lookslikelibraryscience:

I’m Tanvi Rastogi, Youth Services Librarian at the Hunterdon County Library in NJ. Armed with a BA in Sociology, I decided to pursue librarianship because I believed in the idea of equal access to info; it wasn’t until after my first library job (as a shelver!) that my like of books evolved into a full-blown love.  Now reading for me is as easy and urgent as breathing and loving.  Every day I hope to share that excitement with kids and their parents.I love all aspects of my job, but one of my favorite parts of each day is that moment of utter quiet just before I flip off the lights in the children’s department, when all the patrons have left for the night and the room is entirely mine.  My library is, as Robert Cormier would have it, truly my treasure house.

lookslikelibraryscience:

I’m Tanvi Rastogi, Youth Services Librarian at the Hunterdon County Library in NJ. Armed with a BA in Sociology, I decided to pursue librarianship because I believed in the idea of equal access to info; it wasn’t until after my first library job (as a shelver!) that my like of books evolved into a full-blown love.  Now reading for me is as easy and urgent as breathing and loving.  Every day I hope to share that excitement with kids and their parents.

I love all aspects of my job, but one of my favorite parts of each day is that moment of utter quiet just before I flip off the lights in the children’s department, when all the patrons have left for the night and the room is entirely mine.  My library is, as Robert Cormier would have it, truly my treasure house.

Recently I joined Women in STEM, a group of women researchers committed to addressing gender inequality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Earlier today Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe and I co-hosted the first of our new fortnightly interview series. We’ll be talking with STEM professionals who want to advance gender diversity in the sciences. 

Today’s chat was with Professor Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist and editor-in-chief of the open-access journal PLoS Biology. Jonathan was a fantastic guest who spoke candidly about the need for male academics to be more proactive in addressing inequality. He gave some practical examples of how women’s participation in science can be bolstered by simple measures, such as by: offering childcare as part of academic conference services; through diversity training for hiring panels; and providing better mentorship for young women in science. 

I gave a shout out to sociology during the Hangout. I noted that while sociologists still face career barriers regarding race, gender, sexuality and other minority relations, we have a shared language to discuss inequality. Sociology is centrally concerned with addressing disadvantage, so we have the vocabulary and training to start conversations about these issues. Most other disciplines don’t talk about inequality at all. This means that women are expected to suffer in silence and navigate career barriers alone. As Buddhini points out, academia represents a “leaky pipe” where the further up you go in an academic faculty, the less women and minorities there are.

Gender and diversity matters should be central to all academic training, at every level, and for all disciplines.

There is a plethora of studies showing inequality is a fact in science. STEM Women starts off from this position and so we ask: what are going to do to move forward and address this disadvantage? 

Join us on Google+ or Twitter and check out our website.

sociolab:

Interesting.  Sociologist comes in at 19th.

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students in Australia. 
International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. Below, I is a summary of a longer research paper republished on my website.
Demographic Background
International students contribute $15.9 billion to Australia’s economy through tuition fees and living expenses.  International education has increased by 94 percent since 2004. This sector now represents the third-largest export industry for Australia, generating profits that are 50 percent larger than tourism-related travel.
The number of people entering Australia on student visas increased by 108 percent since 2002. Around 56 percent of all international higher education students were studying at the undergraduate level and 44 percent were postgraduates.
While the overall net international student population is at an all-time high, the proportion of international students in universities has dropped by 10 percent since the mid-2000s. This is due to a change of Australia’s immigration program, which is currently granting twice as many vocational training visas and a slightly smaller proportion of tertiary student visas than five years ago.
While most international students go into the tertiary sector, Chinese students do so in larger proportions (64%), while Indian students are nowadays more likely to go into vocational training (55%). Thai international students tend to undertake English-language courses (77%), while a significant minority of Malaysian students (14%) and Indonesians (12.5%) come to Australia to do postgraduate research.
Historically, migrants with university qualifications were more likely to qualify for permanent residency under the skilled migration program. Yet since Australia changed its immigration policies, international students in vocational courses are not necessarily gaining permanent residency.
Employment Outcomes
My analysis shows that the majority of these students are going into low-status vocational training courses that do not lead to permanent employment. International students in Australia are increasingly unable to find work that is meaningful, and so they are engaged in precarious, underpaid and menial jobs that do not suit their Australian qualifications. 
Engineering students, IT specialists, accountants, business majors, technicians and trades people who come from non-English-speaking majority countries are especially likely to have trouble finding work in their profession. Indian students and to a lesser extent Chinese students with accounting degrees have the greatest trouble finding work. 
Part of the issue is that Australian employers do not see international graduates as viable candidates, even when they have been educated in Australia. To some extent, surveys show that the English qualifications of a portion of international students is inadequate. This is no wonder, when international students come here to do a vocational course hoping to later transfer into university, but then find they are unable to do so. They start off attending cooking, hairdressing and accounting courses, and they get stuck. Taking vocational training in an expensive but poorly ranked course is unlikely to improve these students’ English skills. But not all international students lack English proficiency. The problem is more systemic.
Intercultural Education
Various studies show that international students are having trouble being accepted in Australia. They come here thinking they will be able to mingle with Australian students and learn more about Australian culture. They report feeling disappointed that Australian students do not make them feel welcome. This is especially the case amongst students who don’t have a strong command of English. 
International students also report feeling as if they received poor career guidance. They end up with unrealistic expectations of what their job prospects will be and what is expected of them in an Australian workplace. 
The Australian Human Rights Commission has also identified that international students face racist harassment and abuse that is not adequately recorded by police. The Commission also reports that international students do not have ready access to reliable information about the support available to them regarding their rights in Australia. 
To compound the problems that international students face, research suggests that employers are guided by racist stereotypes that perceive international students as having poor cultural skills. 
Intercultural Responsibility

International students contribute more than financial revenue to the Australian economy They also represent an invaluable network of intercultural ambassadors with the potential to strengthen Australia’s multicultural learning and international relations. Education providers would stand to gain a great deal from the overseas links, knowledge and resources that international students bring into Australia. 
In my longer article, I argue that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction.
Learn more:
Read this study in more detail and see the references on my website. 
This article was first published in April 2012 by Intercultural Education. High-res

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students in Australia. 

International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. Below, I is a summary of a longer research paper republished on my website.

Demographic Background

International students contribute $15.9 billion to Australia’s economy through tuition fees and living expenses.  International education has increased by 94 percent since 2004. This sector now represents the third-largest export industry for Australia, generating profits that are 50 percent larger than tourism-related travel.

The number of people entering Australia on student visas increased by 108 percent since 2002. Around 56 percent of all international higher education students were studying at the undergraduate level and 44 percent were postgraduates.

While the overall net international student population is at an all-time high, the proportion of international students in universities has dropped by 10 percent since the mid-2000s. This is due to a change of Australia’s immigration program, which is currently granting twice as many vocational training visas and a slightly smaller proportion of tertiary student visas than five years ago.

While most international students go into the tertiary sector, Chinese students do so in larger proportions (64%), while Indian students are nowadays more likely to go into vocational training (55%). Thai international students tend to undertake English-language courses (77%), while a significant minority of Malaysian students (14%) and Indonesians (12.5%) come to Australia to do postgraduate research.

Historically, migrants with university qualifications were more likely to qualify for permanent residency under the skilled migration program. Yet since Australia changed its immigration policies, international students in vocational courses are not necessarily gaining permanent residency.

Employment Outcomes

My analysis shows that the majority of these students are going into low-status vocational training courses that do not lead to permanent employment. International students in Australia are increasingly unable to find work that is meaningful, and so they are engaged in precarious, underpaid and menial jobs that do not suit their Australian qualifications. 

Engineering students, IT specialists, accountants, business majors, technicians and trades people who come from non-English-speaking majority countries are especially likely to have trouble finding work in their profession. Indian students and to a lesser extent Chinese students with accounting degrees have the greatest trouble finding work. 

Part of the issue is that Australian employers do not see international graduates as viable candidates, even when they have been educated in Australia. To some extent, surveys show that the English qualifications of a portion of international students is inadequate. This is no wonder, when international students come here to do a vocational course hoping to later transfer into university, but then find they are unable to do so. They start off attending cooking, hairdressing and accounting courses, and they get stuck. Taking vocational training in an expensive but poorly ranked course is unlikely to improve these students’ English skills. But not all international students lack English proficiency. The problem is more systemic.

Intercultural Education

Various studies show that international students are having trouble being accepted in Australia. They come here thinking they will be able to mingle with Australian students and learn more about Australian culture. They report feeling disappointed that Australian students do not make them feel welcome. This is especially the case amongst students who don’t have a strong command of English. 

International students also report feeling as if they received poor career guidance. They end up with unrealistic expectations of what their job prospects will be and what is expected of them in an Australian workplace. 

The Australian Human Rights Commission has also identified that international students face racist harassment and abuse that is not adequately recorded by police. The Commission also reports that international students do not have ready access to reliable information about the support available to them regarding their rights in Australia. 

To compound the problems that international students face, research suggests that employers are guided by racist stereotypes that perceive international students as having poor cultural skills. 

Intercultural Responsibility

International students contribute more than financial revenue to the Australian economy They also represent an invaluable network of intercultural ambassadors with the potential to strengthen Australia’s multicultural learning and international relations. Education providers would stand to gain a great deal from the overseas links, knowledge and resources that international students bring into Australia. 

In my longer article, I argue that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction.

Learn more:

Read this study in more detail and see the references on my website

This article was first published in April 2012 by Intercultural Education.

#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working  #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology High-res

#Sociology of #Work: #Research by Australian Sociologist Barbara Pocock shows how #management can improve work/life balance. This includes being flexible with hours and the structure of #work, the type of work different employees do, and the ways that employees can deliver work outputs. With new #technology, there are a range of cloud based solutions for collaboration and submission of work. Another important way of managing work/life balance is to foster an environment of #trust where employees can let you know about their out-of-hours responsibilities and preferences should they wish to have you better accommodate their needs. Managers should also seek to support working #parents and #workers who provide care for dependants who are sick, elderly or disabled. This includes access to affordable childcare, good parental and care leave arrangements that won’t impact on career progression, and giving employees the capacity to take holidays and other time off to manage family and health appointments. Society talks about work/ life balance as an issue that individuals and families should negotiate on their own. Pocock puts emphasis on “Supportive workplace cultures, practices and #leadership” as the means to improve work. Making work/ life balance a responsibility of workplaces as well as employees is a pivotal way that managers & CEOs can ensure that work is fulfilling, meaningful and energising, rather than a drain on the #creativity and #productivity of their #company. Pocock’s latest research is found in “Time Bomb: Work, Rest and Play in Australia Today.” #socialscience #worklifebalance #business #management #humanresources #corporate #training #life #career #visualsociology

Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity High-res

Earlier today I spoke on a careers panel at the #postgraduate day for The Australian Sociological Association. I’ll do a full post on this later but for now I wanted to share a couple of the questions we were asked. These ranged from specifics like how to set up a business to broader questions about how to manage #ethics and how to maintain a professional identity. One of the key themes from the panellists was learning to translate #theory into practice and networking. I spoke about writing for your future clients via a specialist blog and using #SocialMedia. #sociology #visualsociology #career #work #students #monashuniversity

... What have your experiences in the field of sociology been like? Where did you go to school, and what are you doing now? I appreciate any feedback you might give me; I've already found your blog to be super inspiring. Thank you :)

Asked by
upthink

In answer to your questions:

What have your experiences in the field of sociology been like?

Sociology is my passion and my work experiences have been varied and wonderful! I worked as a research assistant and teacher at an Australian university while I was completing my PhD. I worked on lots of different projects and I would recommend you do the same (either as a volunteer or in a paid position) so you can work out what you are interested in. With respect to my work as a researcher, I started off working as a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewer (CATI). This is the type of work you would start off doing if you wanted to go into marketing/social marketing, but I actually worked for a research centre on a survey of ‘public good’ (what the public thought about the Australian government privatising all of our public utilities). I also worked on other projects for a Sociology Professor (on big businesses and biotechnology issues). At the same time, I taught various undergraduate subjects that helped me to strengthen how I communicated my own ideas and research. It was also a good way to become comfortable with being in front of audiences.

The year after I completed my PhD I worked as a sociology lecturer and as a research assistant for a Social Marketing Professor (on a project on public information campaigns for welfare recipients). I love teaching and I would encourage students to give it a go at least once, but ultimately I decided academia was not for me. It’s very tough on early career sociologists. It’s very competitive because most sociologists want to be academics and there aren’t many positions. Despite the fact that I’d already been teaching for four years, I was a new PhD graduate, and as such, I was competing with people with far longer postdoctoral experience. If you want to have an academic career, you can generally expect to work for at least a couple of years on temporary contracts and this wasn’t something that suited me.

I ended up deciding to do something completely crazy and so I applied for a tonne of jobs in many different fields where sociologists don’t usually work. I was pleasantly surprised that many industries are hungry for sociologists, so I had lots of places from which to choose.

In the end, I went into the Australian public service. I have worked as a researcher and analyst in government for the past six years. I found this work really fantastic and challenging. I worked in an interdisciplinary team, mostly with mathematicians, computer scientists, and natural scientists. It was tough but intellectually very rewarding. You get to have a direct impact on how social policies are generated which is fantastic, but it’s not always easy because I constantly had to ‘translate’ sociological ideas for policy workers and specialists from other areas who think about the world really differently. That was the hardest thing, but this is also the best part of the job, because it kept me on my toes.

Where did you go to school?

I went to Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, which has a very small but highly dedicated sociology department. I did all of my undergraduate and postgraduate studies there. The intimate nature really suited me. It gave me the opportunity to get to know my lecturers and I had a good relationship with my thesis supervisors as I’d known them for years.

I would say that your way of thinking is probably the better way to go - it’s generally better to do your undergraduate and postgraduate stints in different universities. So your idea of transferring to another university is smart - it means you will have a broader network of colleagues which will be advantageous when you start looking for work. Small universities are good because the learning experience is more personal - but the downside is that there are less units to choose from. Larger universities will have lots of sociology courses you can take. It depends on the type of educational experience you want. Have a look at different sociology department websites because they will list all their courses and you can also have a look at their staff profiles. Read up on the published research of the lecturers in different universities because that might also give you an idea of where you’d like to study.

Another thing to note is that I did an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in sociology and media. My media studies and the other elective subjects I took as an undergraduate (literature, statistics, psychology, philosophy) have ALL been useful in my career as a sociologist.

what are you doing now?

Ha! What a timely question - I actually quit my job not too long a go! I had moved to another city when I took up my government job and then I moved again temporarily last year for a six month secondment. I have been away from my home city for a really long time and I decided it was time for yet another career change. I still haven’t worked out what I want to do next, but I’m taking a much deserved break til I figure out my next move.

Hope all that helps! As you’re trying to decide whether sociology is for you and where you’d like to study, I would say be proactive like you have done here and read up on different sociology departments and get in touch with the department heads or with individual sociologists you think you might like to learn from. Have a look at the websites of the sociology organisations in whatever country you think you might like to live in. For example, The Australian Sociological Association, The British Soc Ass, The American Soc Ass, The Japan Sociological Society, etc. Also have a look around for scholarships because that might also impact on where you end up. Different countries have different schemes available, but you can also have a look on the grants page at The International Sociological Association website. Most scholarships are for Honours and PhD students, but occasionally there are opportunities for undergrads/sophomores.

If you have any other questions, don’t be shy and send them through!