University of California, Los Angeles

History at Work, the Career Diversity for Historians pilot program housed in the  Department of History at UCLA, is coordinated by Stephen Aron, Chair;  Muriel McClendon, Vice Chair for Graduate Affairs; and Karen Wilson, Graduate Career Officer.

In its first year of the AHA Career Diversity Initiative, the UCLA History Department set in place a number of factors critical to inducing a sea-change in the ways we approach preparing Ph.D. students for career success.  Significant advances were made in staffing, curriculum, and programming.  All contributed to the infrastructure and cultural changes necessary to create a new model for making history more relevant and beneficial to the public and for training historians to be more attentive to the broad application of their skills and expertise.  

Through curricula modification and new courses, the department is integrating professional development into the graduate experience.  "Becoming An Historian," a two-quarter seminar created by Professor McClendon, incorporates guest speakers and resources that address preparation for a variety of careers as well as the common tasks of graduate school.  A new seminar/practicum, "Being An Historian: The Many Professions of History," will be introduced in Winter Quarter 2016. Co-taught by Professor Aron and Dr. Wilson, it exposes students to the professional concerns and career trajectories of history Ph.D.s in a wide range of professions, while requiring students to engage in collaborative applied history projects.  In "Teaching History," a prerequisite seminar for all department teaching assistants, first and second-year students are introduced to the importance of skills development and career path preparation, while being coached through practical exercises related to gaining competency in those areas.  

In collaboration with the History Graduate Student Association, alumni, and faculty networks, three quarterly programs introduce students to different career paths and approaches through the experiences of invited guests: History Hikes, So What Did You Do With That Ph.D.? and Writing History. Each event is planned to be highly interactive to maximize its informational and networking value to students.   

The department will host a two-day conference, Futures of History: Discussions, Demonstrations, Displays, February 25-26, 2016, aimed at empowering the next generation of historians.  Check out the conference web page for registration and program details.  

For more information on History at Work, contact Karen Wilson at kswilson@ucla.edu.