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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

From your Placement Committee

The majority of our students who get faculty positions find jobs at institutions that emphasize excellent teaching. Since our program is quite unusual in providing thorough teaching training, it is important to document this aspect of your graduate experience throughout. Our program also provides unique opportunities in teaching with technology. Experience with technology often makes our graduates stand out on the job market. Finally, experience working as an assistant director in the CWRL, the English Department, the DRC or the Writing Center is a great opportunity to develop professional skills for jobs beyond faculty positions.

The most important thing to remember about life in academia is that it is very self-directed. When it comes to your career, remember, YOU ARE DRIVING THIS TRAIN. What follows are suggestions for an ambitious five-year plan. Take what you like and leave the rest.

First year M.A.

Building a teaching portfolio
Save course evaluations (CIS forms) from E316K
Save a few sample student responses to assignments you wrote for your section, if applicable
Save notes or letters of appreciation from students if you get any
Ask your E316K instructor to visit your class and give you feedback on your teaching

Building a scholarly profile
Toward the end of your second semester, begin thinking about possible topics for a master's report. A good choice is to write a report that extends and revises a term paper written in your first year or the fall of your second year.

Gaining and documenting relevant professional experience
Join or start a reading group to fill in gaps in your scholarly background.
Consider portfolio specialization in an interdisciplinary program that overlaps with your interests.
Consider a GRS course, internship or workshop offered by the Professional Development and Community Engagement program of the Office of Graduate Studies as a way to develop project-management, budgeting, nonprofit management, or other skills.

Second year M.A.

Building a teaching portfolio
All of the above, plus:
Choose E316K teaching assignments that will enhance your employment profile. Possibilities:
-take an E383L "Teaching Sophomore Lit" course concurrently with your teaching
-if preparing to be a generalist, or to help narrow down your focus of interests, make sure you get experience in British, American, World, and WGL versions of the course
-if you already know you will specialize, look for opportunities to work with different professors teaching the variant you are interested in

Building a scholarly profile
All of the above, plus:
Choose a faculty member who can help you grow professionally to supervise your master's report.
Use your QE experience to prepare to teach texts outside your field of specialization. (Keep your notes!)
Submit a revised version of your term paper or master's report to a scholarly conference. Good ones to start are on-campus (Sequels, CWGS Graduate Student Conference etc.) or regional (SCMLA, other regional MLAs etc.) Classes are a good way to find people with common interests who can help you make up a panel. Get advice from faculty about appropriate venues for your project and field.
Offer to write a review of a new book for a journal in your field. Short book reviews make excellent first publications.

Gaining and documenting relevant professional experience
All of the above, plus:
Check out opportunities for professional development via graduate student advocacy organizations, on- and off-campus journals (ETWIG Book Review, Women's and Gender Studies in Review Across Disciplines), organizing on-campus conferences etc.

First year Ph.D.

Building a teaching portfolio
Teaching RHE 306 is an important employment credential, since most jobs require some composition teaching. Begin to build a portfolio that shows your expertise as a composition teacher.
-save copies of your assignments and exemplary student responses
-save sample student papers with your comments
-save complete syllabi with lesson plans for particular days
-save notes or other feedback from students in addition to official CIS forms
-ask a faculty member you know well to visit your class, look at your syllabus and assignments, and write an evaluation of your teaching
-remember that experience teaching in networked classrooms often singles out UT graduates from other applicants later

Building a scholarly profile
Consider submitting a revised version of your master's report to a scholarly journal. Get advice from faculty about appropriate venues for your project and field.
Continue to submit papers to conferences, with the goal of having given two or three conference papers by the end of your fourth year.

Second year PhD

Building a teaching portfolio
Design an RHE 309 course that establishes your credentials as a teacher in your area of specialization. Document your work in this course as above.

Building a scholarly profile
Continue submitting papers to conferences, but if you have given two or three conference papers, slow down to concentrate on dissertation work and publication. If you have attended on-campus and regional conferences, submit papers to national conferences (ie MLA, ASA etc.)

Gaining and documenting relevant professional experience
As above.

Third year Ph.D.

Building a teaching portfolio
Choose an E314L assignment that broadens your credentials as a teacher in your area of specialization. Document your work in this course as above.
Establish a mentoring relationship with a faculty member whose teaching you respect. Share drafts of assignments and other course materials and ask for feedback. Make sure your mentor observes your teaching and writes and evaluation of it.

Building a scholarly profile
Prepare to take three-area examinations. Talk to faculty about professional development aspects of three-area as well as creating an exam that will best prepare you to write an excellent dissertation.
Join or start a dissertation-writing group.

Gaining and documenting relevant professional experience

Fourth year and beyond

Building a teaching portfolio
Replace outdated materials in your teaching portfolio as you refine your teaching practice. Get updated evaluations from faculty.

Building a scholarly profile
Consider submitting a dissertation chapter for publication. The normal publications process takes 12-18 months from submission of your article to final publication.

Gaining and documenting relevant professional experience
The best credential for employment is a successfully defended dissertation. However, if you have completed two-thirds of your dissertation or more, you may want to consider going on the job market (in consultation with your advisor). In consultation with the placement committee and your advisor, work on job materials over the summer before the year you go on the market.
Consider careers in publishing, university administration, secondary teaching and other areas in addition to university teaching. Consider applying for postdocs, visiting positions, and term-limited positions as well as tenure-track positions.

Fifth year and beyond

Finish your dissertation and publish!
Network to find jobs in publishing, research, higher education administration, secondary education, and more.

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