Faculty welcomes Higher Degree Research students and presents 2013 Teaching Fellows

26 March 2013

Higher Degree Research students
Higher Degree Research students mingle at the reception in the Nicholson Museum on Thursday evening

In a special reception on Thursday evening, amid the prized relics of the Nicholson Museum, postgraduate research students gathered to meet new colleagues and celebrate the newly appointed Teaching Fellows for 2013.

After guests had the chance to mingle and sample canapés and champagne, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research Rodney Smith began the formal proceedings. After apologising that intended speaker, Doctor of Arts candidate, author, and ABC 702 Radio presenter Dominic Knight, was unable to attend due to being called in to host his show in light of the days intended leadership spill, he went on to officially launch the new Higher Degree Research Student Survival Guide.

This publication was intended, as the two-day orientation and induction that this reception event was part of was, as a helpful guide to ensure that new postgraduate students get the most out of their higher research degrees.

The two-day induction included useful discussions and talks about topics such as how to research and write a thesis, where to access resources, the culture change from an undergraduate degree, and differing approaches from various departments and schools. It also included this reception, that was to acknowledge postgraduate candidates who are strengthening their commitment to their research by becoming Teaching Fellows.

postgraduate research students
"Our postgraduate research students have enriched their experience by teaching," says Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research Rodney Smith.

"The Teaching Fellowship Scheme that we have is a scheme that recognises postgraduate research students in the senior years of their degrees, who put together a case to be recognised as good teachers," said Associate Professor Rodney Smith.

"Our Postgraduate Research students," he continued, "have enriched their experience by teaching, and that involves them taking on higher responsibilities. In addition to taking part in tutorials each week, it involves things like taking part in the planning of the curriculum and syllabus, taking part in perhaps some lectures, and taking part in the other activities of departments."

He then handed over to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Duncan Ivison, to present certificates that ratify the induction of the faculty's sixteen Teaching Fellows of 2013.

"It's fantastic to see you all here," said Professor Ivison. He then commented that the two-day orientation was for "connecting a community of scholars, and that is not just the academic staff that work here, but also you."

Teaching Fellowship
Professor Duncan Ivison presents Teaching Fellowship to Nancy Lee.

"I do hope (it) is the beginning of your induction into a community that is going to support you over the next two, three, or four…or five…or six years," he said to audience laughter. He then presented the fellowships to the applause of a supportive community crowd. With the official proceedings over, the postgraduate students, old and new, continued to make connections into the evening.

As was hinted at earlier in the night by Associate Professor Smith, at the following days lunch, Dominic Knight was able to come and speak at the induction as planned.

"At lease I succeeded on my second attempt, unlike Kevin Rudd," said Knight of having to miss his speech the evening before. Now speaking from the Law School Foyer, he joked of the Nicholson Museum venue he was supposed to originally talk from: "It seemed rather fitting to welcome the next generation of innovative, technologically literate, forward thinking postgraduates to the Arts faculty in a fusty old room full of dead things."

In a talk full of self-deprecating humour, which he hoped would "supplement the faculty's version of what you 'officially' need to know" in the handbook as a PG research student", he reminded the audience of their standing within the university.

"As an undergrad you used to really resent the mature-aged students who sit up the front and ask all the questions and monopolise the lecturer. Now we're all mature aged students! Welcome aboard!"

Radio broadcaster
Radio broadcaster, author and Doctor of Arts candidate Dominic Knight speaks to new postgraduate research students.

Knight provided a year-by-year account of postgraduate research, starting with "the first year (where) you drink a lot of coffee and write about 10,000 words…on your blog" to submitting your thesis, at which time "you pay for bludging in your first year, big time."

But he finished on a serious note: "Over the course of my degree, particularly in recent years of my Doctor of Arts degree, I've met some truly legendary figures and some award-winning people. It's incredible, I feel massively underqualified to meet some of my fellow students. It's been a wonderful thing. But they are our peers and that's what makes this such a special place."

Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208, 0434 561 056

Email: 0c351c13423e273a3d181129005d3851384f063d31402347