Career Profile: Lecturer and PhD at an University
Lecturer and PHD at a University
The work at the University can be divided into two distinct tasks. You dedicate 40 % of your time to lecturing. You will teach courses to for instance first and second year students. The other 60 % of the time is dedicated to research for your PhD. So, on the one hand you get the chance to interact with students and work intensively with your colleagues, while on the other hand you can conduct your research. This dual position, being a lecturer and a PhD candidate is intellectually challenging and it requires from you to use your time efficiently.
Doing research for a PhD can be seen as your individual project. You will have two supervisors who read and comment on your pieces and follow the progress of the project itself. Despite the significant role of the supervisors, the responsibility of managing the project efficiently and effectively rests for the major part with you. In short, a PhD is something you do yourself and as a result you have to make sure that you are managing it well and keeping a watchful eye on your time.
Alongside the research, as a PHD, you will also follow courses for PhD students. These courses are particularly focused on how you can manage your time well, how you can publish your work next to language courses. The Graduate School organizes most of these courses for the PhD’s at the Faculty. These courses are very useful. Next to that, the Graduate School also provides guidance on PhD related matters, while they also supervise your progress. Through the Graduate School you also get the opportunity to meet PhD candidates of other faculties who have come to Groningen from around the world to conduct their research. This is very exciting as you get the chance to exchange with one another thoughts, ideas and tips on the PhD process and conducting sound academic research.
• Doing research is intellectually challenging, interesting and inspiring and you are continuously learning and gaining knowledge.
• Teaching on the other hand is also inspiring, particularly to see how students grow and progress and how quickly you can see the result of your efforts. Motivating and inspiring students is great and sharing your knowledge with them as well.
Therefore, working in academia is the perfect environment if you want to work in an open-minded, dynamic and international environment with people who are all interested in advancing knowledge and understanding and explaining IR phenomena.
As a researcher, you need discipline and a lot of motivation for the research on your PhD. You need to be self-critical and continuously ask yourself questions. Why do I want to do this and not that? What is the purpose of this or that? How does this theory/book/article contribute to my research? You also need to be academically critical towards your own work and work of others you read or consult.
When it comes to teaching, you need to have an open-minded attitude towards your students, be friendly, and what is even more important, be able to challenge them and inspire them by the way in which you give your lectures and motivate them. You also need to invite your students to ask questions and invite them to debate about phenomena and issues with one another. Only in such an environment, learning becomes more interesting. Finally, sometimes you need to be persistent, but you should always be patient.
Wanting to do research and to teach is something that you must have an affinity with. When you have that then acquiring the skills is the next step. As a MA student you will already know whether doing research is something you enjoy. With regard to teaching you should have developed qualities during your studies or work. To further develop your teaching skills you should also follow courses for this. Every day teaching in itself adds to the practical experience and the further development of your skills.