Connected Academics 2017 MLA Convention Activities

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Connected Academics among the 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.

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.

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.

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!)

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