. So they have programs
that you can engage in while you’re actually a PhD student. Usually you have to
find an industry partner and they contribute something,
some financial stuff, but I think I’d look into that. They are awesome, they’ve
been extremely well funded by the federal government
and increasing their funding ’cause I think the federal
government realized, let’s call it experiential
learning is really important. We talked about that earlier
about applying for a job, do you have any experience in industry, well not really but
you can actually get it while you’re a PhD student. You have to think about
the timing in your program, because of course, you know, there’s always deadlines and pressures on. My advice is if you’re a PhD, simply you just transfer the PhD or you’ve done your
comprehensives and your lit review and got your proposal approved. That’s not a bad time to
take a few months off. The other one is, as you know, at U of T you have to wait
eight weeks from the time you submit your thesis
to attend, why not take, you know, three months and do
an internship at that time? And then you only need a few days I’m sure to prepare for your defense,
if you need more than that you’re not ready for your
defense, quite frankly. My text is one piece of advice but there’s many other opportunities out there. Again, you know how to do research. Just look at different agencies and things like that. There’s another group that I
like to highlight and it’s all, was created and driven by students. It’s the Canadian Science
Policy Conference, so it’s CSPC, it’s in Ottawa every year. Just had their 10th conference. So they’re interested in science policy, making working in a ministry whatever and they actually have
through my tax again internships for policy,
you work in a ministry on a project and then
you build experience. But more importantly
you build your network, professional network. So look at CSPC. They’re looking for volunteers every year. Next year the meeting is
in Ottawa in November. The year after I think
it’s gonna be in Montreal. But that’s an awesome
networking opportunity. You wanna meet our minister of science, the chief science advisor,
and I can give you stories where people have volunteered there, built connections, now have great jobs in a sector they never thought
they could actually access. – This is super convenient
cause this was also the last question I was gonna go to online was how do I get
internships, so in addition to what Reinhart talked
about now is my opportunity to put in plugs for
some of the stuff we do at career exploration and education, which are my favorite things we do, even though I don’t actually do them. And it’s our career
exploration programming. So we have three ways
that you can do something that looks or sounds like an internship. We have an informational
internship database and it’s the website Ten Thousand Coffees. Anyone can sign up for it. There’s a U of T hub. There’s a life sciences Ontario hub. There’s a government hub. There’s hubs for other institutions, a Waterloo alum. So, you can join that hub. You can join multiple hubs and it’s an opportunity
to engage with people who are guaranteed yeses or pretty close to guaranteed yeses for informational interviews. If you don’t hear from someone, it might be that they’re not
using the platform anymore. So, just do a Google search, find a secondary contact for them and send a follow-up email that way. So, that’s how you can get
those informational interviews, short conversations with people to figure out how they got
where they are right now and what they like and dislike about it. The other programs we have are
a little bit more intensive. So, we have two different
versions of job-shadowing. One of the job-shadowing
programs is called In The Field. We take a group of students,
usually about 25 students, and alumni and post-docs, to an organization. You get a tour of the facilities. You get one-on-one time with people. There’s sometimes hands-on activity. I think the last one we went
to was Google headquarters in Waterloo. I went to one with a bunch of science PhDs at the city of Toronto to learn about science policy
in municipal government. So, lots of different types of employers, really good opportunity, and it’s a half-day. So, you can go to any of them. This year we’re theme-ing them
based on our industry months. The more intensive one than that is called Extern, and that’s where you and
up to maybe five or six other students, post-docs, recent grads, go again to a host. You go anywhere from half a day to a full week. You get to follow them
around as they do their job. Sometimes they set you up with
multiple people at the host ’cause my job is like
half the time doing this and the other half time
sitting at the computer, which is not particularly
interesting for job-shadowing, so we try and do other
things with that time. Maybe give you a strategic plan and you can read through that and ask us questions, ’cause strategic plans are fascinating. And so those are ways
that you can get engaged with unpaid opportunities to figure out if a
career you’re thinking of is something you actually wanna engage in more intensively with
a four-month internship or post-graduation in those ways. So, that’s my favorite
programming that we have. I never miss an opportunity
to promote that programming, ’cause it’s hands-on experiential learning to really help you connect
with potential careers. So, with that, I see that
there’s still more questions and my apologies that we’re
not gonna get to them all. But I would like to invite
Amelia Merrick to the stage. She’s the director of Career
Exploration and Education. And she’s gonna do our closing remarks. – Thank you, Jonathan. So, I am the director of Career
Exploration and Education and also a grad student, and this was amazing for me as well. So, round of applause
for amazing panelists. (audience applauding) I was at a presentation earlier this week. Sven Dickinson, who formerly was the chair of computer science and
is not the head researcher for Samsung in Toronto spoke this week and he talked about
how we need to consider how artificial intelligence
is augmenting our jobs and changing our lives. And I’m a little worried because you guys took our jobs before
artificial intelligence and you’ve done everything
that Career Exploration and Education at U of T is trying to do. So, thank you so much for
helping us have really informed career conversations. Our goal at Career
Exploration and Education is to build your future
in our changing world. And we really stress
that it is your future and we want to collectively find tools to help us make more informed choices. In our strategy, we have four points and this amazing set of panelists have spoken to all four of our points. So, the first point that we have is that it is really
important to know yourself. And Dan, you said repeatedly, “it’s your life, what
is the life you want?” Probably the most challenging thing is to say, I’m a researcher, I’ve studied my theory, and now I’m gonna study myself. What is the life that you want. The second thing that we look at, is how do you explore your options. And Reinhart, you have
done such an incredible job to help us understand the
PhDs that have gone before us in the 10,000 PhDs project. I would encourage you to
go back, spend some time, look at those who have gone before you, and explore your options, and make some choices. We’ve heard that the
choices are in academia, but there’s also some amazing
choices out there in industry, where you get to have
unconventional and often really fun jobs, where you’re the expert in this environment. This week when we were at
the AI meeting with Sven, he said, “AI is great but
it needs discipline experts, “and it needs problems to solve.” So you guys are discipline
experts and you’ve created and found problems that need to be solved. So it’s not just about
academia or industry, it’s academia, industry,
or jobs that you can create because you are an expert
with expert knowledge that can bring, U of
T has so much great AI and computer science, let’s
bring it all together. The third thing that we do
is we challenge students to develop a strategy and we
have more than 40 different programs, services, and resources that will help you build your strategy. Monica, thank you so much for articulating that fear and shame
sometimes prevent us from taking up those services. Jonathan has done an
exceptional job to help raise the concerns of
graduate students within our office and we’ve seen a
37% increase in the number of grad students that are
coming out to our services since 2015. Our programs are fun,
they often have food, they have really good dialogue,
so if you need a break and you’re managing your
time like Monica said, come do something with us and we’re really trying to have
healthy food as well. So it’s good food, you
know, it’s a great break. Finally the fourth thing in our strategy is that we wanna encourage
students to take action. And I really appreciate,
Simona, the way you challenge people to take action. Go out and have conversations. Go have informational interviews. Go use the resources that
you have to take action. And also, know your value when
you go out and take action. As we’ve heard, you think,
you project management, you’re a good communicator,
you are a good team player. You are smart and you work really hard so you have a ton of value when you go out and you take action, so I
really hope that together in this community that we can
together build our futures in a changing world and
that it will be a brighter place and a smarter place for all of us. So with that I do wanna
close and again say thank you to this exceptional panel, you have illuminated our thinking. Dan, we are so lucky that
you say choose the life you wanna live and you’ve
chosen us at U of T, yay us. We are looking forward
to working more with you. Reinhart, for your 10,000
PhDs and Liam was also on that team, for creating the
foundation and for being a tipping point to faculty
that these are important conversations and this is what
makes them important as well. Simona, thank you. We are so lucky that you also have chosen this life and
somehow we’ve stolen you from Globe and Mail to come here. We are so delighted for the way that you are going to enrich
our thinking at U of T. And finally Monica, thank you so much for bringing the career
education perspective. For your masters work, for your PhD work, we can’t wait until
you defend, three days, that’s all you need after
you’ve submitted, three days. But we are so looking forward
to what you have to say. And Jonathan, I wanna finally thank you. Johnathan had this idea,
he continues to have this idea that we need
to put graduate students on the map and he’s
continually putting a fire under our desks, so thank you. Maybe that’s not the right expression. He, we collectively see
more than 3000 students in our program, so thank you for making this a relevant and
important conversation. Finally thank you for coming tonight, thank you for continuing to eat this food and for the conversations that will ensue and thank you for your scholarly work. And also for making Canada
with what you’re doing. You are exceptional. So with this, have a
great evening, thank you. (audience applauds)

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