Crossroads: The Future of Graduate History Education
The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies and History & Culture program at Drew University are excited to host Crossroads: The Future of Graduate History Education conference. In an effort to address growing economic concerns and a shift away from the humanities, history professionals are beginning to discuss the development of innovative, distinctive and utilitarian history programs. The goals of these 21st century history programs are to train students for both academic and non academic careers and rethink the traditional graduate history curriculum at the MA and PhD levels. In 2009, Drew University reformulated its graduate history program and developed History & Culture to adapt to these circumstances. In 2013, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the American Historical Association and Modern Language Association grants for developing similar innovative programs at Columbia University, University of Chicago, University of California – Los Angeles, and University of New Mexico. Our hope in organizing and assembling this conference is to contribute to the growing discussion about the changing expectations in the discipline, in order to address the challenges we face and move beyond.
Conference registration will open December 15, 2015. Details to follow.
The conference program will be posted in January 2016.
Training and expectations:
- Is interdisciplinarity helping to make graduate students attractive to prospective employers? How can we work across intellectual and departmental boundaries to integrate interdisciplinarity into the historical profession?
- How do we maintain a balance between fostering innovative programs and honoring traditional degree requirements? How can we think strategically about the relationship between training students in traditional elements such as historiography and preparing them in new and alternative methods including the digital humanities?
- What are the changing expectations of graduate history degree candidates? How are they different between MA and PhD students?
Administrative and faculty challenges and initiatives:
- What are the specific strategies for placing students into non-academic careers? How do these strategies address the fact that some of the anticipated career fields have their own professional preparation programs? Is non-academic career preparation really that innovative given that historians have traditionally served in various public and private positions?
- How do we need to change assessment of graduate student intellectual progress?
- In what ways have changes in federal and state policy affected graduate history programs, in terms of curricular expectations and funding opportunities?
- How can the field overcome public perception of minimal job prospects and antiquated history education?
- How are graduate students creating communities –within their programs, campuses, and the broader history world? What is the importance of graduate student organizations in maintaining these communities?
- How must faculty adapt in order to engage with 21st century students outside of the classroom and beyond coursework? Has technology changed how students and faculty interact?
- How can historians navigate the Digital Age through social media, online communities, digitized resources, and emerging technologies? What digital skills should students gain before entering the workforce?
- Is the traditional academic conference outmoded? What is the future of professional networking for historians?