Tips for Grads: To be (on faculty) or not to be (on faculty)

By Olivia Gacka, PhD student

…that really is the question, isn’t it? How many times have you been asked “So, do you want to teach?” when you’ve told people you’re in graduate school? First and foremost, whether the answer is yes or no, you are right. Going to graduate school doesn’t mean you’ve pigeonholed yourself into one career path. In fact, being here is opening you up to a world of skills and opportunities that you can take anywhere. If you do want to teach after graduating, that’s great too! You are in a fantastic position to feel out what kind of institution you want to work for and what kinds of things you want to teach.

No matter what you’re thinking of doing after finishing your graduate program, the Graduate School Office of Professional Development offers programming geared towards your interests and goals that they specifically group into these series:

Beyond the Tenure Track

  • For people who are considering non-tenure track positions
  • Find help marketing yourself, describing your graduate school experience in job applications, explore what you can do with your degree, and more
  • In-person, virtual, and asynchronous options available

For Future Faculty

  • For people who are considering faculty careers
  • Find help with written application materials/statements, research and curriculum development, teaching skill development, and more
  • In-person, virtual, and asynchronous options available

Both series are supplemented by UW’s subscription to Aurora, which offers on-demand video seminars from experts both in faculty positions and beyond the professoriate. Aurora is accessible and free to all graduate students with a UW NetID and password.

If you’re unsure which way you’re leaning, that’s perfectly okay! Take some time to scroll through the offerings of both programs. It’ll give you an idea of what people on both sides of the coin are thinking, doing, and talking about. Either way, this programming is designed to reflect the fact that the graduate school supports all career paths for students. So take a deep breath, you’re in the right place!

Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW­–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.