Fleeing the Alternative Career Ghetto: Alexandra Lord Implores Departments to Consider Non-Academy Training

As some 2013 PhD graduates continue the hunt for jobs, administrators are looking at ways in which to reform graduate training in response to the competitive job market. Alexandra Lord recently published a call to action in the Chronicle about alternative career education in history PhD programs. In her piece, Lord argues “It’s time for professional organizations and faculty members who are genuinely interested in graduate-education reform to create a true and continuing dialogue with those of us who have left the academy.” This dialogue, Lord argues, should not be proscribed to short, one-hour conversations in department meetings about graduate-education reform, but should be considered a long-term discussion. Lord’s challenge coincides with current discussion in the profession about how departments can make alternative career jobs less stigmatized, including the AHA’s recent Mellon Grant initiative that will seek to redefine a successful job placement to include nonacademic positions. The core task of the Mellon project, as Julia Brookins recently pointed out, is to help enrich graduate training to help “fill a range of public roles.” You can read the entire article by Lord here.

Image courtesy of Lemon Liu, from The Noun Project.

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