Peter Ryan, Assistant Professor, Public Relations, Mount Royal

Peter Ryan, Assistant Professor, Public Relations, Mount Royal

BY: Peter Ryan

PRINT IMRPIMER

Peter RyanWork-life balance is an issue with PhDs. I’ve lived on my own since I was about 17 or 18, so I had no choice but to continuing to work while doing research, which is the case for many students. I had funding to help with expenses, but still always needed to work on top of it, especially in an expensive city like Toronto. On top of my funding package, there were TA opportunities which could provide additional funds, but students still had to apply for those separately. In my first year, I TA-ed for a class with over 100 students—it was overwhelming. I am not an all-nighter person, but I had to pull two all-nighters to finish the work for that class. I’ve never all-nightered again.

After my comprehensive requirement was finished, I taught one class per term. As the years progressed, I increased that teaching load. By fifth year, I was teaching three classes per term because I needed the money after my funding package ran out.

Every time you teach you learn something. I learned the most when I had to create and teach my own courses, rather than when I simply TA-ed, supervised by faculty when developing the course. I was fortunate that I had TA-ed the course before I taught it though. Ideally, I think PhD students should TA one ready-built course and build one course of their own prior to going on the job market.

In my own experience, I took on too much sessional work and taught too much. It slowed down my research. Now I advise graduate students to complete their PhD and get out, if it is an option for you. If you don’t have to work or teach, just complete your PhD dissertation and get out. You hope to get a book out of it, but ultimately you just need to get it done. In a capitalist neoliberal society, if you have funding, just do it and get out.

Other students had an opportunity not to work, so there was a class system within the PhD programs, with students who were funded or had money, so that they didn’t need to work, and students who did not have [enough] funding and did have to work. I could not have done my PhD without the funding and working at the same time, especially in Toronto.

I’m going to a new university now to start an Assistant Professor position. Hopefully I’ll finish my book, teach, set up a research lab there, and stay until retirement if that is how my career path unfolds, but who knows what opportunities will arise along the way. I’m always hopeful. Starting a new position is one of those experiences associated with strong emotions. When I got the job offer for my current position at MacEwan University, it was great. When I got the job offer for the new professor position at another Mount Royal University, it was also great and a great way to grow. I had one night of feeling anxious about going down there, but then it turned into excitement as soon as I realized the move was nothing as anxiety producing as completing a dissertation while also having to work. The move is only 300km down the road, which puts me nearer to the mountains, but it’s a lot of work to move. You just have to be willing to do what it takes.

Know your worth. Know what you want. I was fortunate, I had multiple offers after my PhD, so I could choose to go where I wanted. I could negotiate. I wanted to work at undergraduate universities that were in the process of becoming universities, like Ryerson was when I started my PhD. I’ve now made a career out of it.


Poll: Teaching load


Header: public domain image by Makaristos.


 

Peter RyanWork-life balance is an issue with PhDs. I’ve lived on my own since I was about 17 or 18, so I had no choice but to continuing to work while doing research, which is the case for many students. I had funding to help with expenses, but still always needed to work on top of it, especially in an expensive city like Toronto. On top of my funding package, there were TA opportunities which could provide additional funds, but students still had to apply for those separately. In my first year, I TA-ed for a class with over 100 students—it was overwhelming. I am not an all-nighter person, but I had to pull two all-nighters to finish the work for that class. I’ve never all-nightered again.

After my comprehensive requirement was finished, I taught one class per term. As the years progressed, I increased that teaching load. By fifth year, I was teaching three classes per term because I needed the money after my funding package ran out.

Every time you teach you learn something. I learned the most when I had to create and teach my own courses, rather than when I simply TA-ed, supervised by faculty when developing the course. I was fortunate that I had TA-ed the course before I taught it though. Ideally, I think PhD students should TA one ready-built course and build one course of their own prior to going on the job market.

In my own experience, I took on too much sessional work and taught too much. It slowed down my research. Now I advise graduate students to complete their PhD and get out, if it is an option for you. If you don’t have to work or teach, just complete your PhD dissertation and get out. You hope to get a book out of it, but ultimately you just need to get it done. In a capitalist neoliberal society, if you have funding, just do it and get out.

Other students had an opportunity not to work, so there was a class system within the PhD programs, with students who were funded or had money, so that they didn’t need to work, and students who did not have [enough] funding and did have to work. I could not have done my PhD without the funding and working at the same time, especially in Toronto.

I’m going to a new university now to start an Assistant Professor position. Hopefully I’ll finish my book, teach, set up a research lab there, and stay until retirement if that is how my career path unfolds, but who knows what opportunities will arise along the way. I’m always hopeful. Starting a new position is one of those experiences associated with strong emotions. When I got the job offer for my current position at MacEwan University, it was great. When I got the job offer for the new professor position at another Mount Royal University, it was also great and a great way to grow. I had one night of feeling anxious about going down there, but then it turned into excitement as soon as I realized the move was nothing as anxiety producing as completing a dissertation while also having to work. The move is only 300km down the road, which puts me nearer to the mountains, but it’s a lot of work to move. You just have to be willing to do what it takes.

Know your worth. Know what you want. I was fortunate, I had multiple offers after my PhD, so I could choose to go where I wanted. I could negotiate. I wanted to work at undergraduate universities that were in the process of becoming universities, like Ryerson was when I started my PhD. I’ve now made a career out of it.


Poll: Teaching load


Header: public domain image by Makaristos.


 

Discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

OR AS GUEST

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Participer en tant qu’invité