Serge Dupuis, Contract Researcher, Writer, and Consultant, History

Serge Dupuis, Contract Researcher, Writer, and Consultant, History

BY: Catherine Nygren

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Serge’s PhD focused on the history of Francophone identity, culminating in a dissertation entitled “Le passage du Canada français à la Francophonie mondiale : mutations nationales, démocratisation et altruisme au mouvement Richelieu, 1944 – 1995.” After his first year of field work, he lived away from his university. Although he missed out on opportunities for participating in his institutional community, working from a distance, combined with organization and a determination to get in and out of the program, helped him finish more quickly, and he completed his doctorate in four years. History is a bit unpredictable: because of his research area, he was able to finish research in less than a year, and then buckle down to the writing. Funding and flexible teaching commitments also allowed him the time to focus on his own work for most of the year.

After completing his degree in 2013, Serge worked as a sessional for a few years, and then as a coordinator for the Research Institute in Sudbury. A year as a post-doc at the Université de Laval provided more opportunities for research; having access to the resources at Laval were particularly valuable for Serge, who works primarily in French. Since his post-doc ended in the fall, Serge has been freelancing as a contractual researcher, writer, and consultant in history. With Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, there is plenty of work for qualified contracts!

The market has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and Serge notes that although he is glad that he did his PhD, pursuing a doctorate is often accompanied by stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. After the PhD, making ends meet can also be difficult; many of his colleagues are working at jobs that are underpaid or not reflective of their potential skills. However, there’s also work to be done amongst PhD students to not see these positions as “beneath them.” Our professors are those who succeeded, so they often encourage you to pursue academia while turning a blind eye to the job market, but it’s important for students to know the low chances of scoring a tenure-track job.

Serge’s PhD focused on the history of Francophone identity, culminating in a dissertation entitled “Le passage du Canada français à la Francophonie mondiale : mutations nationales, démocratisation et altruisme au mouvement Richelieu, 1944 – 1995.” After his first year of field work, he lived away from his university. Although he missed out on opportunities for participating in his institutional community, working from a distance, combined with organization and a determination to get in and out of the program, helped him finish more quickly, and he completed his doctorate in four years. History is a bit unpredictable: because of his research area, he was able to finish research in less than a year, and then buckle down to the writing. Funding and flexible teaching commitments also allowed him the time to focus on his own work for most of the year.

After completing his degree in 2013, Serge worked as a sessional for a few years, and then as a coordinator for the Research Institute in Sudbury. A year as a post-doc at the Université de Laval provided more opportunities for research; having access to the resources at Laval were particularly valuable for Serge, who works primarily in French. Since his post-doc ended in the fall, Serge has been freelancing as a contractual researcher, writer, and consultant in history. With Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, there is plenty of work for qualified contracts!

The market has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and Serge notes that although he is glad that he did his PhD, pursuing a doctorate is often accompanied by stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. After the PhD, making ends meet can also be difficult; many of his colleagues are working at jobs that are underpaid or not reflective of their potential skills. However, there’s also work to be done amongst PhD students to not see these positions as “beneath them.” Our professors are those who succeeded, so they often encourage you to pursue academia while turning a blind eye to the job market, but it’s important for students to know the low chances of scoring a tenure-track job.

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