Connected Academics at the 2018 Annual Convention in New York City
At the 2018 MLA convention in New York City, Connected Academics will once more sponsor 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, PhD career directions, and the value of the humanities in the workplace. This year, we are offering the first Career Development Boot Camp: an intensive four-day version of our New York City proseminar on careers for twenty current graduate students (application and preregistration required). Connected Academics events are intended not only for early-career humanists but also for career changers and faculty mentors—anyone who is curious about opportunities for those with advanced training in language and literature, both inside and outside the academy.
For the most up-to-date information on activities and opportunities, we suggest following the MLA Commons convention page.
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.
The MLA’s first Possible Futures Career Fair offers job-seekers with advanced humanistic training the chance to connect with recruiters from mission-driven organizations and companies. For more information, see the Web site and sign up for Career Alerts!
Humanities PhDs have always made fulfilling and well-compensated careers within and beyond the academy, using their expertise for the social good throughout our society and economy. Participants consider resources and strategies doctoral programs can use to help their students recognize the versatility of doctoral study and pursue the broadest range of occupations available to them.
The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program has placed 125 recent humanities PhDs in two-year fellowships with government and nonprofit organizations. This session convenes senior managers from the cultural, policy, social service, and digital media sectors who worked closely with Public Fellows with PhDs in modern languages. Panelists discuss their experiences and review some of the challenges and opportunities facing PhDs as they explore nonacademic careers. Discussion will be based around the Connected Academics Doctoral Student Career Planning Guide.
What would a PhD program in public humanities look like? Our Georgetown University task force has produced a proposal for a PhD in public humanities that considers the public humanities as a profession and field of knowledge; members of the task force share the proposal, invite leaders in the public humanities movement to respond to it, and engage the audience in a discussion of the project.
This workshop outlines the process and pleasures of writing for general-audience publications, particularly digital news and culture outlets. It provides hands-on instruction and a forum to discuss becoming a humanities practitioner at any career stage, making connections with editors and producers, and translating academic expertise into accessible prose without sacrificing vital content and context. Led by Jane Greenway Carr, Opinion Producer at CNN Digital.
Proseminar alumni and faculty members discuss their respective doctoral programs. Alumni consider which activities of the proseminar were most valuable in broadening and supporting their career ambitions; faculty members reflect on the proseminar’s impact on the department and how their own thinking about careers, professional development, and mentoring has changed in response.
An introduction to the job search process, this workshop offers a high-level overview of the stages of the job search, from career exploration and industry research to interviewing and evaluating offers. We also discuss strategies for managing your search while in graduate school or another job. Participants have the opportunity to generate their own job search plan of action with feedback from the facilitator. Led by Sarah Goldberg, Career Counselor at the Columbia Career Education Center.
What do PhD students really want? Doctoral students reflect on their wishes and needs in the context of their job search and careers. Short presentations focus on one aspect of a program in the languages and literatures: mentoring, curriculum, dissertation, or career preparation. Conversation between moderators and the audience follows.
Humanities PhDs working outside the professoriat bring not only transferable skills but also unique forms of expertise to their organizations. This hands-on workshop provides job seekers with an introduction to articulating transferable skills and communicating humanities expertise to prospective employers outside the academy. Led by Stacy Hartman, Project Manager of Connected Academics.
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.
Establishing a meaningful digital identity is essential to managing one’s scholarly and professional reputation. This workshop addresses ways to cultivate an online identity and offers guidance on “going public” using tools and strategies for building a community around your work. Topics include social media, writing for different audiences, personal Web sites, digital dissertations, and more. Led by Katina Rogers, Associate Director of the Futures Initiative, City University of New York.
This hands-on workshop provides an introduction to networking and informational interviews for PhD candidates and postdocs in MLA fields. How do you find people to talk to about possible career paths? How do you create meaningful professional connections with people outside your academic field? What questions should you ask in informational interviews? Please bring a laptop. Led by Stacy Hartman, Project Manager of Connected Academics.
This session provides an opportunity to engage in dialogue around the issue of debt, a topic that is inadequately addressed in conversations on career pathways and professionalization. Panelists explore the topic of debt and the humanities and begin to imagine a future where the conversation about debt is no longer isolating and is instead an integral part to building communities. Video dialogues informing the conversation are available at humwork.uchri.org.
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 New York City. Please find below details on these sessions.
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.
Representatives of different institutional types (AA-, BA-, MA-, and PhD-granting programs) as well as from fields outside the academy discuss work and careers. Speakers address institutional expectations, navigating a complex market, transferable skills from graduate school training, administrative positions in higher education and nonprofit organizations, and international work opportunities.
This workshop 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. This mentoring workshop is not intended to replace one-on-one job counseling that can be scheduled at other times during the convention.
Administrators from a range of institutional types discuss the sometimes surprising road they took to their positions as deans and provosts. Open discussion on the joys and frustrations of a career in higher administration follows.
Directed at graduate students and the recently hired, this session aims to demystify the process of publishing in scholarly journals. Experienced editors from an array of journals—ARIEL, Studies in the Novel, Narrative, and Literature/Film Quarterly—offer multiple perspectives.
Participants address the current challenges that the humanities face in terms of funding and support. How can the humanities become more central to matters of public policy?
Panelists offer a master class on negotiating styles and strategies that best serve academics identifying as women in their efforts to improve salary and other conditions of current or prospective employment. Facilitated by women who are experienced deans and seasoned negotiators, the session arms attendees with practical advice and effective techniques for navigating common gendered obstacles to successful negotiations.
This session aims to demonstrate strategies to advocate for world languages on and off campus. Presenters use their research of LinkedIn and other platforms to show how world languages and humanities majors lead to relevant careers and how career trajectories of their alumni can serve as a bridge to advocate with key stakeholders and serve as a reflective tool to evolve curricula.
Traditionally, PhD programs have prepared students for one career path: the tenure track. Facing the reality that the number of tenure-track positions has decreased and that many contingent positions are financially and personally unsustainable, this session addresses the need to prepare students for a broader range of careers. Panelists explore curricular and noncurricular enhancements that prepare students to leverage their skills in nontraditional ways.
Presenters discuss a range of perspectives on the value of teaching literature in relation to projects of the public humanities.
Demonstration interviews of candidates for positions teaching in foreign language and literature departments are analyzed and critiqued by audience members, interviewers, and interviewees.
This workshop helps doctoral students and recent PhDs get a sense of what it’s like to make a career at a regional public university, community college, or small teaching college. How do you balance teaching with (some) research and service? Who are the students, and what are the challenges facing them? Workshop leaders help you prepare job applications tailored to these kinds of institutions.
This workshop, primarily geared toward graduate students and junior faculty members, introduces the different kinds of grants that are available for scholars in the humanities and how to go about finding them. Desai and Sarnoff discuss some things to bear in mind as you craft an application so that it has the greatest chance of being funded.
Continuing a tradition of the forum on teaching literature, eminent writers and scholars consider the question “Why teach literature?,” by drawing on personal experience and knowledge of the field, and reflect on the changing nature of the profession.
This workshop serves as an introduction to the nonprofit scholarly network Humanities Commons and its open-access repository, CORE. Learn how to gain more readers while increasing the impact of your work, make interdisciplinary connections, build class blogs and collaborative Web sites, find and reuse openly available research materials, and create a professional online presence. Sign up in advance and view related material at scholcomm.mla.hcommons.org/mla18.
Those who take on the substantial work of journal editing have often received little or no training. This session brings together a varied group of experienced journal editors to offer editors new to their positions the opportunity to hear advice, raise questions, and share experiences. Panelists offer brief presentations (“What I Wish I Had Known”); the bulk of the session is open Q and A.
Community colleges and doctoral programs are developing new ways to work together to strengthen and amplify their missions and to support equity and diversity in higher education. Faculty members, administrators, and students lead a participatory discussion and hands- on workshop about opportunities and challenges of connecting graduate education and pedagogical training with community college teaching. Preregistration is required. For related material, visit cunyhumanitiesalliance.org.
This workshop offers participants both theoretical and hands-on considerations of digital humanities (DH) tools, software, and methodologies; on-campus digital scholarship; DH postdoctoral fellowships; social media; DH for academic administrators; #alt-ac roles; and open social scholarship. Preregistration is required. For related material, visit dhsi.org after 15 September.
Scholars guide audience members through all steps in organizing panels for language and literature conferences: writing the proposal, promoting the call for papers, curating abstracts, facilitating discussion among panelists and audience members, and developing panels into publications. Audience members are encouraged to offer advice from their own experiences. For related material, visit dereksmcgrath.wordpress.com after 3 November.
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.
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 and offers applicants strategies for submitting competitive grant proposals.
In a moment of crisis in the humanities we find one silver lining: scholars have found a multitude of ways to make a difference for broader publics. Our panelists introduce public projects (digital humanities, medical humanities, podcasting, community engagement, service learning, and teaching in prisons), then speak to how they built those projects, ultimately offering advice for getting started with new public work. For related material, visit mlagrads.mla.hcommons.org after 20 December.
The large role that professional schools play in employing humanities scholars and in training future professionals, although usually overlooked in discussions of the profession, is an important contribution to the conversation about the place of the humanities in higher education. What unique challenges and opportunities face humanities scholars, students, and the humanities fields at professional schools?
This workshop offers practical guidance on successfully developing an academic book for publication in the humanities, from proposal to contract. Panelists offer tips for writing your book proposal, thinking about readership, and responding to readers’ reports and developmental editing, among other topics. After brief presentations, panelists will answer questions and facilitate discussions.
Panelists demonstrate compelling and successful approaches to practicing literary criticism as public scholarship, from writing on contemporary culture and politics for broad reading publics to building community partnerships. The session will be structured as an ignite talk, or PechaKucha format.