Academic Job Boot Camp – 14 May

History UK, History Lab Plus and the Institute of Historical Research

Academic Job Boot Camp

Institute of Historical Research, Senate House London

14 May 2016: 13.15-17.00

 

Are you starting to think about applying for your first lectureship in history? Submitting applications and never hearing back? The Academic Job Boot Camp is a free half-day event for early career historians sponsored by History UK, History Lab Plus and the Institute of Historical Research. It will help you to structure your academic CV, hone your cover letter, rehearse your job presentation and undergo a mock interview, as well as demystifying some of the processes around academic recruitment. The experience, feedback and advice you receive at the event is designed to improve your chances the next time you apply for an academic job.

How will the boot camp work? Participants will take part in a simulation of all stages of the job application process up to and including being interviewed as a shortlisted candidate. Twenty-five applicants will be invited to be interviewed at a half-day boot camp on 14 May 2016 at the Institute of Historical Research in London. There they will be interviewed by pairs of experienced academics drawn from a dozen universities nationwide. They will also deliver job presentations to other early career historians. All participants will receive feedback on their interview and presentation and will have the opportunity to observe how others fare. The event will end with a roundtable on how to make your job application succeed, after which there will be drinks, a free dinner and networking opportunities at a nearby pub and restaurant.

Itinerary (all locations at Institute of Historical Research):

13:15-13:30 Welcome and introductions (Wolfson II)

13:30-16:00 Mock Interviews (30 minutes each incl. feedback, conducted by pairs of academics: N304, N202, N204, N203, N102)

13:30-16:00 Job presentations (10 minutes each in front of other early career historians who provide written feedback: Wolfson II and Pollard Seminar Room N301)

16:00-17:00 Roundtable on Myths and Truths about Applying and Interviewing for Academic Jobs (Wolfson II)

17.00-19.30 Pub then dinner at a nearby restaurant

This event is free and sponsored by History UK, History Lab Plus and the Institute of Historical Research. All early career historians are encouraged to apply, with preference being given to those who have completed their PhDs.

To participate, you will need to apply for an imaginary lectureship in a real history programme. Please read the job requirements of the Imaginary Lectureship in History at http://historyuktestone.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/profession/ and the further particulars (http://historyuktestone.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/files/2016/04/Imaginary-Lectureship-in-History-Further-Particulars.pdf), then submit a letter of application and CV to marcus.collins@lboro.ac.uk. The deadline is midnight on Sunday 1 May and applicants will be contacted by Tuesday 3 May.

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Early-Career Life in 2015: Cath Feely

Our co-chair Cath Feely shares her reflection, such as it is, on 2015. You can read Cath’s post on 2014 here. This will most likely be the last time she does this because she’s all reflected out.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t really want to write this post. There are too many things that I should be doing right now, all vying for my attention and making me anxious: marking, module handbooks, planning for next semester, sorting out the admin backlog for History Lab Plus that has been neglected over a very busy semester, and so on.

But it was more than that. It was that, before I actually sat down to write, I couldn’t think of anything that I’d really achieved in 2015, my second year in a permanent lectureship. I didn’t have a story to tell about it. Nothing momentous happened. It was neither a particularly good or bad year for me. It just was.

When I started to write, however, lots of things came to mind. But I realised that what had made me most proud in 2015 weren’t ‘my’ successes. I was there, sure; I might deserve some of the credit. But they are not things that are easily itemised in a review of the year: dissertations that absolutely blew my socks off (you know who you are!), conversations with colleagues, touching and personal messages from graduating students and the like. They were all, all of them, the result of a group effort. And I realise now just how grateful and proud I am to be part of that group.

So I did do good stuff in 2015. But I did not do it alone. And the credit for any success is shared with my colleagues and our students.

That’s not to say that I don’t have personal goals for 2016, ‘the year of the book’. Now that I have done some leg work in setting up new modules, I want to write more regularly. There are plans – realistic ones, I think, too – afoot.

But I want to step back from some things too. Mostly, I want to step back from getting angry. There is a place for anger but, back in early September when the so-called ‘early career debate’ was raging on Twitter, I took some time out and drank a milkshake in a Derby café and, stupidly, fought back tears. I had taken so much of what was being said about the betrayal of early career historians by people with permanent jobs far too personally and it had tired me out. I wondered whether anyone at all cared about what we had been doing with History Lab Plus. I thought about how much, personally, I was giving and whether it was doing any good. A day or two later, I received an email from someone telling me how much difference one of our events had made to her. And that was my answer. But I also realised that it was possible to care about these issues without feeling responsible for them. I can help, yes, but I am not alone in this endeavour. I’d like to thank another anonymous scholar who, in a hotel bar, told me that it was not up to me to fix academia single-handedly. This was said with the greatest respect and I have taken it to heart, in a good way.

So there’s no advice in this post. No story. Except that it’s okay to have an okay year.