From UBC Wiki

Course Goals and Outcomes

This proseminar introduces skills and knowledge to help graduate students advance through the doctoral program and toward a career in academia or related fields. It is intended for, and required of, PhD students in Asian Studies before their advancement to candidacy. It is also open (for audit) to PhD candidates and (for credit or audit) to graduate students in other fields in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Each student will produce a draft dossier of material for academic and other employment and for grant applications: a curriculum vitae, a cover letter, sample syllabi and course proposals, and statements on teaching and research. They will also develop planning and record-keeping skills to define and meet professional goals and to keep their dossier up to date.

The course will also help students shape and contextualize their career plans by introducing the formal and informal structures of the academy: the doctoral program; the dissertation-writing process; writing and publishing; conferences and networking; grants and fellowships; and the job application and hiring process.

The seminar begins from the assumption that other classes and activities teach disciplinary skills and prepare students to function as independent teachers and researchers, but these may not prepare them for other tasks central to their careers. To this end, students will learn about the workings of academic and related institutions in order to navigate a successful career path in academia or related areas. They will also develop the important skill of effectively communicating their expertise to a range of audiences, including peers in their specialty, colleagues in other fields, students, administrators, and broader publics, using appropriate language and formats.

The broad objective of the course is to introduce the trajectories through the doctoral program and into a scholarly or alternative career, with particular attention to strategies for long-term success and minimal time to completion.

Readings and Course Materials

All required and supplementary material will be posted on Canvas, available via the class wiki (, or distributed in class.

Seminar Structure and Activities

Each class meeting will have homework which must be completed and typically brought to class in the form of three hard copies. Instructions for completing each homework assignment will be found on the syllabus. (For some assignments example versions or templates will also be provided on the Canvas site.) The class will generally begin with lecture and discussion about the topic for the day, and then the homework—for example, a draft CV—will be workshopped. One copy will go to the instructor, to be returned later with comments. The other two copies will go to other students, so that, working in small groups, they can read and provide feedback on each other’s materials.

Component Weight
Participation 30%
Assignments 25%
Wiki 5%
Final Portfolio 40%


Students are expected to attend all classes, prepare all assignments, and participate in a productive manner by providing feedback to classmates on their work. After receiving feedback on each element of the portfolio from the instructor and classmates, students are expected to revise their work, to be submitted at the end of the term as a complete portfolio.

Regular attendance is expected. Be sure to notify the instructor if you will not be able to attend. Participation includes questions and discussion during or outside class sessions (including class discussion, office hours, and other communications such as email), feedback to peers, and contributions to the Canvas discussion forum (questions, comments, and information you share). Your participation will be evaluated for attention, constructiveness, frequency, and engagement.

Most assignments are intended to be drafts and will be assessed as such, not as final documents, but they should be complete and must be handed in on time, for distribution to classmates and to the instructor. It is important to bring the assignments for discussion at each class meeting. In order to workshop the homework with classmates, bring three hard copies of each assignment, unless instructed otherwise.

Incomplete assignments will be penalized, and late assignments, which are to be submitted only to the instructor, will be penalized at least 10% per day without prior agreement.

Everyone will also contribute to the course wiki: be sure to check this page for resources related to each week’s themes, but also to add and/or comment on material listed there. There will be time in class to introduce your findings and assessments. Along with the final portfolio, submit a summary of your contributions to the wiki by April 22.

The final portfolio is due on Monday, April 22 at 4:00 pm. It will consist of polished versions of a set of weekly assignments, revised to reflect comments from peers and the instructor. It will be evaluated for completeness, quality (of the documents as documents, not for the information they record), and response to feedback.

Academic Integrity and Responsibility

As a member of this class, you are responsible for contributing to the course objectives through your participation in class activities and your written and other work and projects. In the process of coming into your own as an independent, responsible participant in the academic community, you are encouraged to seek advice, clarification, and guidance in your learning from the instructor. If you decide to seek help beyond the resources of this course, you are responsible for ensuring that this help does not lead you to submit others’ work as your own. If an outside tutor or other person helps you, show this policy to your tutor or helper: make sure you both understand the limits of this person’s permissible contribution.

Academic communities depend on their members’ honesty and integrity in representing the sources of reasoning, claims, and wordings which appear in their work. Like any other member of the academic community, you will be held responsible for the accurate representation of your sources: the means by which you produced the work you are submitting. If you are found to have misrepresented your sources and to have submitted others’ work as your own, or to have submitted work for which you have already received credit in another course, penalties may follow. Your case may be forwarded to the Head of the department, who may decide that you should receive zero for the assignment. The Head will report your case to the Dean’s Office, where it will remain on file. The Head may decide, in consultation with your instructor, that a greater penalty is called for, and will forward your case to the Dean’s Office. After an interview in the Dean’s Office, your case may be forwarded to the President’s Advisory Committee on Academic Misconduct. Following a hearing in which you will be asked to account for your actions, the President may apply penalties including zero for the assignment; zero for the course; suspension from the university for a period ranging from 4 to 24 months; a notation on your permanent record. The penalty may be a combination of these.

Academic communities also depend on their members’ living up to the commitments they make. By enrolling in this course, you make commitments to an academic community: you are responsible for meeting deadlines; attending class and engaging in class activities; guaranteeing that the work you submit for this course has not already been submitted for credit in another course.

Illness, Absence, and Missed Work

If you are sick, it is important that you stay home.

In this class, the marking scheme is intended to provide flexibility so that you can prioritize your health and still succeed.

If you have missed or will miss class because of illness:

Please also email the instructor to discuss alternate arrangements. Students can also help each other by sharing notes, individually or via the discussion forum.

As an instructor, if I am feeling ill

I will not come to class. I will make every reasonable attempt to communicate plans for class as soon as possible. Our classroom will still be available for you to sit in and attend an online session, if we hold one.

If you miss marked coursework for the first time and the course is still in progress, speak with me immediately to find a solution for your missed coursework. Any concessions that will result in a change to the student record will be referred to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for evaluation. If this is not the first time you have requested concession or classes are over, please consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ webpage on academic concession, then contact me where appropriate. If you are a student in a different Faculty, please consult your Faculty’s webpage on academic concession, then contact me if appropriate.

If you experience medical, emotional, or personal problems that affect your attendance or academic performance, please notify Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or your home faculty’s advising office. If you are registered with Access and Diversity, you should notify the instructor. If you are planning to be absent for varsity athletics, family obligations, or other commitments, you should discuss your commitments with the instructor before the drop date.

University’s Values and Policies Statement

UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious and cultural observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions. Details of the policies and how to access support are available here (

Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities:

Academic accommodations help students with a disability or ongoing medical condition overcome challenges that may affect their academic success. Students requiring academic accommodations must register with the Centre for Accessibility (previously known as Access & Diversity). The Centre will determine that student's eligibility for accommodations in accordance with Policy LR7: Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities. Academic accommodations are not determined by your instructors, and instructors should not ask you about the nature of your disability or ongoing medical condition, or request copies of your disability documentation. However, your instructor may consult with the Centre for Accessibility should the accommodations affect the essential learning outcomes of a course.

Weekly Schedule (subject to change)

Date Topic Themes Assignment due
01/10 Introduction Purposes of the course

Student introductions

01/17 How to PhD? Why PhD? What is a PhD? What is a PhD in Asian Studies?

Structure of the PhD program: stages, roles of supervisor and committee, timelines

Sources of guidance and support

Career possibilities and challenges

List of courses & language requirements

Draft timeline

01/24 Thinking about Research Designing a research question iteratively

A range of research processes

Research communities

Two research questions (yours, someone else’s)
01/31 Grants & Scholarships Types of grants and scholarships/fellowships

How are they advertised? Adjudicated?

Strategizing the application process

The SSHRC/AF/award process at UBC

One-page program of study
02/07 Conferencing Types of conferences, panels, workshops, and other presentations

When and where to present, how to apply; the evaluation process

Value of presentations on a CV

Publications from conference papers

Beyond the panel: What else happens at conferences?

Panel proposal + paper proposal
02/14 Writing & Publishing How does scholarly publishing work?

Venues and types of publication; non-traditional media

When, where, and how to submit a manuscript—and how it will be assessed

How publications are valued by job committees

Reading Week—No Class Meeting
02/28 Job Search Basics

The CV

Types of institutions, programs, and positions: postdocs, professorships, para-academics

Finding and interpreting postings: What kind of job is this? Is it for me?

The hiring process: What do they want?

What application material to provide

What does and doesn’t belong on a CV? Keeping up to date

Draft CV
03/06 Better CVs Written and unwritten standards of formatting and contents

Balancing standardization and individuality

Standard formats (SSHRC, etc.)

Dealing with complicated issues: non-academic work, gaps, non-traditional background

Polished CV
03/13 Designing Syllabi Understanding the ecosystem of courses: undergraduate vs graduate, introductory vs advanced, lecture vs seminar, etc.

What is the purpose of a course? How does it fit into a program?

What goes on the syllabus? What doesn’t?

How students read syllabi; how professors read syllabi

Draft syllabus
03/20 Planning & Explaining Your Teaching Different kinds of institutions, programs, and positions; different expectations (and guessing what they are)

Turning a topic or idea into a class

What does a course proposal look like? How will it be assessed and evaluated?

What is a teaching philosophy statement? Why do employers want them? Opportunities and pitfalls

Course proposal
03/27 Philosophy Statements

(for non-philosophers)

Teaching and research philosophy statements

Finding your scholarly (and non-scholarly) identity

Teaching philosophy statement
04/03 Summing It Up What does the cover letter do? How should it look?

What goes in the letter, the cv, the statements?

Fitting in and standing out

Cover letter
04/10 Conclusion Your overall presence and presentation: Who you—and Google—think you are Bioblurb
04/22 Portfolio due: via Canvas or as hardcopy to Asian Studies office