The first few years after completing a PhD can be challenging to navigate. Job hunting, interviewing, navigating new contexts such as a junior academic position, applying for funding as a first time project investigator, learning to adapt to the culture of an industry-based workplace, supervising graduate students or full-time employees – these are just a few of the scenarios recent PhD graduates find themselves in. Within HCI, one may encounter more discipline-specific challenges, such as keeping up with the CHI publication cycles while taking on new administrative duties. The CHI community, however, strives to be collectively supportive and inclusive of researchers at all stages of their career – this is even more important as many of our design approaches are rooted in empathy for and empowerment of participants. By more actively supporting each other as researchers in our career paths, we can better grow as a community, and reflect it back into our collective body of practice. The Early Career Development Symposium has been proposed (and twice held) to provide a more formal mentoring venue that reflects our aims as a community to more meaningfully support each other.
This one-day Symposium will help new PhDs develop their careers in HCI. Participants will get the opportunity to engage with senior HCI mentors and peers, and will come away with a better understanding of how they want to develop as HCI researchers. The event is open for applications from all members of the international HCI community who have received their PhDs in the past five years.
The Symposium is modelled after the CHI Doctoral Consortia and the Career Development events at CHI 2016, 2017, and 2018. Participants will make presentations and receive feedback on their professional activities and goals, followed by discussion of topics most important to the participants. Participants will also have opportunities to strengthen their professional networks with one another, and with the senior CHI mentors. Unlike the format of Doctoral Consortia, we focus more on career challenges, and less on the contents of research programs. We will also hold a series of panels in which senior researchers discuss (a) choosing career directions; (b) developing a career trajectory; (c) getting started in professional service; and (d) issues of work/life balance. Topics may include:
- Building a cohort group of HCI colleagues (local, institutional, and virtual)
- Establishing a successful career path in academia, industry, and/or the nonprofit sector
- Fitting into departments e.g., what if I am the only HCI person in my department
- Recruiting and working with graduate and undergraduate students
- Transitioning from industry to academia, academia to industry, or from periods of leave or unemployment back to work
- Selecting and developing a research trajectory.
- Identifying potential funding sources and preparing proposals.
- Getting involved in professional service.
- Communicating your work and strengthening your public profile.
- Adapting to life in industry: working with colleagues across different technical, disciplinary and educational backgrounds, dealing with the business side of a large company, dealing with clients
- Balancing work, family and social life.
The Symposium will engage several mentors (long-time members of the CHI community) with approximately 25 early career researchers in exchanging personal experiences about the challenges (and rewards) of beginning their post-PhD HCI research life.
Mentors will be invited after the selection of symposium attendees is finalized, aiming to ensure a wide range of mentors’ experiences, employment (industry / academia), career trajectory, as well as diversity of geography, race, or gender that is representative of the CHI community. We aim for a ratio of 1 mentor per 5 attendees.
The symposium aims to create a safe space for all participants to share and discuss what can be at times very personal experiences. Participants (and mentors) will be asked to commit to confidentiality (including formalizing this) in order to ensure everyone is comfortable during the symposium. Submissions by participants will not be posted publicly, and will not be shared with anyone outside the symposium.
The symposium will be structured around the sharing of experiences, divided in several mini-sessions. The first session will be plenary, where participants introduce themselves, followed by brief discussions around the challenges they encounter in their early career. The second session will build on that momentum, and will consist of small-group discussions exploring these challenges in groups. The discussions will be facilitated by a senior mentor (one for each group), who will also take notes and synthesize key challenges. Participants will also contribute directly to the synthesis (e.g. using post-it notes and further clustering / refining the challenges). The third session again will be a plenary, where each group will report on some of the identified challenges (and advice / shared experiences by mentors), followed up by a final session of plenary discussions. In between the second and third session a small one-on-one encounter activity will be carried out, with each participant being asked to exchange experiences / personal stories with at least two others (who were not part of the same initial group).
Call for submission
We invite CHI participants to attend the Career Development Symposium. To be eligible, one must have received a PhD within no more than 5 years from the date of the application to the symposium. The 5 year period does not include “outside circumstances,” extensive leaves of absence such as parental, family caregiving, illness, etc. Participants must have completed all of the requirements of their PhD by the time of the application to the symposium. For universities where the formal PhD title is conferred only once a year, the completion of PhD requirements means successfully defending / presenting the PhD dissertation, completion of all final revisions, and acceptance of the revisions by the PhD examination committee.
To apply, please submit the following by email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- A single-authored paper (maximum of 3 pages) in SIGCHI Extended Abstract format describing:
- Educational background and current position
- Current research (brief overview, for context only)
- Current challenges/experiences, including student mentoring, internships you held, etc.
- Career, research and professional service goals for the next 5-7 years.
- What you hope to gain from participating in the Symposium.
- Your long-form CV, including links to your website, blog or other public web presence (if available).
Applications for the symposium will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Alignment with HCI research (that is, the symposium is restricted to researchers who for example have published previously in SIGCHI-sponsored venues).
- Potential benefit from being part of the symposium
- Potential to contribute to the symposium
The symposium strives to create an inclusive space that is representative of the diversity of experiences, races, genders, and identities of CHI participants. These may be factored in during the selection process.
Submissions will be kept anonymous and will not be shared with anyone outside the symposium chairs. Participants (upon acceptance) and mentors will be asked to formally commit to protecting the confidentiality of the submissions, any shared documents, and in-person sharing during the symposium.
- 25 January 2019: Submissions due
- 30 January 2019: Decisions announced
- 20 February 2019: Final versions due
- 4 or 5 May 2019: Early Career Development Symposium
Cosmin Munteanu is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology at University of Toronto Mississauga, and Co-Director of the Technologies for Ageing Gracefully lab at University of Toronto. His area of expertise is at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Automatic Speech Recognition, Natural User Interfaces, Mobile Computing, Ethics, and Assistive Technologies, having dedicated the past two decades to investigating the human factors of interacting with information-rich media and intelligent technologies such as speech interfaces. His main research goals are to facilitate natural, meaningful, and safe interactions between people and digital media and devices. Cosmin’s multidisciplinary interests include speech and natural language interaction for mobile devices, mixed reality systems, learning technologies for marginalized users, usable privacy and cyber-safety, assistive technologies for older adults, and ethics in human-computer interaction research.
Professor Sharon Oviatt is Director of HCI and Creative Technologies in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She is internationally known for her work on human-centered interfaces, multimodal-multisensor interfaces, mobile interfaces, educational interfaces, the cognitive impact of computer input tools, and behavioral analytics. She received her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Toronto, and she has been a professor of Computer Science, Information Technology, Psychology, and also Linguistics. Her research is known for its pioneering and multidisciplinary style at the intersection of Computer Science, Psychology, Linguistics, and Learning Sciences. Sharon has published a large volume of high-impact papers (Google Scholar citations >11,300; h-index 48), and her recent books include The Design of Future Educational Interfaces (2013), The Paradigm Shift to Multimodality in Contemporary Computer Interfaces (2015), and the multi-volume Handbook of Multimodal-Multisensor Interfaces (co-edited with Bjoern Schuller, Phil Cohen, Anthony Krueger, Gerasimos Potamianos and Daniel Sonntag, 2017-2019). She has delivered over 100 keynotes, invited talks and tutorials worldwide at conferences, universities and corporate events, and has been recipient of the inaugural ACM-ICMI Sustained Accomplishment Award, National Science Foundation Special Creativity Award, ACM-SIGCHI CHI Academy Award, and an ACM Fellow Award.