2022 Annual Survey Results

Member feedback on our subcommittee’s programs and objectives.


Every autumn, the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) Student Concerns Subcommittee (SCS) issues a survey to all student members via email and advertises it across social media platforms. The survey was available for completion from  August 22, 2022, until September 19, 2022, and was completed by 33 students. In the survey, we asked students to identify their program of study, where they go to university and if they are a member of a CSA research cluster. We also asked them about their experiences with CSA student-focused programming. More specifically, we asked students about their feelings regarding the 2022 Congress Meeting and SCS Professional Development Webinars. We also inquired about what students would like to see in terms of SCS programs/activities and in professional development webinars. The following report describes their responses and our recommendations for the 2022-2023 term.


This year we received 33 responses from student members across the country. Of those who responded, 69.7% were from Central Canada (Ontario, Quebec), 24.2% were from Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba), and 6.1% were from Eastern Canada (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island). We did not receive any responses from students who self-identified their area/region as Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunavut. Regarding academic programming, 72.7% of respondents identified themselves as PhD students, 24.2% as master’s students, and 3% as undergraduate students. We received no survey responses from postdoctoral candidates or professional degree holders.

2022 CSA Conference Feedback

One of the main foci of the 2022 survey was the 2022 CSA conference. 51.5% of survey respondents identified that they attended the 2022 CSA annual conference in some capacity. Similar to the 2021 survey, we asked students if there were aspects of the 2022 CSA annual conference that they would like to see replicated. Student responses yielded two priority initiatives for the CSA SCS:

  • Advocating for a hybrid format for all future CSA conferences; and,
  • Fee reduction for students without funding support.

We also asked student members about aspects of the 2022 CSA annual conference that they would not like to see replicated in future years. While most respondents elected not to answer this question, those that did suggest that the virtual platform remains too difficult to navigate – a concern that was also raised by respondents in the 2021 Annual Survey.

Additionally, we asked student members about the types of programs/activities they would like to see as part of the annual CSA conference. Most student respondents (81.3%) indicated that the Student Travel Grant Programs (travel and travel subsidies) are of significant interest. This is followed by conference panels addressing student concerns such as navigating the job market (78.1%), student social events (53.1%), and speed meeting events (40.6%). Only 3.1% of respondents expressed interest in student/professional mentorship meetups.

In addition to these notes, respondents also suggested that the CSA SCS could further support its student members by hosting conference panels that specifically address the following themes: (1) navigating the academic and non-academic job markets; (2) orienting to the practicalities of a PhD or masters program; (3) understanding the publication process and avoiding predatory publishers; (4) public sociology; and (5) issues of concern to equity-seeking groups. Respondents also emphasized that there is a need for more practically-oriented workshops than abstract discussions and a focus on assisting students with preparing materials necessary for academic and non-academic careers.

CSA SCS Programming

We were also interested in our student membership’s thoughts about CSA SCS programming. As such, we asked respondents for their input on webinar topics. Most of the responses we received were for discussions and workshops concerning “Publishing Academic Texts,” “Methodological Training,” and “Applying for Scholarships and Grants”. These requests were followed closely by those for workshops on “Academic Writing,” “Public Sociology,” “Navigating Graduate School,” and the development of “Teaching Skills”. In contrast to previous years, we received few requests for discussions and workshops that orient student members to academic and non-academic job markets. While CSA SCS has historically covered professional development topics such as grant writing, public sociology, publishing academic writing, and delivering conference presentations, we will review the Webinar Series Library and ensure that we supplement this material as respondents requested.

Our student membership was also asked what CSA SCS programs/activities were of interest to them throughout the year. As in previous years, the most popular responses were for more professional development webinars (71.9%), expanding the mentorship program (56.3%), spotlighting student achievements and work (43.8%), and maintaining the online awards resource library (40.6). New for this year, however, was a request to expand our programming to include an online series of critical feminist discussions (46.9%).

Conclusions and Recommendations

Most respondents indicate that the CSA conference website remains difficult to navigate, despite the addition of video tutorials. Students also stress the need for the CSA conference to be offered in a hybrid format that can accommodate a variety of respondents’ circumstances, many of which they classify as equity-seeking. Lastly, students indicate the need to make the CSA conference more accessible by subsiding the cost for students without funding opportunities. The SCS recommends and will commit to advocating for hybrid formats for all CSA conferences and events and a more streamlined presentation platform for the annual conference.

Students also highlighted the types of workshops and panels they would like the SCS to host during Congress 2023. As such, we have committed to holding two workshops at Congress 2023. The first, Navigating the Job Market, will provide students with the opportunity to hear from recent graduates about their experiences navigating the academic and non-academic job market. This workshop will cover various topics, such as writing targeted CVs and resumes, leveraging your networks, creating teaching dossiers, building professional websites, and more. The second, Orienting the Practicalities of a Graduate Program, will cover a broad range of topics, including such things as applying for graduate schools, writing Tri-Council funding applications, finding supervisors, working as a TA or RA, maintaining your well-being and time management. Each workshop will allow students to apply and receive feedback on their learning.

Finally, students voiced their preference for the types of programming they hope to see from the 2022-2023 Executive Committee. While many of the requested topics will be covered in our Congress 2023 workshops, we will follow our membership’s interests closely and: (1) focus on programming that provides professional development webinars; (2) expand the intake for the Black, Indigenous and Racialized Graduate Student Mentorship Program.

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