alan's timeline

Alan

Alan, in his early thirties, graduated with his PhD in 2006 in Canada and then moved abroad in order to find a research-teaching position. When he joined this study in 2011, he had recently returned having found a pre-tenure position closer to home. Alan was married with two young children, and welcomed a third child during the second year of participation in this study. While experiencing a number of difficulties in achieving expectations, his achievements were sufficiently recognized that he hoped he was well on his way towards tenure.

 

What struck us about Alan’s story was:

Struggle with work-life balance; managing three children.

Importance of grant funding to reappointment; supervisiong.

Consistent work towards tenure.

 

 Post-PhD

 

Year 5

Post-PhD

 

Year 6

Post-PhD

 

Year 7

Post-PhD

 

Year 8

 

Post-PhD

Year 5

Spent time with family; struggled with long daily commute.

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Working toward tenure.

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Went to seminar in Paris, where he networked with colleagues outside of his field; felt more confident in being able to communicate his ideas to people beyond his field.

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Aspect of teaching, assessing oral exams with Teaching Assistant was “challenging”.

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Invited to apply for Erasmus visiting professor program; “evidence that I am respected by my peers”.

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Struggled with work-life balance, decrease in “quality time” with children.

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Met with industry vendor regarding research bid; “this provided a realistic industry-based validation of my lab test bench project concept”.

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 Post-PhD

 

Year 6 

Challenged by way family commitments constrain academic progression.

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Was recommended for 3 year’s reappointment by department, but reduced to 2 years by dean, which was “disappointing”.

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Told department chair he would resign from position if next re-appointment  only one year; open to other positions in North American at university, in government or private sector.

Partner hospitalized during end of pregnancy; daughter hospitalized due to asthma.

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Applied for grants, including a particular kind that dean made clear he should.

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Third child born; parental leave.

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Supervising: worked on paper with a master’s student since “showing contributions to knowledge with students” is grant requirement.

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Returned from parental leave.

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Engaged in external lecturing, which was an expected “service to the community”.

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Felt stressed due to balancing family commitments/care giving and work; family felt “more alone” than they did in UK.

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Post-PhD

Year 7

Partner returned to work.

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Child experienced learning problems and was in speech therapy.

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Focused on getting tenure within next few years.

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Three successful grants, which improved tenure chances and “funding woes are at an end”.

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Reappointed for two years.

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Met with dean and chair, where it was implied that had the grants been awarded earlier, the outcome of his reappointment would have been different.

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Continued to struggle with work-life balance.

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Failed a student he was co-supervising at qualifying exam; it “became a discussion of how much are you willing to put…on the line to bring this guy to graduation?”.

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Built and maintained relationships with various companies that could eventually lead to small grants.

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Post-PhD

Year 8

Acted as care-giver for children; family
“demanding my attention and time”.

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Worked on finalizing PhD thesis of one of his students; wanted to spend more time on his reappointment dossier.

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Applied for second reappointment and granted one more year before being considered for tenure.

Reappointment affirmed he is on track for tenure; “satisfied in the way things are now going. I no longer fear not meeting the criteria for tenure”.

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He and student won best paper award.

Still applied for position at different university, but it went to another candidate with “poor profile”; was “quite bitter for a while”.

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Another student he supervised “slandered” colleague, which was “frustrating” and lead to “unnecessary confrontation”.

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Six papers submitted for review, which he anticipated would help with tenure.

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Continued to struggle balancing family and work commitments.

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Re tenure. now not as worried about funding and has a significant number of citations, but needs to reflect on where his research would go next.

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What struck us

Struggle with work-life balance; managing three children.

Importance of grant funding to reappointment; teaching and supervision.

Consistent work towards tenure.

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Researcher Identity Development (2017). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License