Photo of Christina Muehlberger

Christina Muehlberger


Membership Engagement Officer,
Canadian Association of University Teachers

“Choose your own adventure.”

That’s how Christina Muehlberger describes her experience at the Institute of Political Economy.

“I really liked how interdisciplinary it is,” she says. “You get to create your own degree.”

The flexibility and openness of the program allows students to look at a topic from many different angles.

This was a perfect fit for Muehlberger’s research at the time, which looked at the effects of neoliberalism on universities and the role of the university in community.

“There was no other program that I could do that research as well as I did,” she says.

Her research ended up taking a path towards critical geography, but Muehlberger didn’t have a background in that field.

It was the political economy program that allowed her to explore this area, read the literature and think to herself, ‘Oh that really excites me and makes me look at the university in a different way.’’

Muehlberger says she is a big advocate for the Institute and it isn’t just because of the interdisciplinary approach.

“The core courses in political economy are like boot camp in political theory and methodology. You come out with a really strong foundation in those things, which I thought was excellent,” she says.

But there is more to the program than theory. Muehlberger says she appreciates how the Institute has put an emphasis on experiential learning.

Muehlberger’s academic interest in universities led her to a research placement with the Canadian Association of University Teachers through the Institute.

“I think it was a really cool opportunity to show that the research skills I was gaining and the issues I was interested in were really applicable to organizations beyond the university,” she recalls.

It was also a great networking opportunity for Muehlberger, who now works at the organization full-time.

“They knew my name in part because I’d done research for them years ago.”

Now, Muehlberger works as a membership engagement officer with the Canadian Association of University Teachers to help faculty associations across the country better engage their members on campaigns and bargaining.

Still close with the majority of her cohort, Muehlberger says it’s great to see the different career paths her friends and colleagues have taken since completing their master’s with the Institute.

“Watching all of the different roads people take from the program is really cool. We’re all working in very different working environments, on very different issues but you can see us pull out some things we’ve learned every once in awhile,” she says.

See Christina’s End-of-Year interview (2015) as president of the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) with the Charlatan here