Professional Development and Career Diversity at AHA17
The annual meeting offers all kinds of opportunities to explore career paths, hone your job search skills, and expand your professional network. Whatever the stage of your career search, there is a workshop, panel session or networking opportunity to aid you at AHA17.
Meet New People
There are many ways to meet fellow historians at the annual meeting. Before you arrive in Denver, take a look at the AHA First-Time Attendee Guide for general tips on how to network. Start the weekend off by going to Getting the Most Out of the Annual Meeting to get advice from veteran attendees. Then, drop by the fourth annual Career Fair on Saturday afternoon, hosted by the AHA Career Diversity initiative, to talk to a variety of potential employers, including representatives from government, education, and non-profit organizations. If you're a graduate student, the AHA Graduate and Early Career Committee (GECC) invites you to the Reception for Graduate Students in the Sheraton's Plaza Ballroom E, Thursday, Jan 5, 5:00 PM-6:00 PM. A variety of receptions geared towards other groups and topics are listed in the online program under AHA Events.
Hone Your Skills
Need to hone your professional skills? AHA17 is offering a wealth of sessions to help you out. If you're still in school, consider attending History Engagement: Four Career Diversity Models for Developing History Doctoral Internships, which will outline successful strategies for securing internships and making the most of the experience. If you're on the job market or will be soon, you may find the following sessions useful: The Many Careers of the History PhD (a traditional panel with Q&A), the Job Workshop for Historians (a more hands-on event with one-on-one advice), and Deciphering the Academic Job Search. In these sessions, historians working in a wide range of jobs will give advice on conducting job searches, applying, and interviewing, as well as give broader insight on the variety of jobs available to historians.
There is also programming for more specific skill development. The ability to communicate to a variety of audiences in a variety of media, for example, is a valuable resource that history PhDs can offer to potential employers. Practice describing your research within three minutes at the Dissertation Lightning Round. The Professional Division will offer both a Q&A with Publishers and a Q&A with Journal Editors. Scholarly communications professionals will discuss current issues in publishing at Authors and their Work in the Brave New Worlds of Scholarly Publishing. A pair of panels, jointly titled "Writing History," will highlight the range of publishing challenges and opportunities beyond scholarly publishing: Writing for Readers in the 21st Century-For Love, Money, and Applause; and Genre-Busting History. Finally, Say It Like You Mean It: Graduate Education and Creative Expression in Thinking, Making, and Doing History will examine how and why graduate students can and should think creatively about their scholarly work and develop the tools to disseminate it to a wide and varied audience.
Explore Career Paths
AHA's Career Diversity for Historians initiative is working to better prepare graduate students and early-career historians for a range of career options, within and beyond the academy. At the Career Fair, historians from a variety of fields (government agencies, military, nonprofits, businesses, colleges and universities, presses, independent scholars, K-12, etc.) will speak with students and job candidates about the path to becoming a historian. All AHA annual meeting attendees are invited to participate; contact Emily Swafford at email@example.com for more information.
Career Diversity is also sponsoring the pre-fair workshop, Decoding Work: Aligning Values and Career, led by Annie Maxfield, associate director of graduate student relations and services at the University of California-Los Angeles Career Center. Based on a successful workshop at the Career Diversity regional conference "Futures of History" at UCLA, the workshop at the annual meeting will help graduate students identify their unique strengths and values, and address using this insight to decode job descriptions and identify concrete starting points to explore possible career paths.
Join the Conversation
GECC annually invites graduate students and early-career professionals to the Graduate and Early Career Open Forum (held this year at the Hyatt, Mineral Hall D, Friday, Jan 6, 2:30 PM-3:30 PM) to discuss issues of common interest. To help focus the conversation, we have selected "Advocacy" as the subject of this year's open forum. Speakers will discuss the multiple ways that historians can use their expertise to foster informed discussion and debate contemporary social and political issues. Participants on the forum will include Rachael De la Cruz, a graduate student and advocate for undocumented students; James Leloudis, a professor representing Scholars for North Carolina's Future; and Gabriel Winant, who has been active in the effort to unionize graduate students in New Haven and New York.
Finally, Career Diversity is partnering with the Modern Language Association's Connected Academics project, a parallel initiative also funded by the Mellon Foundation, to offer Candid Conversations: Mentorship in the Humanities. Based on the University of California Humanities Research Institute's successful online series "Candid Conversations," the panel will use a series of short, prerecorded videos as "pre-text" for a roundtable discussion on the value of and best practices for mentorship during and after graduate school. Audience comment will be a central aspect of the conversation.
Sessions on Professional Development
There are also many AHA17 sessions devoted to the variety of careers possible for those with history degrees. Whether you're pursuing your BA in history, an MA, or PhD, or are now on the job market, we hope the opportunity to hear from historians employed in a range of institutions will provide inspiration.
Roundtable on Transitioning to the Professoriate
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 2A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Authors and their Work in the Brave New Worlds of Scholarly Publishing
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 2B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Writing History, Part 1: Writing for Readers in the 21st Century—For Love, Money, and Applause
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Queer Scholars and Scholarship on the Job Market: A Roundtable
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 1D (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Deciphering the Academic Job Search
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 2A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
History Engagement: Four Career Diversity Models for Developing History Doctoral Internships
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 1A (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Writing History, Part 2: Genre-Busting History
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
The Many Careers of the History PhD
8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Centennial Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
Job Workshop for Historians
10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Centennial Ballroom D (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
History in the Federal Government: Careers Serving Policymakers and the Public
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 1C (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Historians and Work-Life Balance: A Roundtable
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 2B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Graduate and Early Career Open Forum: Advocacy
2:30 PM-3:30 PM, Mineral Hall D (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
A Q&A with Publishers
8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
A Q&A with Journal Editors
10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
"Mellonizing" the Seminar: Applying the AHA’s "5 Skills" to Graduate Education at the University of New Mexico
10:30 AM-12:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 2B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Decoding Work: Aligning Values and Career
11:45 AM-12:45 PM, Four Seasons Ballroom 2 (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
1:00 PM-4:00 PM, Four Seasons Ballroom 2 (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Position and Mission: Women of Color Historians’ Career Considerations and Implications
1:30 PM-3:00 PM, Mile High Ballroom 1B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
Say It Like You Mean It: Graduate Education and Creative Expression in Thinking, Making, and Doing History
3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Room 605 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Candid Conversations: Mentorship in the Humanities
9:00 AM-10:30 AM, Mile High Ballroom 3B (Colorado Convention Center, Ballroom Level)
We look forward to welcoming you to the annual meeting, and we hope you'll take the time to reflect on, discuss, and hear panels about the broad range of careers held by historians.
Career Diversity for Historians
The AHA seeks to expand the occupational presence of humanists beyond the academy by broadening the professional options that students commonly imagine for themselves and aspire to. Broadening employment prospects for holders of doctorates in history will at once enhance the employment opportunities of PhD historians and expand the influence of historical thinking across society.