MLA2017Logo-TwitterAt the 2017 MLA convention in Philadelphia, Connected Academics is once more sponsoring an array of activities. We hope you will join us and our partners for vigorous discussions of issues related to the project, including graduate education reform, mentorship, PhD career directions, and the value of the humanities in the workplace. This year, we are also offering several opportunities for members at any point in their careers to build valuable professional skills in areas such as networking and writing for a broad audience.

Private Job Counseling

Job seekers can meet with experienced department chairs, career counselors, or PhDs employed outside the academy for twenty-five-minute one-on-one sessions to discuss their search and career options, both academic and nonacademic, and to review any application materials they may have. Counseling is offered at the Job Information Center, where individuals may sign up in advance.

2. Careers for Humanists: A Job Search Workshop

Preregistration and a $25 fee are required. Attendance is strictly capped at 50 participants.

This three-hour preconvention workshop is designed for anyone interested in pursuing career options beyond the classroom or outside the academy. It describes how the PhD degree is viewed by employers outside the academy, teaches strategies and tactics for nonacademic job searches, and provides tools to help assemble skills for a résumé. Led by Anne Krook, PhD, owner and principal of Practical Workplace Advice.

73. Careers beyond the Professoriat for Humanities PhDs: The Employer Perspective

The ACLS Public Fellows program has placed over one hundred recent humanities PhDs in two-year positions with government and nonprofit hosts. In this panel, supervisors who worked with Public Fellows with PhDs in the modern languages discuss their experiences. They also review some of the challenges and opportunities facing PhDs as they explore nonacademic careers. Speakers represent the New America Foundation, Forum on Education Abroad, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. Moderated by John Paul Christy, PhD, director of public programs at the American Council of Learned Societies.

328. Workshop: Networking and LinkedIn

This seventy-five-minute workshop provides an introduction to networking, informational interviews, and LinkedIn. How do you create meaningful professional connections with people outside academia? What kinds of questions do you ask in an informational interview, and how do you turn informational interviews into long-term relationships? What makes a useful LinkedIn profile? Participants have the chance to work on a LinkedIn profile and receive feedback from the workshop facilitator. Led by Stacy Hartman, PhD, project coordinator of Connected Academics.

400. Connected Academics: A Showcase of Career Diversity

This session showcases careers of PhD recipients who have put their advanced degrees in the humanities to work in a variety of rewarding occupations and offers participants an opportunity to discover the wide range of employment possibilities available within and beyond the academy. Presenters are available at individual stations for one-on-one discussions about their jobs and the career paths that led to them. Presenters include university employees in a variety of faculty and staff positions, as well as PhDs working in secondary education, nonprofit fund-raising, finance, management consulting, public humanities, journalism, and public policy.

498. Workshop: Writing for a Broader Audience; or, Academics Are Writers, Too

This seventy-five-minute presentation outlines the process and pleasures of writing for (and getting work placed in) general-audience publications and broadcast outlets. In addition to enriching one’s career, writing for broader audiences can stimulate outreach capacity and enhance pedagogy for scholars at all levels. This presentation provides hands-on instruction in becoming a humanities practitioner at any career stage, making connections to editors and producers, finding a voice online, and translating academic work into general-audience prose effectively and compellingly without sacrificing content and context. Led by Jane Greenway Carr, PhD, opinion producer at CNN Digital.

563. Reinventing the PhD: Celebrating Change, Rethinking Resistance

This seventy-five-minute workshop-style session focuses on positive approaches to reinventing PhD programs in the humanities to better prepare graduate students for diverse professional opportunities within and outside the academy. We welcome spirited discussion and contributions from those interested in rethinking course requirements, internships, fellowships, alternatives to the traditional dissertation, and other changes. Sponsored by the Connected Academics Project at Georgetown University.

604. Workshop: Transferable Skills and Résumés

This seventy-five-minute workshop provides an introduction to articulating transferable skills and writing a nonacademic résumé. What do we bring to the table as humanities PhDs, and how can we articulate our strengths for nonacademic job applications? What kind of résumé works best for humanities PhDs? Participants have the chance to analyze job ads in the light of transferable skills, begin working on their résumés, and receive feedback from the workshop facilitator. Led by Stacy Hartman, PhD, project coordinator of Connected Academics.

674. Connected Academics Cash Bar and Networking Event

Join Connected Academics and its invited guests for an informal gathering, where you will have a chance to connect with someone you would like to meet from an earlier event. (Tip: Bring business cards if you have them!)

699. Candid Conversations: Mentorship in the Humanities

As humanities PhDs transition into careers alongside and beyond the academy, it is important to reevaluate the faculty member–graduate student mentorship model in humanities disciplines. For graduate students interested in pursuing a variety of career trajectories after earning the PhD, successful mentoring would include a variety of conversations and support structures that benefit from flexible, adaptive, and networked mentors, but current mentoring requirements and standards vary widely, leaving many graduate students without much institutional support. This roundtable explores existing and emerging mentorship models and their relation to career diversity. Sponsored by Humanists@Work, the Connected Academics project at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

Note: As “pre-text” for the panel, Humanists@Work will record a series of five-minute video exchanges in which graduate students and faculty members build on one another’s contributions to the dialogue around mentorship. These video exchanges, while not required viewing for attendees, will serve as provocations for live speakers and will be available online before and after the panel discussion.

757. Connected Academics and Graduate Deans

This roundtable brings together a diverse group of graduate deans and graduate policy experts who discuss both the possibilities and the problems of innovating in humanities graduate training—what the data show and what panelists have experienced and hope for the future. Topics include curriculum, career pathways, and institutional support, among many others. Sponsored by the Connected Academics project at Arizona State University.


In addition to the official Connected Academics sessions and events, there will be a number of other sessions dedicated to careers both on and off the tenure track in Philadelphia. Please find below details on these sessions.

3. Digital Humanities Tools and Training for Early Career Academics, Faculty Members, Librarians, and Administrators

This workshop offers participants both theoretical and hands-on considerations of digital humanities (DH) tools, software methodology, context, and theory; professionalization for early-career scholars; DH for academic administrators; DH and the dissertation; and scholarly communication as public engagement. Preregistration required.

4. Preconvention Workshop on Career Directions for PhDs in English

Representatives from different types of institutions discuss aspects of the job search, including tenure-track, non-tenure-track, and alt-ac career paths; letters of application and recommendation; curricula vitae; Skype, convention, and on-campus interviews; multiyear job-search strategies; and negotiating an offer.

5. Preconvention Workshop for Job Seekers in Foreign Languages

Representatives of different institutional types discuss work and careers in AA-, BA-, MA-, and PhD-granting programs and institutions, as well as nonteaching academic opportunities. Speakers address institutional expectations; navigating a complex market; the application dossier; convention, Skype, and on-campus interviews; positions off the tenure track; and negotiating an offer.

71. Speed Mentoring for Job Seekers in Foreign Languages

Speed mentoring offers small-group mentoring on the job search—inside and outside the academy—focusing on applying to and working in different types of institutions; preparing a dossier; Skype, convention, and on-campus interviews; and nonacademic humanities career paths. Speed mentoring is not intended to replace the one-on-one job counseling that can be scheduled at other times during the convention.

78. Using Your Language Proficiency and Cultural Expertise in a Federal Government Career

This workshop provides an overview of various federal careers that utilize skills in languages and cultural expertise—translator, interpreter, instructor, intelligence analyst, language analyst, foreign language program manager, foreign service officer, and law enforcement officer. Recruiters and subject-matter experts discuss career opportunities, ways to prepare for federal careers, and the application process.

99. Can the Precariat Speak? The New Material Conditions of Corporatized Academia

This session assesses the new material conditions of academia in a corporatized environment with vastly expanded administrative bureaucracies, diminished faculty governance, and deprofessionalization of faculties, especially in the case of adjuncts and non-tenure-track positions, at Research I universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges, respectively.

123. Disrupting the Faculty-Administration Divide: New Perspectives

This panel disrupts the conventional faculty-administrative divide in higher education. It demystifies the process of transitioning to (or inhabiting part-time) administrative roles and presents perspectives from people who have done it by accident or design, as well as from the search firms that often guide the hiring process.

172. The Politics of Representing the Underrepresented

178. Demonstration Interviews for Job Seekers in Foreign Languages

Demonstration interviews of candidates for positions teaching in foreign language and literature departments are analyzed and critiqued by audience members, interviewers, and interviewees.

207. Funding Opportunities in the Humanities

Participants discuss various funding opportunities for scholars of literature.

247. Issues in Intergenerational Business Communication in the Workplace

248. Working Out Loud: Online Identity Building, Digital Networking, and Professional Development

Crafting, managing, and promoting a digital identity is a vital—if often misunderstood—element of academic life today. Panelists address strategies for creating and nurturing such an identity, covering professional profiles, social media, Web sites and blogs, networked advocacy, crowdsourced research, and the advantages of openly sharing scholarship and pedagogical materials online.

270. Workshop on Funding in the Humanities: Practical Strategies

This workshop, primarily geared toward graduate students and junior faculty members, introduces some of the major research grants, travel-to-collections grants, and residential and nonresidential fellowships that are relevant to the work of MLA members. The workshop aims not to disseminate information about available resources but to address the practical aspects of applying for grants.

276. Going Public: Tools for Developing Your Digital Identity

Establishing a digital identity has become essential to managing one’s academic reputation. Discovery of you, as a researcher, is as important as discovery and citation of your research. This workshop addresses approaches to cultivating an online identity and offers guidance on “going public” using tools and strategies for building an audience and community around your research.

299. Tracking in the Professoriat

Participants theorize about the factors that have propelled—and that sustain—educational pedigree as arguably the most important consideration in the placement patterns of PhD holders in English departments across the United States and also provide practical strategies hiring committees can adopt to combat biases that overvalue the prior institutional affiliations of job candidates.

329. Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions

Prepare for the rewards and challenges of careers at 4-4 and 5-5 teaching-load schools—regional public universities, community colleges, and small teaching colleges. How do you balance teaching with (some) research and writing? What’s a collective bargaining agreement? Why do we love first-generation students so much? Bring your CV and cover letter.

345. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop

A senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) highlights recent awards and outlines current funding opportunities. In addition to emphasizing grant programs that support individual and collaborative research and educational opportunities, this workshop includes information on new developments at the NEH, including The Common Good.

351. Crossing Gendered Boundaries: Professional and Life Stages in Academia

What does it mean to be senior when a full professor at forty? Are you a senior colleague if an adjunct at seventy, or just a senior citizen? How do you understand being a junior colleague at fifty? a new mother at forty-two? Panelists discuss the disjunctures between chronological age and professional age for women in academia.

375. Could This Get Me Fired? Rights and Risks of Just-in-Time Faculty Members

The president of a local chapter of University Professionals of Illinois, an adjunct professor and Faculty Forward Network activist, and an adjunct lecturer who teaches at three universities and serves on a part-time faculty union bargaining committee discuss the precarious realities of just-in-time contingent faculty life.

414. Career Opportunities in Community Colleges

Faculty members in English and foreign languages discuss the career opportunities that exist in community colleges, with a special focus on job seekers who are starting their careers.

446. Low-Wage Work: The Boundary Condition of University Labor

Campaigns to unionize adjunct instructors are gaining nationwide momentum, but the vast majority of low-wage labor still takes place in cafeterias rather than classrooms. This session considers low-wage work as a necessary “boundary condition” for organizing in the university. It proposes a solidarity-organizing model in which undergraduate, graduate, and adjunct worker demands are addressed collectively, to revise traditional boundaries that circumscribe union and labor organizing on campuses.

474. Friends Not Foes: Partnering with STEM to Grow the Humanities

Ours is an age of grand challenges that reach far beyond the purview of science and technology. Seasoned administrators describe how MLA disciplines can partner with STEM to develop innovative curricula, foster interdisciplinary research, and leverage financial and other resources. Addressing grand challenges creates shared goals across disciplines.

495. Career Training for Humanists: Best-Case Scenarios

Panelists explore the concept and practice of career training at its best: innovative public humanities programs, multi-institutional initiatives, faculty best practices, and career center workshops. These talks recalibrate career training as essential to our discipline: a way of acting on our values, challenging academic and public boundaries, and articulating our purpose.

529. Best Practices Now: Recruitment and Retention of Faculty Members of Color in an Age of Precarity

Departing from the germinal “Guidelines for Good Practice by the Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada” (2002), panelists focus on new approaches, challenges, and reconsiderations of best practices in the hiring, retention, mentoring, and professional advancement of faculty of color in an age of precarity, contraction, and political reaction.

565. Contingent Faculty Mentoring for Democracy, Advocacy, and Action

Panelists explore how to promote democratic principles and practices in the mentoring process. How can contingent faculty members resist exploitative and disrespectful mentoring projects? How can all faculty and staff members instill in their mentee colleagues and graduate students an understanding of pedagogy and professional development that includes a commitment to advocacy for the profession?

639. Building Community through Student Advising and Mentoring

645. Scholarly Teaching / Teaching as Scholarship: Contingent Faculty Members as Teacher-Scholars

730. The Future of K–16 Alliances in the MLA

This session explores ideas for enriching cross-level conversations and exchanges of pedagogical material among secondary school and college teachers of language and literature. Speakers address how the MLA could provide more institutional support for such conversations and exchanges in the future.

733. Graduate Study in Latin American Literatures in the Public University

Panelists address the current state of graduate programs in Latin American literary and cultural studies in public institutions across the United States. In the face of budget cuts over the last decade, what sorts of strategies—in academic training, professionalization, and so on—have these programs adopted to support successful graduate study?

740. Disrupting the Narrative: A Reconception of Nonacademic Work

Panelists demonstrate how close study of language and literature translates into work outside traditional scholarly spheres. The ways these scholars engage, even disrupt, the narratives of their organizations and audiences reveal how humanities PhDs are reaching beyond the university in ways that disrupt the academic definition of work.

792. Reimagining Doctoral Education in Spanish

Panelists explore recent efforts to reimagine doctoral education in Spanish amid the challenges facing humanities higher education. Topics include interdisciplinary course work and research, alternative dissertation formats, certificate programs, training for careers in and beyond the academy, and graduate student support.


Connected Academics at the 2016 MLA Convention

This page describes Connected Academics activities at the 2017 MLA convention in Philadelphia. Click here to find out what we did at the 2016 convention in Austin.