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Academic Career Conference

Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Time: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Location: Hagey Hall

                     University of Waterloo

                     200 University Avenue West

                     Waterloo, ON

Full-day conference to better prepare you for the academic work search, including document and interview preparation as well as advice and insights from faculty members.

  • Open to PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Coffee/tea and lunch provided

Registration opens on September 24th, 2018!

Please note: This event is free for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. However, a $10.00 materials fee will be charged in the event of a late cancellation (cancellation that is not made 3 days or more before October 10th), no show or incomplete attendance.


8:30am to 9:00am

Coffee/tea + Registration 

9:00am to 9:15am

Welcome and Introduction

9:15am to 10:15am

Keynote: Kirsten Müller, Professor, Biology & Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Science

10:15am to 10:30am


10:30am to 12:00pm

Concurrent Workshops

  • Statements of Teaching Philosophy
  • Research Statements

12:00pm to 1:00pm


1:00pm to


Concurrent Workshops

  • Cover Letters and CVs
  • Academic Interviews

2:30pm to 2:45pm


2:45pm to 4:15pm

Faculty Perspectives on the Hiring Process

  • STEM
  • Social/Health Sciences & Humanities

4:15pm to 4:30pm

Closing remarks

Program Description


 Kirsten Müller, Professor, Biology & Associate Dean, Graduate Studies, Science

Dr. Kirsten Müller is a Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Science. Dr. Müller has been a faculty member since 2000, prior to that she completed a PhD at the University of Guelph and a Postdoctoral position for one year at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Müller’s research focuses on the ecology and taxonomy (naming) of algae including problematic (toxic algal blooms) and invasive species as well as the impacts of forest fire on rivers in Alberta where she is originally from.  In addition, she is an expert in a group of red algae that are of considerable economic importance known as Pyropia/Porphyra or Nori. Dr. Müller is also a mother of three children, ages 15, 11 and 6.


Workshop: Statements of Teaching Philosophy

Facilitator: Stephanie White, Instructional Developer, TA Training and Writing Support, Centre for Teaching Excellence

As a future academic job candidate, you may be required to include a “teaching statement“ or “statement of teaching philosophy“ in your applications. But how do you begin writing a teaching statement, and how do you keep it from becoming cheesy or inauthentic? Attend this hands-on workshop to learn concrete strategies for creating a statement of teaching philosophy that is persuasive and professional. Led by Stephanie White, PhD, Instructional Developer at the Centre for Teaching Excellence.


Workshop: Research Statements

Facilitator: Nadine Fladd, Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist, Writing and Communication Centre

Postings for tenure—track academic positions often require a “research statement” or a “statement of research interests” in addition to a CV, cover letter and teaching dossier. In this interactive workshop, you‘ll learn and apply strategies for developing a compelling, cohesive research statement that is also realistic and written in an accessible style. Led by Nadine Fladd, Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist, at the Writing and Communication Centre.


Workshop: Cover Letters and CVs

Facilitator: Erica Refling, Graduate Career Advisor, Centre for Career Action

In this interactive workshop, you’ll learn how to prepare an effective curriculum vitae (CV) as well as how to write a professional and compelling cover letter for professor/lecturer positions.


Workshop: Academic Interviews

Facilitator: Kira Bruschke, Graduate Career Advisor, Centre for Career Action

Through this interactive workshop, you’ll become better prepared for a campus interview. In addition to learning about a typical campus interview schedule, you’ll learn to analyze interview questions and evaluate and develop effective responses to these questions.


Panel: Faculty Perspectives on the Hiring Process (STEM)


Pearl Sullivan, Dean & Professor, Engineering

 Pearl Sullivan was appointed the Dean of Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2012, after serving as Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering from 2006 to 2011. She was recognized with the University’s Outstanding Performance Award in 2009. As Dean of Canada’s largest engineering school, Dr. Sullivan believes that education can develop exceptional tech talent and future leaders by enabling students to experience early, innovate early and incubate their ideas early - right from the first day of school. She received her BEng with distinction and MASc degrees in metallurgical engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia.  After earning her PhD degree in materials engineering from the University of British Columbia, she started her academic career at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, in 1991.  She returned to Canada in 1994 to join the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, where she was twice honoured with the UNB Faculty Merit Award for Excellence. Dr. Sullivan currently serves on the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board. She is Professional Engineer, a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials (U.K.).


Hugh Broders, Department Chair & Professor, Biology

 Hugh is an evolutionary ecologist whose primary research focus is on the demography, life history and migratory movement of bats. He is Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo. Prior to arriving at Waterloo 2 years ago we was a Professor and served a 5-year term as Chair of the Department of Biology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  In his various roles Hugh has been involved in the recruiting of volunteers and technicians for research, supervision of graduate students and the hiring of staff and faculty to each of Saint Mary’s University and the University of Waterloo.


Douglas Stebila, Associate Professor, Combinatorics & Optimization

Dr. Stebila is an Associate Professor in the Department of Combinatorics & Optimization, which he joined in July 2018.  He earned his degrees from Waterloo (BMath, PhD) and Oxford (MSc). After finishing his PhD, he spent 7 years at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia (first as a postdoc, then lecturer, then senior lecturer) and 2 years as an Assistant Professor at McMaster University.  His primary research interest is cryptography, specifically on improving the security of Internet cryptography protocols and developing practical quantum-resistant cryptosystems. He has developed and taught a variety of introductory and advanced courses in mathematics and computer science.


Panel: Faculty Perspectives on the Hiring Process (Social/Health Sciences & Humanities)


Lorne Dawson, Professor, Sociology & Legal Studies and Religious Studies

Lorne Dawson is a Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Legal Studies and Religious Studies, and he has served as Chair of both departments. Since arriving at the University of Waterloo in 1992 he has been on dozens of hiring committees. For much of his career his research was in the sociology of religion, and more specifically new religious movements. Ten years ago the focus of his research shifted to violent political extremism and the process of radicalization leading to violence. He is the co-founder and Director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society (, located at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He has published 3 books, 4 edited books, and over 70 academic articles and book chapters. He makes numerous invited presentations to academic and government groups, and is frequently interviewed in the media about terrorism and countering violent extremism.


Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, Assistant Professor, English Language & Literature

Dr. Mehlenbacher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature (2015-present). Previously she was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Communication, Networks, and Innovation in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University (2014-2015). Mehlenbacher earned her Ph.D. (2014) in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media at North Carolina State University. Mehlenbacher is also an Ontario Early Researcher Award holder (2017-2022), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant holder (2018-2022), a General Editor at Genre Across Borders, a member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Genre Research at the University of Copenhagen, and the First-Vice President for the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Her research examines how science communication is changing with new—especially networked—technologies and also with different communities becoming involved in scientific research and policy-making. She is the author of the forthcoming book Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet (The Ohio State University Press, Spring 2019), and the co-editor of Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (Palgrave, 2017).


Plinio Morita, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems

Dr. Morita is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (2016-present) and holds the J.W. Graham Information Technology Emerging Leader Chair in Applied Health Informatics. He is also an Assistant Professor (status-only) at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. As the Director of the Ubiquitous Health Technology Lab (UbiLab) at the University of Waterloo, Morita’s research focuses on the kinds of technologies that enable individuals to live longer independent lives. In addition to his academic appointments, Morita is a Research Scientist for the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Techna Institute, University Health Network, as well as a Research Scientist at the Research Institute for Aging. Morita earned his Ph.D. (2014) in Human Factors Engineering at the University of Waterloo, where he was a Vanier scholar, participated in student government, and acted as a Graduate Instructional Developer at the Centre for Teaching Excellence. In addition to spending three months at Kyoto University on a JSPS Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2013) conducting cross-cultural research, Morita was a Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2016) at Healthcare Human Factors. Morita also has a variety of experiences in industry that have been a vital contributor to his success in academia.


Registration opens September 24, 2018 at 10am!