Distinctions within universities between 'academic' and 'professional' staff hides the plethora of roles and opportunities for individuals with research backgrounds who are able to bridge these two spheres. This 'third space' (sometimes referred to as 'alt-ac') within higher education encompasses diverse roles where the boundaries between what was traditionally seen as academic work are blended with those of professional work. Examples of work within this third space can be found in both academic and professional roles and each have unique pros and cons.

 This session:

  • Discusses the differences between academic and professional roles within higher education
  • Provides examples of roles in the 'third space'
  • Considers the pros and cons of these roles
  • Suggests ways of preparing for employment in this space 

By the end of this workshop you will have:

  • An understanding of the benefits and challenges of 'third space' roles
  • Considered how the pros and cons of these roles fit within your career goals
  • Identified skill sets you have/need to work in this area

This workshop is suitable for all HDR candidates, but will be most useful for those in the mid-stages of candidature.

About the presenter

Dr Rachael Pitt is the HDR Careers Advisor in the Graduate School and has extensive experience in both academic and professional roles at Australian universities and has published on higher education, and doctoral employability and careers. She currently facilitates career development and employability workshops, coordinates UQ’s HDR Career Development Mentoring Program, and provides individual consultations for UQ’s HDR Candidates on career destinations and preparation, skill identification and communication, how to approach potential placement organisations, and job application processes and documentation. UQ HDR Candidates can make an appointment with Rachael here for an individual consultation.

May be eligible for CDSE.

About Career planning


Book an appointment with the Graduate School's HDR Careers Advisor

Many research students intend to follow an academic career path on completion of their degree. But what does an academic career really look like? And, if you knew what to expect, would you still wish to pursue that path?

Researchers work in all facets of government, industry, NGOs and universities. Understanding the diverse range of career options available will allow you to reflect on the 'fit' between academia and your own strengths and interests. 

It is important to start considering your options and plan for your post-HDR career during your studies so you are well prepared to transition to the workplace as a PhD or MPhil qualified individual. The Graduate School supports you in this process through the Career Development Framework (CDF) as well as with a dedicated HDR Careers Advisor who specialises in advising HDR candidates. The Careers Advisor is available for appointments to discuss career options, CV development, interview techniques and other career-related topics. These appointments are designed to complement the existing suite of career-related workshops which are already offered as part of the CDF.

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