February 02, 2011
By Aaron W. Marrs, Graduate and Early Career Committee chair
My name is Aaron Marrs, and I am presently the chairperson of the AHA’s Graduate and Early Career Committee (GECC). GECC is charged with, among other things, communicating the concerns of graduate students and early career professionals to the governance of the AHA. We also seek out ways to assist both graduate students and early career professionals as they acculturate to the historical profession. In this post, I’d like to do two things: first, discuss the current work of GECC, and second, report on GECC’s open forum at the annual meeting in Boston.
One of GECC’s chief duties, in my view, is to make sure graduate students and those starting their careers have appropriate and timely information about professional issues. We cannot control the quality of information you get from your advisor, nor can we control how your department is preparing you for the history profession as it exists in reality (rather than the golden haze of professorial memory). What we can do is give you the information you need to ask the right questions and make informed decisions at every stage of your professional development. Our extensive information on graduate school and beyond is located here. We are always seeking ways to augment and improve this information; if you have any suggestions on materials we could add, I hope you will contact us.
GECC members at the annual meeting were gratified by the high turnout at the open forum on Friday night. The purpose of the open forum is to allow us to get feedback from the constituencies we serve, and we received a solid hour of feedback. While we cannot implement all of the suggestions that we received, we will be considering all of them at our spring meeting. I was particularly impressed by the suggestions about publicizing our professional development sessions at the annual meeting and ways to improve networking opportunities for graduate students. During the coming year, I’ll be posting occasional updates on this blog to inform you of our activities and progress.
Again, I hope graduate students and those at the beginning of their careers will find the resources we have posted to be useful, and we welcome ideas for additional areas of coverage.