Dean's Message

Whether you’re an undergraduate student with dreams of continuing your studies, a current graduate student who’s starting to think about job prospects or a faculty member who mentors the next generation of academics, we are all aware that postsecondary institutions in the 21st century face challenges when it comes to graduate education.

My colleague Tom Spalding, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, is organizing a conference that will explore some of these challenges as they relate specifically to the arts. “Future of the PhD in the Arts: Changing conditions for graduate education in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts” takes place March 20th in Lister Centre.

I’m honoured to be one of four people invited to speak that day. My talk will focus on the institution’s role in providing graduate students with so-called transferable skills and the kind of changes that need to take place for this to happen.

Paul Yachnin from McGill University will also share an institutional perspective, discussing the need for PhD students to cultivate public skills that can translate to careers outside the academy.

Robert Roach from ATB Financial will speak “from the outside looking in,” shedding light on how people with PhDs are viewed by non-academic employers in the business, non-profit and government sectors.

The day will be capped off with a keynote presentation from Anne Krook, a former professor who is perhaps best known for her career with She will address the question of what Humanities PhD programs need to do to train students to thrive in both the academic and non-academic job markets.

These are incredibly important topics – ones that we can’t afford to ignore if we want to ensure we’re keeping pace with the changing needs of our graduate students and providing them with the best education possible.

I look forward to this opportunity for all of us to share our insights and ideas, and I encourage anyone with an interest in graduate education to attend. You can RSVP here.

Lesley Cormack
Dean of Arts