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Daughter doing modern history and loving it . How does she get to teaching at uni level ?
67

Molly333 · 07/04/2019 09:51

As above my daughter's at UEA doing modern history loving it . She's saying she wants to teach at uni but what is the progression stages for this ? Can anyone advise ? Thank you so much

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bevelino · 07/04/2019 10:45

There is lots of information online regarding the path to becoming a university lecturer. Also your dds university careers office will be able to advise. You may get conflicting information on mumsnet.

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SoHotADragonRetired · 07/04/2019 10:48

She would have to get a PhD. Uni lecturing is shit pay, shit hours and shit progression. Other than the very, very small number who play the game well and are very good at securing funding, it's a shell game with far far more qualified people who want in than there are liveable wage jobs.

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titchy · 07/04/2019 12:03

The main job of a lecturer isn't teaching - it's research. If she only wants to teach then maybe she could think about secondary school teaching?

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bakedbeanzontoast · 07/04/2019 12:15

Completely echo the previous 2 posters.

Believe me she does not want to be a lecturer these days...

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SoHotADragonRetired · 07/04/2019 12:35

Honestly, you need to regard this much as if she's said "I want to be a professional film and TV actress". In the sense of she can spend decades qualifying herself and working for bugger all and potentially running up huge debts, and still never make it/burn out/have to have three side hustles just to make rent.

Also, yes, being a "lecturer" is minimally about teaching and all about securing funding for your own research

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jeanne16 · 07/04/2019 13:15

Teachers in schools are paid far more than lecturers these days. They also have job security. This would be far better.

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LadyGregorysToothbrush · 07/04/2019 13:21

Teachers in schools are paid far more than lecturers these days.

I don’t think this is true.

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bumblingbovine49 · 07/04/2019 13:36

The main job of a lecturer isn't teaching - it's research. If she only wants to teach then maybe she could think about secondary school teaching?

This is not true nowadays at many universities. There are very few universities that would commit to more than 50% of your time on research, most are closer to 30% and whilst obviously admin needs to be added to that, you would still be spending the majority of your time on teaching based activities. I have even heard that Birmingham University is looking at reducing the standard amount of research time it gives to academics staff to less than 30%

OP. My husband has supervised around 18 PhD students to completion. He says only about 8 of those had UK first degrees and/or were interested in a career in academia in the UK. Of these 8 over half of them are in academic careers now.

He says your daughter needs to do a PhD but she needs to find a place where there is a community of PhD student who support each other and who are supported by the institution they are in. She also needs a director of studies who acts as mentor, helping her to develop contacts, to get teaching experience and to publish whilst she is writing her PhD. This is very important and not all Directors or Study for PhD students do this at all so you need to ask the right questions before registering/choosing where to do the PhD

My DH sees his PhD students who want to work in UK academic institutions as apprentice academics and will meet them at least 2-3 times year to discuss their career objectives, aims and help them to set and monitor targets towards this as well as meeting with them for their regular fortnightly meeting to discuss their actual PhD.

Your daughter will need to bear in mind however that jobs in History are more difficult to get than in my husband's area and that PhD funding is hard to get so it is difficult to find funding, the right subject and the right team/mentor. I wish her good luck if it is what she decides to do though

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bumblingbovine49 · 07/04/2019 13:41

DH also wants me to say, that for all its difficulties nowadays he still loves university teaching and finds it very satisfying. He has been an academic for almost 30 years. He loves his research and also really enjoys the teaching (the vast majority of the time, NOBODY likes marking for instance Grin)

I know it is much harder to get into academia/teaching at university nowadays and that things are much less easy than they used to be but it is still a fantastic career according to my DH (I personally can't think of anything worse than being an academic!)

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titchy · 07/04/2019 14:16

Be honest though bovine. If your dh's teaching is mediocre, as long as his research is 4 star he'll be fine. If his research is mediocre and NSS scores brilliant, his job's on the line.

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SarahAndQuack · 07/04/2019 14:49

Yes, get her to talk to the careers service, and probably to her tutor as well.

Usually, she would apply for MA places in her final year. That starts quite early - she should be thinking about it from the autumn of that last year, as funding is allocated pretty fast. It is not very easy to get a funded MA; she should try, though. Typically, to be competitive, she needs a first, though she will almost certainly get a place somewhere (not necessarily a funded one) with a 2:1. It is sensible to be aware of how much prestige the MA institution has, too.

Then, during her MA (in the autumn term, again), she would apply for PhD places. Again, funding is tight but not impossible. Again, she would usually need a distinction to secure funding, though not invariably; again, she ought to think of the prestige of the institution/course in question. A full-time MA usually takes a year.

During her PhD she would typically get some opportunity to teach, and would find out whether or not she enjoyed it. If she wants to be competitive for academic jobs post-PhD, she would also spend time publishing and networking and doing conferences. A full-time PhD takes 3-4 years.

Towards the end of a PhD, she would apply for postdoctoral jobs. These are typically short-term contracts, nine months on up to a couple of years. There are a small number of very prestigious and competitive ones that allow you to research for 2-3 years; these include little teaching but can help secure a permanent job, because the ideal is to publish.

It is usual in Arts/Humanities to clock up a few postdoc positions before getting a permanent lectureship, so you'd expect to be temporary for a few years. Lots of people decide during this stage to go into a different career, because there aren't many jobs and postdoc temporary jobs are very insecure and can be badly paid.

At the moment, starting pay for a lecturer isn't much off 40k, so it's not exactly true that lecturing is much worse paid than teaching - the issue is that, had you decided to become a teacher fresh out of university, you'd have had several years of promotions by the time you were the age of a junior lecturer. And I think teaching is less competitive to get into.

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CatandtheFiddle · 07/04/2019 15:10

There are no “progression stages” towards becoming a university lecturer. It’s primarily a research-oriented job. If she wants to teach adults, then a post in FE would be a better ambition.

But if she wants to try to become a lecturer then she needs:
1st Class Hons at BA
MA in her subject with a Distinction (Merit at the very least)
PhD in her discipline

It’s good if she moves institutions at least once between degrees. UEA is an excellent university but maybe she should “trade up” even more at PhD level to one of the University of London colleges, or other universities with better access to archives.

During the PhD she’ll need to do some Graduate teaching assistant teaching, and start to disseminate her work via conference papers and working towards scholarly essay publication.

Then it can be up to 5 years between completion of PhD and something like a full-time post.

And you need to be not only bright, but stubborn, hard-working, pragmatic, personable, a good communicator and excellent at collaboration and team working.

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pqgh04 · 07/04/2019 17:29

At the moment, starting pay for a lecturer isn't much off 40k, so it's not exactly true that lecturing is much worse paid than teaching.

Indeed. Lecturer is typically 40-50k, senior lecturer/reader is 50-60k, and professor is 65k-100+k. As many pp have written, it is very competitive to get academic jobs but if you actually get a permeant academics job the salary progression is not comparable to teaching.

I have even heard that Birmingham University is looking at reducing the standard amount of research time it gives to academics staff to less than 30%.

But this is as a percentage of a 35 hour week (and taking into account annual leave), when academics in reality work more than 35 hours and don't tend to take all their annual leave. Most successful academics spend far more than 40% of their total working hours on research. Also you don't get jobs in high tariff universities without strong research portfolios and ability to generate research income.

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corythatwas · 07/04/2019 23:13

This is not true nowadays at many universities. There are very few universities that would commit to more than 50% of your time on research, most are closer to 30% and whilst obviously admin needs to be added to that, you would still be spending the majority of your time on teaching based activities

This.

At the moment, starting pay for a lecturer isn't much off 40k, so it's not exactly true that lecturing is much worse paid than teaching.

Very unlikely to start off with a fulltime lecturer's job though. Far more likely to spend several years going around the country on short-term contracts which may or may not be fulltime and may only pay for teaching (though you will of course need to do the research to move on to the next step).

But this is as a percentage of a 35 hour week (and taking into account annual leave), when academics in reality work more than 35 hours and don't tend to take all their annual leave. Most successful academics spend far more than 40% of their total working hours on research

You forget to mention that the teaching/marking/designing new modules/covering for colleagues/admin is also likely to take up far more than 40% of a 35 hour week.

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SarahAndQuack · 07/04/2019 23:17

cory, I did say that?

I never suggested you'd start off with a lecturer's job; indeed, I made the point quite clearly that a difference between teaching and lecturing is that by the time you might (if you're lucky) get a permanent lectureship, you'd have been years into a teaching career.

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GregoryPeckingDuck · 07/04/2019 23:18

The first step is to do a masters and secure a position as an undergrad tutor while doing that.

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corythatwas · 07/04/2019 23:27

sorry, Sarah I misread your post.

Can't be stressed enough that "a starting salary" here is not actually a starting salary in the profession but (these days) in a fairly senior post which many people never reach.

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Howsthat123 · 07/04/2019 23:28

Sorry if I'm side tracking your thread OP but I didn't want to open a new thread for my question. But it might be helpful for your dd also.
My question if anyone can help is. When choosing a PhD to do does it matter which uni to go to do it? My dd also wants to become a lecturer at uni too.
Good supervisor at not a reknowed uni or go to prestige uni but supervisor is fairly new to the post. TIA

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SarahAndQuack · 07/04/2019 23:33

YY, agree, cory! That's what I was trying to get at.

howsthat - how is a 'good' supervisor being identified here?

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Howsthat123 · 07/04/2019 23:40

@sarah has many years of supervising PhD students. Those students then going onto academia.

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SarahAndQuack · 08/04/2019 00:01

I would guess that, in that case, it doesn't matter that the supervisor is new to the post, because they must be fairly senior.

I do think prestige of the university/course matters. In my field, it would be relatively easy to find a supervisor who counts as 'good' by your criteria. It might not be in other fields.

Your DD probably knows what she's doing, though. Nothing made me more irritated when I was applying for my PhD than my dad (god bless him) trying to teach me to suck eggs!

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Howsthat123 · 08/04/2019 00:17

Thanks for the reply Sarah. I only gave her the advice of go with the one you think you can work well with. Not very helpful since sometimes you can't tell if they will have a good working relationship till later on. She has another interview next week.

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pqgh04 · 08/04/2019 07:39

Far more likely to spend several years going around the country on short-term contracts which may or may not be fulltime and may only pay for teaching.

This may be true in humanities (and OP was about history) but it's absolutely not true in sciences. If you can't get a full-time research postdoc, and instead rely on short-term teaching based on contracts, you have almost no chance of a permanent job, so much better to leave then.

Also important to appreciate the difference between academic disciplines. There are areas in science where getting a permanent job after one research postdoc is perfectly normal - and becoming a professor on 65k+ within 10 years of PhD is also achievable.

You forget to mention that the teaching/marking/designing new modules/covering for colleagues/admin is also likely to take up far more than 40% of a 35 hour week

Teaching plus admin is usually counted as 60% of a working week, not 40%. I know very few academics who actually work more than that on teaching and admin, spread over the year -- the summer is still a much quieter period for teaching and management, so even if one spends time developing new courses in that period one is unlikely to work as much as 60% of a 35 hour week on teaching/management in the summer months.

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Bagpuss5 · 08/04/2019 07:44

Can she chat to her lecturers about it??

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GCAcademic · 08/04/2019 07:54

The first step is to do a masters and secure a position as an undergrad tutor while doing that

Most universities would never employ someone doing a Masters to teach. Not in a subject like history, anyway. A PhD in progress is the minimum requirement.

This may be true in humanities (and OP was about history) but it's absolutely not true in sciences. If you can't get a full-time research postdoc, and instead rely on short-term teaching based on contracts, you have almost no chance of a permanent job, so much better to leave then.

Yes, I can confirm this (several years on short-term contracts) is the case in the Humanities, which is what is relevant to the OP. The vast majority of PhD students in History will not end up with a permanent academic job. In my field (similar to History) I’d say that one in twenty of our former PhD students are now in permanent academic jobs.

I would also add that the job is not worth it these days. I would not go into it if I had to start again. If you do go into it, you need a thick skin and robust mental health.

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