Faculty Resources for Developing Communication Skills

AHA Career Diversity for Historians has identified the ability to communicate to different audiences across different media as essential to flourishing in careers both within and beyond the academy, and although they are not frequently emphasized as such, opportunities to hone a broad range of communication skills are readily available in graduate programs.

For more on the skill of Communication and resources for graduate students, see the corresponding Five Skills page on Communication.

  • How to Run a Public Speaking Workshop for Historians (Univ. of Chicago)

    This guide provides an overview of how to launch a public speaking workshop for graduate students in your department, including the basic logistics of organizing the workshop and suggested topics and resources for each session.

  • Writing as a Historian (Univ. of New Mexico)

    This syllabus is designed to provide faculty with a framework for developing a nonfiction writing workshop or course.

  • How to Run a History Presentation Extravaganza (Univ. of Chicago)

    This guide provides an overview of how to run a History Presentation Extravaganza in your department. This event challenges graduate students to distill some aspect of their research—a seminar paper, a dissertation chapter, an analysis of a primary source—into an engaging five-minute presentation followed by four minutes of questions from the audience. A panel of judges evaluates each presentation for style, substance, and accessibility, providing feedback to each student and awarding a prize to the top three presentations.

  • How to Run a Dissertation Lightning Round (American Historical Association)

    This how-to guide is designed to take you through the steps of setting up and running a dissertation lightning round. We see it being particularly useful in the course of a graduate-level research seminar, but it could easily be adapted for any graduate-level topical seminar.

  • University of New Mexico Internship Program

    This internship program guide and the attached application packet are designed for history graduate directors and university student career officers who are interested in developing an internship program for PhD history students. While initially designed for PhD students, the guidelines can be modified for undergraduate or masters level students.

  • Historiography: Video Book Review Assignment (Univ. of New Mexico)

    This assignment provides faculty with a framework to instruct students on the process of researching, developing, and presenting a scholarly video book review in an undergraduate or graduate historiography course.

  • How to Run a Career Fair (Columbia Univ.)

    This guide is intended to help graduate history department administrators or career counselors think through the process of organizing and running a career fair or networking event for graduate students within your department or from several universities in one area.

  • Connected Academics Proseminar Syllabus (Modern Language Association)

    This syllabus is a useful framework for organizing and selecting topics for a large- or small-scale workshop on prospective career paths. While this example is geared towards literature and language PhDs, the themes address humanities-wide issues.

  • University of Washington History Gradline

    When asked the question, “what do you wish you had learned in graduate school,” alumni often report that their programs lacked a venue beyond the classroom to discuss employment horizons and find professionalization opportunities. This website and blog is a great model for departments who want to build a one-stop, user-friendly resource to fulfill these needs.

  • Professional Lives of Historians Syllabus (UNC Chapel Hill)

    This syllabus, developed for a course offered at UNC-Chapel Hill in Spring 2016, provides sample texts, discussion questions. and practical assignments that can be utilized in similar classes or seminars.

  • The Many Professions of History (UCLA)

    This syllabus outlines course readings, in-class activities, and project assignments that can be useful in constructing a professional development seminar

  • Teaching History in the University (Berkeley)

    This syllabus is used to train graduate teaching instructors at UCB. It introduces graduate students to Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SOTL) produced by and for historians.

  • Orientation to a Career in History Provisional Syllabus (Univ. of Washington)

    This syllabus is designed to introduce graduate students in history to career diversity and life as a professional historian both within and outside academia. It covers topics including preparing for different kinds of job markets, finding support for successful on-time degree completion, and applying skills learned from academic training to a variety of professional settings. Informational interviews serve as the core of this professionalization course. Purnima Dhavan's blog post on teaching this class can be found on Perspectives Daily.

  • Introduction to Public History (Public History and Career Diversity) (UTEP)

    This syllabus, developed for a course offered at the University of Texas, El Paso in Spring 2017, is a graduate seminar combining training in public history with a range of assignments designed around the AHA's five Career Diversity skills.

  • Proseminar in History Teaching (University at Buffalo)

    The Proseminar in History Teaching explores a wide range of techniques and resources for effective history teaching at the post-secondary level, emphasizing how to translate discipline specific scholarship on teaching and learning into effective classroom instruction.

  • Hist 701: Proseminar on History Teaching

    This proseminar, organized around a series of conversations on effective and thoughtful teaching of history, was offered at the University at Buffalo in the Fall of 2019. Taught by rotating series of guest instructors, the non-credit bearing course was required for new teaching assistants, but open to all history graduate students in the department.

  • History Practicum (Wayne State Univ.)

  • Texas Graduate Internships Resource Guide

    The Texas Graduate Internships Resource Guide is designed for students, staff and faculty in History graduate programs who are exploring internship opportunities in Texas. This guide serves as a starting point for anyone seeking information about internships, how to apply to them, or how to approach a possible community partner.

  • A Career Diversity Resource Guide for History Ph.D. Programs (Univ. of New Mexico)

    This handbook is based on several years of experience as a pilot program for the AHA’s Career Diversity for Historians initiative. It explores the theoretical and practical considerations of implementing alt-ac and professional programming for our graduate students and includes advice on diversifying course development, engaging faculty, graduates, and alumni, lessons learned along the way, professionalization workshops, and related topics.

  • Hist 2950: Professionalization Seminar (Brown Univ.)

    This syllabus can be used to introduce students to strategies for career planning, resources that are available to them as they pursue their career goals, and practical skill development. It also emphasizes discussion of the "hidden curriculum" to help students navigate a PhD program.

  • History of the Body: Choose Your Path Assignment Structure (Mississippi State Univ.)

    This assignment provides faculty with an example of how to incorporate career pathways exploration into a graduate course in history. After completing an annotated bibliography, students apply their bibliographic research to one of three assignment tracks (pedagogy, research, or public scholarship), introducing them to some of the many ways historians engage with the past both within and beyond academia.