Christina Malatzky, Postgraduate Portfolio Leader:
It is with much pleasure that I congratulate Ashleigh Watson on being elected as the Postgraduate Portfolio Leader from January 2017. Ashleigh is a PhD candidate at Griffith University and has a passion for Public and Applied Sociology. TASA’s postgraduate members will have an opportunity to meet Ashleigh at the upcoming conference, and a special lunchtime session during the conference is being arranged for postgraduate members to speak to Ashleigh about the priorities for postgraduates in the Association for 2017–2018.
To assist Ashleigh in representing and furthering the interests of all postgraduate members, there is currently a call for expressions of interest to join the Postgraduate Sub-Committee (PGSC) for the 2017–2018 term. The PGSC consists of a maximum of seven members who usually serve a two-year term. They meet online approximately three times a year and face-to-face at the annual conference. Key areas of focus for the PGSC include international networks with similar postgraduate organisations, TASA postgraduate web strategies and information dissemination, and postgraduate transitions to employment. Since forming, the committee have worked on several projects including the postgraduate website. The PGSC roles are established at the beginning of each term and depend on the direction the committee wants to go in. Current committee roles include thesis approver, blog poster, resources locator and uploader, podcast locater and uploader, and events finder and poster. If you are interested in this unique opportunity to demonstrate service to the discipline of Sociology, please contact me or Sally Daly, TASA Executive Officer, before 31 October 2016. On behalf of all members, I give sincere thanks to Monika Dryburgh, Laura Gobey, Ashlin Lee and Ly Phan for their extended and exceptional service on the PGSC. They will receive formal recognition for their service at the TASA Annual Conference in November.
In other exciting news for TASA’s postgraduate members, the Executive have introduced a new prize, the Most Distinguished Peer-Reviewed Article Published by an Early Career Researcher. This has been done in an effort to better support early career members of TASA, by providing more opportunities them to gain recognition for the quality of their scholarship and enhance their reputations, especially within interdisciplinary teams. The first nominations have been of exceptional quality spanning a diverse range of topics, and the inaugural winner of this prize will be announced at the TASA Annual Conference in November.
I am sure that the 2016 Postgraduate Day will be another great event for our members. Sessions focus on: making the most out conferencing; work/life balance in academia (honest conversations); and working outside of sociology departments and the university. There are also special timeslots for mentoring from senior sociologists in small groups and teaching sociology – the Teaching Sociology thematic group will be leading an open session workshop with demonstrations of best practice after afternoon tea. All postgraduate members are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in the day.
In the past, TASA’s Postgraduate Day has been held concurrently with the November Executive meeting. This year, the TASA Executive is to trial holding the November Executive meeting on the Sunday before the TASA Annual Conference starts, so that it does not clash with Postgraduate Day. This will mean that I will be able to dedicate my whole time and attention to the Postgraduate Day and also to representing the views and interests of TASA’s postgraduate members in the Executive meeting, rather than weaving in and out of both events. This change will also allow other members of TASA’s Executive to contribute to Postgraduate Day and postgraduate members will have greater opportunities to make connections with these leading Australian sociologists. I am hoping this trial will be a success.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all TASA members for giving me the opportunity to serve on the Executive as the Postgraduate Portfolio Leader for 2015–2016. I am usually a quiet, generally shy person, who also happens to love the discipline of sociology. Serving as the Postgraduate Portfolio Leader has given me a new sense of confidence within this discipline and allowed me to serve the interests of others who are, like myself, wanting to grow as sociologists. I hope to have another opportunity sometime in the future to serve the Australian sociological community. It has been such an honour. Thank you.