Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If Ph.D Programs in History Care About Their Students They Should Be Asking These Questions:

What does it mean to pursue a nonacademic career as a Ph.D.? What truly happens to graduate students when they leave academe? How do Ph.D.'s in nonprofessorial careers—especially those who work outside of a campus setting—use their training, or not? What do employers value, or not, in job candidates with Ph.D.'s, particularly those in the humanities? What factors mitigate against students' being candid about their career choices while in graduate school? How long does it take for Ph.D.'s to make the transition to their first nonacademic jobs, and what obstacles do they face? And most important, should some graduate programs be closed?

These questions come from Alexandra Lord's insightful and urgent piece at The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Lord is currently a Branch Chief for the National Historic Landmarks Program (run by the National Park Service) in Washington D.C.   She has been one of the most vocal advocates for historians who are seeking careers outside the academy.  She runs the Beyond Academe website and the Ultimate History Project.

Lord's call for graduate programs to start thinking about how to prepare their students for non-academic jobs makes sense.  Read her entire piece here.