Two academic jobs

2006-06-25

in Oxford, Politics

In the last week or so, I have found two short-term but remunerative pieces of academic work. Firstly, I will be giving a lecture on July 10th to a group of American undergraduates on Canada/US security and defence cooperation since September 11th. The lecture is part of a program being run by Regent University, in association with Hertford College, in which American undergrads are coming to Oxford to learn about strategic studies. Since the topic I have been assigned is almost exactly what the NASCA report was about, and I did a considerable amount of background research before we went to Colorado Springs, that should just be a matter of bringing things back together in a way that will fit into an hour and be accessible to people unfamiliar with the topic. My provisional outline will be to cover:

  1. Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom
  2. The creation of USNORTHCOM and the Bi-National Planning Group
  3. Canada’s decision regarding Iraq
  4. NORAD and missile defence
  5. And border security, including the Smart Border Declaration

Obviously, it cannot be covered comprehensively in an hour. Given that they probably won’t be at all familiar with Canada’s security role after September 11th, it is probably fine to just cover the basics well and then answer any specific questions afterwards.

The other teaching job is to read three papers and conduct three tutorials on the Camp David Accords. These will be with an American high school student who will be in Oxford for a few weeks as part of a program being run by St. Hugh’s. I should get the first paper by next Sunday, then discuss it on the Monday or Tuesday of that week. For the next two weeks, I am to suggest additional paper topics to be completed and discussed according to the same pattern.

To be honest, I am a bit nervous about both jobs. I’ve never actually done academic work that involves working with students in an official capacity. I have no concerns about the material for the first topic. The second, I have less expertise in. That said, the person with whom I will be working on it is in high school. By fortuitous chance, I am also writing a paper on the Arab-Israeli conflict for Dr. Hurrell. I think that if I pay special attention to material on Camp David, as well as reading a few journal articles specifically on the topic, I should be fine. Sarah P’s encouragement has also been helpful.

Actually doing work in areas that I’ve been studying for such a long time is definitely exciting, as well as slightly concerning, due to my unfamiliarity. The fact that each job pays more than anything else I have ever done is also a considerable inducement. The lecture pays as much as a day and a half at Staples, for an hour’s lecturing plus preparation time. The tutorial job pays as much as nearly five days’ work at my last summer job: enough to cover two weeks of my rent here. In addition to that, there is considerable satisfaction to be derived from doing ‘real’ work, rather than filler work intended to pay the bills.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben June 25, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Glad you got the job. If you’re going to the reception/dinner on the 2nd, I’ll probably see you there.

As for teaching experience/qualification, did you go the the department’s tutorial teaching seminar last week?

Milan June 25, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Ben,

Thanks a lot for directing me towards the tutorial job. I haven’t met Henry Speck yet, but I am to do so on Wednesday. I’ve already been put in email contact with the high school student I am to be working with.

Regarding the tutorial register, Dr. Hurrell said that M.Phil students are not, as a rule, allowed to be part of the tutorial register. He said that if I want to join it, I need to submit a special application once I get the results of my Research Design Essay back. That said, he has indicated that we should talk about possible research assistant work when we meet tomorrow.

B June 25, 2006 at 4:19 pm

I’m glad you got some decent work, even if it’s not enough to fill a summer.

It’s funny how you are trying to do work on the environment, but all the funded stuff relates to bombs and rockets: NASCA, SCUSA, these two jobs, etc.

Ben June 25, 2006 at 6:32 pm

I’m not sure if Dr Hurrell is up to date with the rules. Prior to the year just finished, MPhil students weren’t allowed at all. Now 2nd years are, and I don’t think it’s exceptional (though uptake hasn’t been high, afaik)

“Department does not allow first year MPhil or MSc students onto the register. They may however apply for entry to the register in Trinity of their first year of study for inclusion in the Trinity Term update in preparation for teaching in Michaelmas term of their second year.”

(from http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/teaching/resources/tutreg/policy.asp)

In any case, I think it would’ve been worth attending the training session – I think the department suggested there wouldn’t be another in Michaelmas.

Still, too late now. At least the MPhil has given you some experience of Oxford tutorials!

Milan June 25, 2006 at 6:39 pm

Ben,

I was also confused, given that Marga sent us a number of emails encouraging us to attend this session and sign up. In order to submit the application form, however, I needed Dr. Hurrell’s signature. When I met with him, he told me that I was not eligible. I will probably be too busy next year to teach tutorials anyhow, and these ones over the summer don’t seem to require such formal training.

I should certainly have gone to the training session, it seems, though not necessarily for the tutorial register itself. I will make sure to attend the one in Michaelmas.

Ian June 25, 2006 at 8:27 pm

Excellent news re tutorials – your greatest obstacle, though, might be fighting some fairly well-entrenched misconceptions about Canada (and, indeed, the rest of the world). Canada’s Ambassador in Washington is becoming increasingly acerbic in correcting members of Congress who insist – despite unanswerable evidence to the contrary – that some of the September 11 hijackers crossed into the US from Canada. It wouldn’t surprise me if a fair number of US citizens continue to believe this, and other nonsense about their neighbour to the north (that that know that Canada is located to the north of the continental US, that is).

I remember the CBC touting this possibility on the dreadful day itself, but I have never thought the point had any merit. If terrorists cross illegally, is it Canada’s fault for not detecting them on their way out, or that of the US for failing to be aware of them on their way in? And if they entered legally…if there is a country which submits visitors to more of a grilling as to why they’re seeking entry then the US (even before 9/11), I’ve yet to discover it (and I speak as one who works in about 45 countries).

Milan June 25, 2006 at 8:33 pm

Ian,

Regarding the attitudes the students are likely to have about Canada, it is hard to know. Regent University is an accredited U.S. Christian university with its main campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Apparently, it was founded in 1977 by none other than Pat Robertson. I hope the people organizing the lecture series don’t find my pro-gay marriage posts…

As a general listing of the most important topics in Canada-US security and Defence cooperation since September 11th, do you think the above five are best? Devoting twelve minutes each, minus questions and other interruptions, will already be stretching things.

Milan June 25, 2006 at 8:54 pm

Many of those quotes are really scary. Now I have a whole new reason to be worried about this upcoming lecture.

R.K. June 25, 2006 at 8:48 pm

Speaking of Robertson, here is a really ugly page full of quotations from him.

R.K. June 25, 2006 at 8:50 pm

I especially like: “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.”

Alena Prazak June 26, 2006 at 5:26 am

I am very proud of you to have been given this work. You have a great deal of knowledge in the field; just have some fun with presenting it. I have no doubt that you will shine. Why not get a volunteer job with some environmental organization as well?

Milan June 26, 2006 at 10:24 am

I think thesis research will be the environmental adjunct of whatever else I do over the summer. There is certainly a huge amount to be done.

Milan June 28, 2006 at 12:42 pm

I met with Henry Speck from the St. Hugh’s College Summer School today. That’s the tutorial job, and it seems to be all lined up. I may even be able to do another three tutorial set in August.

Anonymous July 4, 2006 at 12:46 am

Gotta love those American conservatives:

“The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’ ”
—Jerry Falwell, September 13, 2001

Milan July 6, 2006 at 5:24 pm

Anyone who is interested can find the bibliography for my lecture tomorrow online here.

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