Connected Academics at the 2019 Annual Convention in Chicago
At the 2019 MLA convention in Chicago, 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 once again offering the 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.
This year only, the MLA will be sharing a city with the American Historical Association (AHA). Your MLA badge will gain you entry to both conventions, so we have included select AHA activities on this page as well.
For the most up-to-date information on activities and opportunities, we suggest following the MLA Commons convention page.
Sessions and Resources offered at the MLA Annual Convention
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 MLA Career Center, where individuals may sign up in advance.
Career Center Lounge
Need a place to take some deep breaths before an interview? Want a quiet and comfortable spot to check e-mail? Head over to the Career Center Lounge, located in the Career Center at the Fairmont Millennium Park. It will also be hosting pop-up activities: On Thursday, 3 January, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and Friday, 4 January, from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m., get support from career services professionals on perfecting your job pitch at our “Preparing for the Career Fair” pop-up. On Friday, 4 January, and Saturday, 5 January, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, get hands-on experience using ImaginePhD, a tool designed to explore and plan careers for humanities and social science PhDs, at the “Using ImaginePhD for Career Exploration” pop-up. Please bring a tablet or a laptop.
The MLA’s 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!
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 job market, transferable skills from graduate school training, administrative positions in higher education and nonprofit organizations, and international work opportunities.
Representatives from different types of institutions discuss the job search, whether for tenure-track or non-tenure-track positions or for alt-ac career paths. Topics include not only search mechanics (CVs, letters, interviews) but also identifying passions and opportunities, developing multiyear job-search and career strategies, and negotiating offers.
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.
Participants receive hands-on guidance on best practices for crafting an academic CV. Fifteen minutes are devoted to instruction and sixty minutes to working on one’s own CV. Participants receive feedback from the facilitator and their peers and should bring a laptop or tablet.
Addressing the job search and careers in community colleges, panelists discuss application processes and materials, advice for the interview and teaching presentation, teaching loads, and service requirements for community college faculty members in English and foreign languages.
How do theories and methods learned in the humanities equip us to navigate careers over a lifetime? In this interactive session, participants engage in collaborative theory building toward the application of the humanities to career management. Emphasizing mind-sets over skill sets, they address three career challenges using frameworks and ways of thinking that characterize the humanities as an interdisciplinary endeavor.
275. Résumé Workshop
Participants receive hands-on guidance on best practices for crafting a nonacademic résumé. Fifteen minutes are devoted to instruction and sixty minutes to working on one’s own résumé. Participants receive feedback from the facilitator and their peers and should bring a laptop or tablet.
Eileen Chow, the codirector of Story Lab, and Rania Huntington, a scholar of Ming and Qing Chinese narrative, discuss the relation between storytelling and scholarship. This interactive session involves both scholarly conversation and audience participation.
Now in its second year, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ NextGen PhD program has catalyzed nationwide discussions and initiatives that have enabled universities to reimagine their doctoral programs. Previous and current recipients of NextGen PhD grants discuss successes, challenges, departmental and institutional barriers, and best practices and new ideas for departments considering changes in their graduate programs.
This workshop offers a high-level overview of the nonacademic job search, from career exploration and industry research to applying and evaluating offers, and discusses strategies for kick-starting a search while in graduate school or another job, so that participants can feel confident that their next career move is a good fit. Participants have an opportunity to engage in structured exploration and generate their own job search next steps with feedback from the facilitator.
Panelists explore recent experimentation around doctoral training in the humanities. Key issues include obstacles to more rapid innovation, ways to galvanize collective engagement with reform, and the relative advantages and drawbacks of strategies that focus on the department, the division, or the wider university.
This workshop offers participants both theoretical and hands-on considerations of digital humanities (DH) tools, software, and methodologies; on-campus digital scholarship; digital mapping; DH for academic administrators; project management; humanities data; and open social scholarship. Preregistration is required.
427. LinkedIn Workshop
Participants receive hands-on guidance on best practices for crafting a compelling LinkedIn profile. Fifteen minutes are devoted to instruction and sixty minutes to working on one’s own LinkedIn profile. Participants receive feedback from the facilitator and their peers and should bring a laptop or tablet.
This session features alumni from the Humanities without Walls (HWW), an intensive three-week career exploration experience for PhD students, facilitated by the Chicago Humanities Festival, in which participants learn how to leverage their training toward diverse careers. Participants reflect on their experiences in HWW, the impact on their thinking about their careers, and the challenges and opportunities they faced in their home institutions.
Scholars, teachers, and advocates consider the impact of the public sphere on research and teaching, and the impact of scholar-teachers on the public sphere, through discussion of the roles, responsibilities, and risks for those working in applied humanities.
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.
The session aims to clarify what is expected in each type of statement (research, teaching, diversity) that graduate students may need as they apply to jobs and considers how graduate students can connect their statements to craft authentic and compelling stories about their experiences. Panelists discuss ways graduate students might approach statements as unique documents that also align to construct a persuasive story about capabilities.
Panelists address decision-making by PhDs who pursue non-tenure-track jobs after graduate school or positions with poor fit. Participants’ presentations address stages and perspectives such as creating a balanced portfolio while in school, deciding to pursue positions off the tenure track, assessing the factors for dual-career decision-making, choosing a writing career rather than a full professor’s, and how we can understand our quit lit as positive chick lit.
This hands-on workshop breaks down some common misconceptions about networking and informational interviewing and provides an introduction to networking for PhD candidates and postdocs in MLA fields. Among the questions we will address are the following: How do you find people to speak with about possible career paths? How do you build a robust professional network beyond your academic field? What questions should you ask in informational interviews?
Faculty members and graduate students share their assessments of the value of enhancing the graduate experience through pursuing internships and developing e-portfolios.