AHA Council Update: New Policies related to Hiring Practices

In June, the AHA formally approved several policies proposed by the Professional Division related to hiring practices that are relevant to both members and nonmembers.

Best Practices on Transparency in Placement Records

The Professional Division (PD) has been concerned about graduate placement issues for a long time. In 2006, Anthony Grafton, who at the time was the vice president of the Professional Division, who was vice president of the Professional Division at the time, penned wrote a Perspectivesarticle that argued for public and easily accessible job placement records. His 2011 “No More Plan B” article with AHA Executive Director James Grossman, along with Professional Division Vice President Jackie Jones’ keen interest in the issue, was the impetus behind the Malleable PhD workshop planned for the 2013 annual meeting.  

At June 2012 Council meeting, the Professional Division proposed and the Council subsequently approved a statement advocating for departments to publish information regarding graduate placement. Accurate placement records should indicate where graduates found employment, and what kinds of jobs they accepted. The “Best Practices on Transparency in Placement Records” statement can be found here.

Amendment to the Guidelines for the Hiring Process

The issue of proper notice for job candidates about interviews at the annual meeting was recently brought to the attention of the AHA. Search committees often use the AHA annual meeting as the venue to interview job candidates in person. After receiving a comment about a search committee that scheduled interviews only a short time before the annual meeting, dramatically increasing travel costs for candidates, the Professional Division proposed a minor addition to the Guidelines for the Hiring Process. The addition was passed unanimously by Council.

Under “Interviews at the AHA Annual Meeting,” a new item 1 now reads:

Search committees that schedule conference interviews beforehand should provide ample notice to applicants. Ideally, applicants should be notified of a conference interview more than 21 days in advance to allow them to take advantage of less expensive air fares and preregistration rates.

Statement on Merging History Departments into Other Departments

In reaction to the increasing number of academic departments being consolidated, the Professional Division approved a statement on the best professional standards for merging cross-disciplinary departments.

When Academic Departments Merge: First Principles, Best Practices” advises history faculty on how to combine administrative functions, committee formation, and tenure reviews so that history faculty retain control over discipline-based professional standards.

Annual Meeting Child Care Grants

For the 2012 annual meeting, the Council approved a pilot program granting up to 10 subventions of up to $200 each to help cover child care expenses for graduate students, adjuncts, and early career historians who were interviewing or presenting at the annual meeting. 

For the 2013 annual meeting, the Professional Division recommended and Council subsequently approved that the program continue at the same funding level for a second year.
Information about the grant and how to apply can be found on the annual meeting child care page.

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