As students consider graduate degrees at UT Arlington, advisors are making a point to help with preparations for careers in academia. Diversifying skill sets and gaining experience through teaching and research assistantships is common advice for those enrolled in a graduate program.
In the Department of English, professors stress the importance of teaching composition courses as well as literature classes to those planning a move into the world of academia.
“Students need to train themselves in more than one area so they will be hirable,” said Dr. Johanna Smith, Associate Professor of English. “In addition to looking at literary theory, we spend time looking at the state of the field and the state of the [job] market. Our department offers workshops for grad students heading onto market, including mock interviews. Some of the experience we gain of searching for department candidates is passed on to our students.”
Students are also encouraged to take advantage of some of the skill-building opportunities that professors support outside of the classroom, advisors said.
“Different options [for students] are there, but they have to take the initiative,” said Dr. Bob Kunovich, Associate Professor of Sociology and graduate advisor. “We have opportunities to TA [be a teaching assistant] or serve as instructional leaders for online courses. There is mentoring that needs to happen outside the classroom. It might be picking a journal [for research submissions], writing letters to the editor or networking at conferences. There is more competition for master students who want to go on [to a Ph.D. program] … and there are a lot of things we do to help them stand out.”
Read more about the current outlook for academic jobs on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website.
To see a full list of Liberal Arts programs available at UT Arlington, visit the Office of Graduate Studies’ website.
[Written by James Dunning, COLA Communications]