The #Altac Track: Strategies to imagine and build alternative academic careers

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (AWST)
Digital Humanities Australasia

#Altac careers have been described as off the tenure track, but within the academic orbit. These positions are serviced by “hybrid humanities scholars” who work in a diverse range of institutions including universities, cultural heritage bodies, libraries, museums, academic publishing, and the public sector. Roles often include a combination of administration, project management, teaching and research work.

This free, 3-hour workshop explored strategies and tools to help PhD candidates and early career researchers imagine and build alternative academic careers. It included a panel session with several practicing “alt-academics”, hands-on activities and plenty of lively discussion and debate.

The workshop was facilitated by Jo Hawkins (PhD Candidate, University of Western Australia) and Dr Jason Ensor (Research & Technical Development Manager, Digital Humanities, University of Western Sydney).

Panel members included:

Sarah McQuade
Director - Community, Learning & Discovery
State Library of WA
@sarah_mcquade

Ingrid Mason
eResearch Analyst, Intersect Australia
Data specialist, Australian National Data Service
@1n9r1d

Daniel Powell
PhD candidate, Digital Humanities
University of Victoria, Canada
@djp2025
http://djp2025.com/

Jonathon Hutchinson
Researcher and Lecturer, Online Media
University of Sydney
@dhutchman
http://jonathonhutchinson.com/

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  • Check your blog analyticshttp://scholar.google.com.auhttp://impactstory.org/ Twitter analytics ieHootsuitehttp://tweetreach.com/ (measures impact of specific hashtags – great for conferences)
  • The #Altac Track: Strategies to imagine and build alternative academic careers

    1. 1. The #altac track Strategies to imagine & build alternative academic careers Jason Ensor Research & Technical Development Manager Digital Humanities Research Group University of Western Sydney @JasonEnsor @AustLiterature Digital Humanities Australasia 2014 Perth, Western Australia Jo Hawkins PhD Candidate History University of Western Australia @History_Punk
    2. 2. What is #altac? •  Alternative academic careers have been described as off the tenure track but within the academic orbit. •  #Altac positions are serviced by ‘hybrid’ humanities scholars who work in a diverse range of institutions including: •  Universities •  Cultural heritage bodies •  Libraries •  Museums •  Academic publishing •  The public sector •  Roles often include a combination of administration, project management, teaching and research work. #dha2014 #altac  
    3. 3. The traditional purpose of a PhD was to provide the training necessary to start on an academic career. This is no longer the case and in some countries as few as five percent of PhD graduates find permanent academic positions. The Changing PhD: Discussion Paper, Group of Eight, March 2013, p.5 <http://www.go8.edu.au/__documents/go8-policy-analysis/ 2013/the-changing-phd_final.pdf> #dha2014 #altac  
    4. 4. ‘While the disconnect between the availability of tenure-track jobs and the single-minded focus with which graduate programs prepare students for that specific career path is not at all new, the problem is becoming ever more urgent due to the increasing casualization of academic labor… menial salaries, no benefits, and no job security…’ Katina Rogers, Humanities Unbound: Supporting Careers and Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track, University of Virginia Library, August 2013 <http://libra.virginia.edu/catalog/libra-oa:3480> ‘ #dha2014 #altac  
    5. 5. The young people we select to undertake PhD training are by definition amongst the best and brightest we have in terms of their intellectual capabilities. We might expect them to become our future leaders and to contribute in many ways to the development of a prosperous, healthy and happy world – and hope they do so. The Changing PhD: Discussion Paper, Group of Eight, March 2013, p.6 <http://www.go8.edu.au/__documents/go8-policy-analysis/ 2013/the-changing-phd_final.pdf> #dha2014 #altac  
    6. 6. Why are you here today?
    7. 7. Sarah McQuade Director - Community, Learning & Discovery State Library of WA @sarah_mcquade Jonathon Hutchinson, Researcher & Lecturer, Online Media University of Sydney @dhutchman #altac #firesidechat Ingrid Mason eResearch Analyst at Intersect Australia Data specialist at Australian National Data Service @1n9r1d Daniel Powell PhD candidate, Digital Humanities University of Victoria, Canada @djp2025
    8. 8. We’ll be back after this short break.
    9. 9. 1.  Think individually about how you could ‘pitch’ yourself to a potential employer. Refer to the worksheet. (5 minutes) 2.  Get in groups of 3-4 people to share your ideas. Panel members will work with groups during this time. (10 minutes) 3.  We’ll ask volunteers to deliver a 2-minute pitch to the Panel (25 minutes) #dha2014 #altac  
    10. 10. Managing your digital footprint.
    11. 11. What others say about you What you say about yourself Blogs Twitter Academia.edu LinkedIn YouTube Google Scholar Your digital shadow Your digital footprint
    12. 12. What is altmetrics? •  ‘Altmetrics is the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing and informing scholarship.’ (Source: http://altmetrics.org/manifesto) •  Why do we need new ways to measure research impact? •  What tools should you use to measure and record altmetrics? •  Do altmetrics reflect research impact - or just empty buzz?
    13. 13. Altmetrics show & tell 1.  Work individually to identify some of your own altmetrics using your laptop/tablet. (5 minutes) •  Tweets (retweets, replies, reach) •  Blog posts (views, comments) •  Video/ slideshare / Prezi views •  Downloads/ visits to academia.edu.au •  Other ie: Conversation.edu articles 2.  Share results in groups of 3-4 (5 minutes) 3.  Please share and discuss your findings with the entire group. (10 minutes) #dha2014 #altac  
    14. 14. Making connections
    15. 15. Making connections •  What kind of attitudes do our panel members share? •  What technical skills-sets do they possess? •  How important was networking? •  What skills did they learn ‘on the job’ and what skills did they develop before or during their candidature? •  Has building a digital footprint (blogs, social media) helped our panelists in their careers? •  How flexible are they within the employment market? •  What challenges have they faced? •  To what extent did panel members plan their careers? Did they have a clear idea of their direction or did they make sense of it as they go? #dha2014 #altac  
    16. 16. Any questions?
    17. 17. Stay in touch #altac

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