Academia

Academia

 PhD ceremony at the University of the Sunshine Coast. 2014. With my son, Eamon.  

PhD ceremony at the University of the Sunshine Coast. 2014. With my son, Eamon.  

 
 

In 1966 I went to Hamilton Teachers College and Waikato University (they were on the same campus). I was only 16. As well as training to become a teacher, I also did university courses including English Literature and Pure Mathematics. These were rocky years for me as not only did I encounter the Black Dog (and thought it was the 'devil'), but I was also doing everything my father had told me I couldn’t do until I was 21. Somehow I managed to get a Dip. Teaching in 1969 and a B.Ed. in 1970. After teaching mostly Maori and Niuean Island children for a year in Grey Lynn, Auckland, in 1972 I went back to university to do a Master of Education. In early 1973, I threw it all away – and burnt my half-finished thesis – to go to India. You can read more about this sudden change in my life’s direction in my book The Serpent Rising.

In 2007, I went back to university to do an editing course. I ended up doing a post-graduate certificate and then a diploma in journalism. In 2010 I was granted an Australian Postgraduate Award towards a PhD, which I finished in three years. I researched political blogs on mainstream news sites and how they compared to their alternative counterparts. Blogging in the mainstream: Australian journalist-blogs and public deliberation. 

Writing my thesis was the most difficult thing I have ever done and it was hugely stressful; I often felt like giving up. However, one of my two reviewers was Professor Jane Singer, who is a world authority on online journalism. I was delighted with her feedback. She wrote: 'I very much enjoyed reading this thesis. It is interesting, original and important work, nicely structured and presented, with a solid grounding in the relevant literature. ?The research is highly suitable for publication, and I certainly would urge the author to pursue publication.'

During those years I had four peer-reviewed papers published (see below); thankfully, I won't be having anymore! While I had toyed with the idea of working in academia, I was glad to get out of there. I found academic writing a bit soul-destroying and I much prefer to be self-employed, to be my own boss. The one good thing to come out of it was that it gave me the confidence to return to the book I had been trying to write on my father. If I could write an 80,000 thesis, then surely I could finish my book!

 

 

 Look at that hair! Graduation ceremony for my Diploma of Teaching at Hamilton Teachers College, NZ, 1969. I skipped my B.Ed ceremony the next year.

Look at that hair! Graduation ceremony for my Diploma of Teaching at Hamilton Teachers College, NZ, 1969. I skipped my B.Ed ceremony the next year.