Fondly but with a heavy heart I pay homage to my supervisor Dr Victor Ukaegbu who joined the Performance Studies division in The University of Northampton in 1997 and moved to the University of Bedfordshire in 2013. He was the founding General Secretary of the African Theatre Association (AfTA) and published widely on African, Black British and Diaspora theatres and on performance making. He left this world on July 2, 2019.
Formal tributes are hard to relate to because of their expression, dense narrative, and to a great extent exaggerated eulogizing, and sometimes for their factual style which verges on to apathy. For the same reason when I planned to write something in the loving memory of my supervisor, whom I have recently lost, I did not think about writing a conventional tribute. I thought about all his traits – commitment, hard work, and dedication – that he had surreptitiously influenced me with and which over the period of time became an important part of my personality. This is what I call the power of a successful supervisor, who leads us towards the journey to self-exploration, not only making us complete a project but also helping us achieve completion. A supervisor prepares us to take a journey from being a supervisee to becoming a supervisor. In between this ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ lies the energy that supervisors spend on their supervisees.
After several conversations with some PhD students recently, I was struck by one common thread, the lack of awareness or astuteness in planning or developing their own careers and lack of confidence in seeking help. Note, in this article, I use candidate and student interchangeably!
So why this article?
Many PhD students whilst studying for a higher degree approach their careers in a manner no different from undergraduate (UG) students i.e. they typically wait to the end of the PhD and then panic stations which manifests itself in last minute CVs, poor application outcomes and pressure to make career choices. With a PhD comes high expectations and sadly poor post-PhD career outcomes. Thus, it is imperative that PhD candidates understand the importance of the PhD.
As a PhD candidate, you need to view your project as a form of Project Management – think about it, you are given an idea or a project, you investigate challenges around the idea, often work with different stakeholders (sponsors, supervisors, other students, graduate school, community, peers at conferences etc.), proffer solutions and produce a report which you are expected to and usually defend to an expert committee.
Editor’s note – Over a decade ago I was at an interview and got asked the question “how much would you like us to pay you?”. This question came in halfway through a deep dialogue about technical issues and to be honest, I choked. I had come in for one interview and ended up with three (I’ll share another day!). Although I thought, I had been prepared for this question, I had not been as prepared as I should have been. As a result, I felt I didn’t do myself justice. In my conversations with many students, graduates and early-career professionals, it is evident many are unprepared for this question before and after interviews. In today’s article, Mr Paul Mutengu (PM), shares some pointers on what to be aware of with regard negotiating salaries. Enjoy reading – EA
Negotiating salaries are not the easiest of conversations to hold yet so crucial to ensuring we earn what we are worth. Everybody’s experience and approach will differ, but some principles apply, and these tips might help you as a guide – PM
Know your worth
This is a humble attempt to provide a brief, yet a concise, guideline to the researchers engaged in literacy research. Although there are several research methods borrowed from the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities which are utilized and applied in the study of literary texts and narratives, because of their scientific bearing and religious systematicity, they fail to satisfy the philosophical and comparatively stronger analytical and critical approach characteristic of a piece of literature. In this article, I aim to facilitate the students doing their research in literature, in particular literatures written in English, to get their way through the complexities and demands of research degrees requiring the submission of thesis or dissertation. For this particular piece, I have focused on thematic analysis because of its relevance to and viability for most of the literature-based researches.
Editor’s note – A big part of a PhD candidate’s identity is often centred around the PhD. One of the first things (sometimes the only thing) we discuss with them is their research. It can sometimes be easy to forget that just like everyone, a PhD is only one aspect of any candidate’s identity. PhD candidates are people first. Friends, partners, siblings, employees, business owners, spouses, parents etc. All stakeholders – PhD candidates, supervisors, institutions etc. need to have this at the centre when we engage, supervise and provide support. Our #MyPhDStory articles provide a platform for postgraduate researchers to share their authentic lived experiences with our readers. In this article, Frances shares her experience of having not one but two children during her PhD and other expected and unexpected events during her PhD journey.
I am writing this article few years after the successful completion of my doctorate studies in Microbiology. I currently work as a public health microbiologist in California, USA. I got married in the first year of my two-year Master’s program in Massachusetts. At the time, my husband was living and working on another continent. That same year, I applied for doctorate studies in Alabama, and I was offered a place. A few months after getting married, I became pregnant. Being pregnant in itself wasn’t a problem as I felt fine, however I experienced some challenges. I experienced a spectrum of emotions; embarrassment, the appearance of being unserious, stigma and later on, the occasional forgetfulness, tiredness and of course, heaviness. At this point, living away from my husband became very challenging and towards the end of the pregnancy, depression struck! a cocktail of loneliness and hormonal changes.