One year ago, Executive Director James Grossman introduced the AHA Tuning project in the pages of Perspectives. This month, we feature six articles related to the project—four from project participants and two from historians who have been watching closely.
Recently, we read an essay in the Nation on the role of university presidents as civic leaders that lamented the way in which the office had become, according to the author, more timid than in the past. “Was there truly a ‘golden age’ of engaged college and university presidents who ‘sculpted’ society?” asked the author, citing James B. Conant, Robert Hutchins, Kingman Brewster, and Clark Kerr as examples.
Comedian Joel McHale recently gave an interview where he mentioned that he had been a history major but had turned to acting because “it’s not like you can open a history shop!” While those of us whose passion for history became our profession might cringe at this, we also must acknowledge that many of our history majors do go on to professions that have nothing, on the surface, to do with history.
The number of Advanced Placement history tests taken by high school students reached an unprecedented level with the graduating class of 2012. According to the College Board, students in the graduating class of 2012 took 580,360 tests in the fields of European, U.S., and world history, and more than half of those tests (300,484 in all) received a passing score of 3 or higher (out of 5).
Humanists readily understand the "value" of what we teach, study, and write. We too often forget that this is less obvious to many of our neighbors, and have not developed a deep and wide advocacy movement to promote humanistic thinking and work.
In the face of wintry weather in some states and a chilly political climate for the humanities in others, dozens of historians shared the warmth of professional community near the AHA offices in Capitol Hill earlier this month.
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.