Call for Applications: Career Diversity Fellows Program

The American Historical Association welcomes applications from history departments to participate in its Career Diversity Fellows Program, part of the Career Diversity for Historians Initiative. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the AHA, these grants will fund two years of programming at up to 20 history departments. The goal of this initiative is to promote cultural and curricular change aimed at broadening the employment horizons and preparation of graduate students. This third stage of the AHA’s work includes consideration of the current landscape of professorial work, especially in teaching-intensive environments.

Applicants will be asked to develop a proposal reflecting the specific needs, circumstances, and opportunities of their departments based on what they have learned during the AHA’s Faculty Institutes. Strong proposals will take seriously the idea that preparation for careers as teachers in higher education overlaps with preparation for careers beyond the professoriate and will articulate a vision for the department beyond the two years of grant-funded activity. Rather than add-on activities and programming, the ultimate aim is for each department to develop an iterative process to articulate the purpose of its PhD program and align that purpose with both its curriculum and student outcomes.

Applications will be submitted by a faculty team comprising the department chair, director of graduate study (or equivalent position), and at least one other tenured faculty member. Recipients will host a Career Diversity Fellow, selected by the department, who will work closely with the faculty team. The combination of a Career Diversity Fellow and the faculty team is designed to maximize departmental resources. Faculty will provide leadership and mentorship, and the fellow will coordinate the department’s activities, thus gaining valuable experience in academic administration while minimizing any increase in faculty workload. The fellow may be either a PhD candidate in the department or a postdoc, whichever is better suited to the department’s or institution’s financial structures and culture.

All recipients will administer a survey of both alumni and current students (surveys drawn from the Council of Graduate Schools), but will be otherwise free to shape their proposed activities to suit institutional imperatives and culture.

***Applications are restricted to departments that participated in the 2017–18 AHA Career Diversity Faculty Institutes.***

Applications will be due on January 26, 2018. Please upload all application materials as a single PDF to

Successful applicants will receive:

  • A $7,500/per year award to support the Career Diversity Fellow. This amount may be used to subsidize a graduate stipend, postdoctoral salary, or other project-related activities if a department is able to fund the half-time position from other resources.
  • An $8,000 operating fund to support programming relating to Career Diversity. Possible expenditures might include faculty stipends, event related costs, etc., as specified in the grant application. These regrant funds may not be used for overhead.
  • Full funding for Career Diversity Fellow and subsidies for faculty partners to attend an orientation in Washington, DC, or Chicago (TBD) and subsequent professional development activities, worth approximately $7,000 per department.

Total financial support from the AHA will amount to approximately $30,000 over two years.

Application Process

Proposals should include the following components:

  1. The names and titles of the core faculty committee who will serve as the team for the duration of the grant. This faculty team must include the department chair, director of graduate study (or equivalent position), and at least one additional tenured faculty member, but may include additional members.
  2. A list of possible participants and collaborators, including (for example) appropriate administrators and university offices, alumni and current graduate students, and other community resources.
  3. A letter from an appropriate administrator (e.g., a graduate dean or provost) in support of the application.
  4. A budget indicating how the operating funds will be spent over the two-year grant period.
  5. A 2-3 page proposal outlining your department's efforts to create lasting change by developing an iterative process to articulate the purpose of its PhD program. The proposal should contain the following:
    • An evaluation of the current strengths of your department’s PhD program, existing departmental or university assets that will aid your work, and a description of the barriers (e.g. cultural, financial, and/or structural) you face in implementing Career Diversity initiatives.
    • The types of activities that the department will implement during the two years of funding. Be sure to indicate the distribution of labor between the faculty team and the Career Diversity Fellow, the timeline of proposed activities (e.g. fall professionalization seminar, spring symposium, summer internships), and how grant-funded activities might be sustained beyond the grant period. 
    • An outline of the department’s vision for the Career Diversity Fellow, including a justification for the type of position being created describing how the position relates to existing department structures (e.g., equivalent to existing research assistantships or internships, or a newly created postdoctoral position, etc.), and the process for selecting the fellow. Be sure to explicitly mention how the fellow will be compensated and the how the proportion of their time allocated to Career Diversity is adequate to what you would like to achieve under the grant. Career Diversity must comprise a significant portion of the fellow’s work hours (at least 15–20 hours per week) and fellows must receive ethically defensible compensation for their work, equivalent to or exceeding compensation for similar positions within the department.

Activities supported by grant funds can include (but are not limited to):

  • Distributing a survey to alumni and current students (REQUIRED OF ALL GRANT RECIPIENTS)
  • Creating links to career and alumni offices, centers for teaching and learning, and other appropriate units such as humanities centers
  • Creating on-campus internships, following an assistantship model
  • Organizing off-campus internships
  • Developing programming to expose students to different teaching environments
  • Organizing/redesigning a departmental pedagogy course
  • Organizing/redesigning a departmental professionalization course to place greater emphasis on careers beyond the professoriate

Successful applicants will be required to submit interim and final reports to the AHA, send representatives to all required meetings, and coordinate with AHA staff to administer the Council of Graduate Schools Career Pathways survey on graduate career aspirations and alumni experiences. At the end of the grant period, they will also be required to submit a statement of purpose for their PhD program, showing how it relates to the department’s alumni outcomes and curriculum, as well as how and when the statement of purpose will be revisited.

Role and Responsibilities of the Faculty Team

  • Provide leadership to the department’s Career Diversity initiatives
  • Lend legitimacy and influence to programming and curricular change
  • Advocate for integration of Career Diversity into departmental culture and program structure
  • Liaise, when necessary, with administrative bodies on campus or meaningfully assist the fellow in doing so
  • Ensure that Career Diversity Fellows are provided with meaningful mentoring and professional development opportunities
  • Send a representative to the Career Diversity Fellow orientation and subsequent required programming organized by the AHA

Role and Responsibilities of the Career Diversity Fellow

  • Assume primary responsibility for planning and logistics of departmental programming
  • Work at least 15–20 hours per week on grant-related activities. Fellows may work more hours, if compensated under the terms of their appointment
  • Assist as appropriate in efforts to revise department curriculum/requirements
  • Serve as primary point of contact within the department on the initiative, facilitating communication and interaction between graduate students, faculty, alumni, and other branches of the university community
  • Attend Career Diversity Fellow orientation and subsequent required programming organized by the AHA
  • Maintain communication with the AHA
  • Seek opportunities for professional development relevant to their work as a Career Diversity Fellow

Role and Responsibility of the AHA

  • Provide requisite orientation and subsequent programmatic support, including site visits
  • Supplement continuing professional development of Career Diversity Fellows
  • Assist in administration of CGS Career Pathways surveys
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration among institutions participating in Career Diversity Fellowship Program
  • Help organize and convene regional Career Diversity gatherings proposed by departments
  • Provide space at the AHA annual meeting for fellows and participating departments to present lessons learned to the wider community of historians and to interact with each other
  • Connect fellows to additional AHA staff for further support as appropriate
  • Listen and learn from the work of departments. Promote accomplishments and lessons learned from the initiative to other disciplines and the larger world of higher education, and work to connect Career Diversity with related initiatives