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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Many Professions of History

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