The Department of English and Cultural Studies makes the training of graduate students a top priority and offers a wide range of initiatives to prepare students for the meaningful work they will pursue after graduation. The Professionalization Committee, along with the Academic Placement Officer, offers a series of seminars on topics that include the following: proposal writing, preparing papers for submission to scholarly journals, writing proposals for conference papers, developing a teaching portfolio, preparing for job interviews, non-academic job options, and cultivating work-life balance. The Graduate Studies Committee nominates students for graduate bursaries and fellowships and provides intra-departmental funding for graduate student travel to conferences. The Department hosts the annual John Douglas Taylor conference, a collaborative venture between faculty and graduate students, and graduate students organize the Vox Populi Speaker Series, in which students present their ongoing research in a conversational setting. Faculty members serve as an Academic Placement Officer and a Non-Academic Jobs Resource Officer to help those nearing the end of their degrees explore their career options and hone their job search skills.
The effectiveness of all these initiatives is demonstrated through the high rate of peer-reviewed publication among our graduate students, as well as our success in placing our doctoral program graduates in academic positions. Graduates of our doctoral program have found academic work at institutions across North America. PhDs who have graduated in the last ten years from our department have been appointed to tenure-stream and full-time limited-term jobs at: Queen’s, Wilfrid Laurier, UBC Okanagan, Laurentian, University of California (Santa Barbara), Texas A&M, Dalhousie, Victoria, St. Thomas, Windsor, Carleton, Ottawa, Toronto (St. George), St. Mary’s, Cape Breton, City University of Hong Kong, and Massey University (Aotearoa/New Zealand). Over the last 3 years (2009-12), 6 of our PhDs have landed tenure-track positions, making our ongoing placement rate considerably stronger than those of Canadian programs of similar size.
Our students have also secured a range of rewarding jobs beyond the academic tenure track, using the skills they have perfected in the program to lead them into careers in writing and editing, education, policy work, marketing, arts administration, human resources, career counselling, and law, for example. The Student Success Centre has drop-in Career Counselling hours for graduate students, and the department has begun offering workshops on non-academic careers to assist our students in taking the next steps after graduation. The Department of English and Cultural Studies is committed to supporting our graduate students as they progress in their academic training and as they develop the transferable professional skills that they will use in their future work environments.