barbara's timeline

Barbara

Barbara had moved from another North American city, got married and been teaching at the university level for a number of years. She began her PhD in another local university shortly after having a baby. She intended a research-teaching position locally given she did not want to disrupt the lives of her partner and baby (her husband preferred not to move though she would have been happy to). She joined the Canadian study in the second year of her PhD and graduated when she was in her early 40s. 

 

What struck us about Barbara’s story was: 

No time for self and partner; reluctant to move during degree. 

Needed to work for financial reasons during degree and did research on the side in teaching position. 

Strategic in developing academic profile during degree and worked toward long-term career vision. 

 

PhD

Year 2

PhD

Year 3

PhD

Year 4

PhD

Year 5

 Post-PhD

Year 1

Post-PhD

 

Year 2

Post-PhD

 

Year 3

Post-PhD

 

Year 4

Post-PhD

Year 5

 

PhD

Year 2

...

Completed comprehensive exams (1); supervisor and committee very supportive; felt more like a colleague than a student.

...

...

Submitted manuscript; meet with experienced scholars, discussions confirmed the value of her goal: her field was moving to a type of research that did not interest her and she intended to take it in a different direction.

...

...

Lack of funding meant she needed to work which reduced time for her doctorate.

Sought courses to teach.

...

Helped own research since learned new tools for analysing and communicating research.

Instead offered a research assistantship.

Concerned with demands of PhD work alongside family commitments; also felt isolated.

Joined informal PhD group, mostly mothers, that provided moral support and feedback.

...

 (1) Comprehensive exams (demonstrating depth and breadth of knowledge) are a required element of most North American PhDs. They must be completed successfully before doing a thesis     proposal defence (which is similar to a transfer of status).

 

PhD

Year 3

PhD part of your life ...such a large commitment.

Got some courses to teach.

Teaching experience ‘like gold’ in preparing her for research‐teaching position.

...

Collected and analysed data.

...

...

Applied for 10 fellowships; got 2, both highly ranked; reinforced her potential contribution.

....

...

Fellowships reduced financial stress; could focus on PhD.

...

 

PhD

Year 4

...

Continued writing, submitting research papers (as part of thesis) for publication.

...

...

Informal network remained valuable.

...

...

Research her passion; found others who shared her view about taking research in a different direction.

....

Some tension between her and partner since he was not willing to move.

...

Future not straightforward; unable to move for a research-teaching position.

 

PhD

Year 5

 Post-PhD

Year 1 

...

...

Job-seeking locally; no research-teaching positions; offered 3-year non-renewable teaching contract; refused it.

Began planning big family graduation celebration.

Submitted dissertation (series of published papers).

...

...

External examiner had failed her dissertation; emotionally very rough … shocking.

In same week, offered and took 3-year renewable teaching position in her PhD department.

Partner ensured she had time to focus on revisions.

...

...

...

Committee very supportive; helped her realize thesis was 3 peer-reviewed publications so had value.

...

...

Revised and re-submitted relatively quickly.

...

...

Intended to seek research funding and supervise students; work remained the same except for pay cheque and pension.

Started job.

 

Post-PhD

Year 2

...

Well accepted in department once people adjusted to her as peer not student.

...

...

Developed academic profile; taught, continued to publish and took on educational administrative role.

...

Child started school and had other social activities that involved careful scheduling.

...

....

 

Post-PhD

Year 3

Worked ensuring time for family since as academic can work all the time.

...

...

...

Teaching more courses than those in teaching-research positions plus had administrative role.

...

...

Learning to say ‘no’ to ensure time for research – what she really liked to do.

....

...

...

Still imagined research-teaching position in future.

 

Post-PhD

Year 4

...

...

Submitted renewal dossier; gained permanence.

...

Awarded national research grant, had 2 smaller ones; feeling great about emerging research programme.

...

...

Learning to say ‘no’ to ensure time for research – what she really liked to do.

....

...

...

Began searching for research-teaching positions beyond her own location.

 

Post-PhD

Year 5

...

...

Accepted research-teaching position elsewhere; recognition of contribution to field.

 

What struck us

No time for self.

Partner reluctant to move.

Need to work for financial reason.

Did research on the side.

Strategic in developing profile during degree.

 

Worked toward long-term carrer vision.

your

Story

Funding:

Follow us:

  • Researcher Identity
  • Researcher Identity
  • Researcher Identity

contact us

Partners and collaborators:

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