QUT Faculty of Education PhD Graduate Story – Sharon Mullins (Extended)


ON-SCREEN TITLE: QMomentum Sharon ON-SCREEN TITLE: Introduce yourself and your PhD topic.
My name is Sharon Mullins, I’m an Executive Director in the Department
of Education and Training. I completed my PhD in 2012, my PhD examined
the relationship between education policy and the news print media. ON-SCREEN TITLE: I never thought I would… I never I would complete my PhD part-time,
I always anticipated I’d have to take a block of time to complete it. It never happened, I managed. ON-SCREEN TITLE: What skills did you gain
during candidature? The skills that I gained from doing my PhD,
in addition to the writing skills involved with writing a PhD, involved the ability to
sustain my thinking around a complex piece of work, the resilience to push through and
continue to work on something, and the ability to cross a wide range of philosophies, academic
constructs, intellectual ideas. It became abundantly clear to me when I began
my PhD journey, that the research skills I had acquired when I’d done my masters several
decades ago, were not going to equip me with the rigor that was required for a PhD journey. I knew that I needed to have library research
skills and I needed to have some systems and skills to compile my knowledge and my readings. Undertaking some of the programs and courses,
and talking to other PhD students was a very powerful enabler for me. I recall one workshop where a range of PhD
completers presented to a group of PhD candidates. And listening to their stories of their endeavours,
their disappointments, their challenges and then their triumph was very inspiring and
helpful. ON-SCREEN TITLE: Any advice for current PhD
students preparing for employment? When PhD candidates are applying for jobs,
it’s important to look very closely at what the requirements of the job are. The PhD will no doubt have provided the candidate
with many skills, aptitudes, resilience and ability, but it won’t stand alone. ON-SCREEN TITLE: Any advice for current PhD
students? My key supervisor once gave me a very important
piece of advice, he said to me “Sharon this is not your opus, it’s your driving licence”. My mode of working was that I would not work
on my PhD during the week, I carved out the weekends to do my PhD. Be really careful to get the topic right at
the beginning of your PhD, and to stick to it. ON-SCREEN TITLE: Do your QUT networks continue to be valuable? In my role in the department I have networks
with a range of personnel across a wide range of universities. With respect to having done my PhD at QUT,
it’s provided me with a really powerful understanding of how a university works, how
the research agenda of a university works and how to work with university personnel. The supervisors of my thesis were very important,
it was a community of supervisors from QUT who supported me to complete my thesis. I began with one supervisor, and then moved
to a group of supervisors, including the key supervisor who was a well-respected, well
published Professor. He provided a really important inspiration
for me to complete my PhD journey. It was a privilege to have such a group of
scholars to support me from the beginning to the end of my thesis. ON-SCREEN TITLE: When did you decide to do
your PhD? I always imagined I’d do my PhD, and when
my children had grown up and gone to university themselves, and my career hit a particular
juncture, there was space for me to do my PhD. ON-SCREEN TITLE: Why did you do your PhD? The QUT program appealed to me because I had
heard from other people who had done their PhD at QUT that there was a strong, applied
focus. ON-SCREEN TITLE: QMomentum Sharon

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