UWM History Department chosen for career diversity institutes

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee History Department has been selected to participate in the American Historical Association’s 2017-’18 Career Diversity for Historians Faculty Institutes.

Participation in this Institute will make the history department eligible to apply for an award that will subsidize support for one doctoral student as a Career Diversity Graduate Fellow during 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

Three members of the history faculty, Chia Vang, Joe Rodriguez and Amanda Seligman, will travel to workshops in Washington, D.C., and Chicago in June, October and January. They will join faculty from 36 departments across the country for discussions on integrating career diversity into doctoral education and identifying available resources that can help departments lay the groundwork for changes in graduate curriculum and programming.

The AHA’s Career Diversity Initiative is a response to the recognition that a substantial proportion of students who graduate with PhDs in history will not end up as tenure-track professors. The initiative was created to help departments train PhD students to prepare for and win jobs inside and outside of universities.

“We want to transform what we offer PhD students so that they and their future employers understand that the skills and knowledge gained through doctoral study are transferrable and valuable outside a strictly academic setting,” said Seligman, who is chair of the History Department. “Some of our doctoral graduates will end up as professors, but others will end up in business, government, nonprofit organizations, parks, museums and consulting.”

Seligman said any program changes won’t come at the expense of intellectual rigor.

“We’ll continue to offer doctoral students rigorous training in research and analysis, but we will do so with the expectation that some of our graduates will become walking ambassadors for the value of history beyond the ivory tower,” Seligman said.

Seligman said that she became aware of the initiative when she attended the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. She credited the Next Generation Humanities PhD grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for funding the trip.

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