Canadian Journal of Higher Education – Call for Papers

Special Issue: Preparing Graduate Students for a Changing World of Work

Background: Geographer Andrew Ross described today’s ‘geographies of livelihood’ in terms of the changing demands of work and employment in a globalized knowledge economy:

Today’s livelihoods are pursued on economic ground that shifts rapidly underfoot, and many of our old assumptions about how people can make a living are outdated pieties. No one, not even those in the traditional professions, can any longer expect a fixed pattern of employment in the course of their lifetime, and they are under more and more pressure to anticipate, and prepare for, a future in which they still will be able to compete in a changing marketplace.1

These changing conditions of work are also true for doctoral students, many of whom pursue an advanced degree in hopes of obtaining a position as a faculty member in higher education. Many of our students, however, find that journey is difficult and long, with side trips into contingent employment or explorations of alternative career options. The question of how universities prepare their doctoral students for these shifting career trajectories is a timely and pressing challenge.

This special issue represents the growing interest in the support and development of professional knowledge and skills in graduate students. Over the past decade, interest in this topic has been building at both the national and regional levels. The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) supported a conference on innovation in graduate education in 2005 and the Tri-Council national research agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) together with CAGS and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) sponsored a gathering of academics and professionals in Ottawa in 2007 to discuss the development of professional skills in graduate students. In 2011, an international conference on graduate student professional development funded by SSHRC was held at the University of Toronto and in 2012, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario hosted a symposium on graduate students entering the workforce (academic or otherwise).

The chief aim of this special issue is to provide a space for discussion and debate concerning graduate student development, with the goal of publishing a selection of papers that highlight emerging issues in graduate education and successful strategies that can inform support for students within the Canadian higher education system. This publication will serve to broaden the conversation around graduate student development at a national and international level.

Focus: The need to prepare graduate students for a dynamic and changing labour market is an issue of international concern. This is of course a reflection of larger national questions around postsecondary education, skills development, and the labour market. We seek contributions that theorize the problem of graduate student development, report on empirical research, and/or illuminate comparative models for work in the Canadian context and that will inform the growing field of graduate student support in Canada.

This issue will bring together faculty members, administrators, educational developers, librarians, student support staff, professionals, and most importantly, students to examine the latest research and practices in graduate student development. We also aim to identify paths for administrators seeking to better support their graduate students.

Possible themes for consideration include:

  • Transferring teaching and research expertise outside the academy
  • Labour market conditions for advanced degree holders
  • Institutional collaborations or partnerships to support graduate student development
  • Certificate and co/extra-curricular programming models
  • Administrative or policy models for university responses to changing work conditions
  • Student support and mentoring
  • Cross-sectoral partnerships

Call for Abstracts: You are invited to submit an abstract (500 words) together with short biographical details by October 15, 2013. You will receive a response to your abstract by October 31, 2013. Completed articles (5,000 words excluding graphics, title page, & bibliography) are due by April 1, 2014, and will be subject to peer review with final submissions following revisions expected in September 2014.

For further information, or to submit an abstract, please contact the editorial assistant of the special issue via email at the following address:

Special Issue Editors:
Megan Burnett, Acting Associate Director, Center for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto
Sara Carpenter, Acting Assistant Director, Center for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto
Cynthia Korpan, TA Training Program Manager, Learning & Teaching Centre, University of Victoria
Carol Rolheiser, Professor, Department of Curriculum, Teaching, & Learning (OISE) and Director, Center for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto

1 Ross, A. (2009). Nice work if you can get it: Life and labor in precarious times. New York: NYU Press, pg. 2.