AHA Activities

Association Increases Attention to Graduate Students' Needs

AHA Staff, March 1995

Graduate students now account for almost 10 percent of the Association's membership. To meet their needs, the AHA has increased its services for them and expanded their involvement in the activities and policy making of the Association. At the last annual meeting, for instance, the Association offered five sessions that were primarily by or for graduate students, including "Interviewing in the Job Market in the 1990s"; "Working Outside the Tenure System: The Employment of Historians as Part-Time and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty"; "The Future Professoriate: Preparing Graduate Students for the Classroom"; "Pursuing the Ph.D. in an Age of Limits—Is There a Better Way? Graduate Students Respond"; and "Recent Graduate Research on `Third World' Women's History," which was sponsored by the Committee on Women Historians. The Association, together with the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession/Conference Group on Women's History, also provided a drop-in room with coffee for graduate students attending the meeting. And on Friday evening, a reception for graduate students was held.

To assist future members of the profession on the path from the baccalaureate degree to tenure, the Association produced a pamphlet in 1991 entitled Becoming a Historian: A Survival Manual for Women and Men. This valuable resource is intended to help graduate students meet the challenges that they can expect to encounter in their careers. In addition, the Association is currently preparing a pamphlet on training graduate students to teach, and it is considering a variety of initiatives to assist students entering the job market, with particular attention to the problem of part-time employment.

The AHA has also increased the representation of graduate students in its governing bodies. Leslie Brown (Duke Univ./Skidmore Coll.) is the first graduate student representative on the Association's Council. Glen Kueker (Rutgers Univ.) is the graduate representative to the Membership Committee; Eleanor Alexander (Brown Univ.) is the graduate representative to the Committee on Women Historians; and Cynthia Blair (Harvard Univ.) represents graduate students on the Committee on Minority Historians. The graduate student representatives welcome feedback from their constituencies regarding issues relevant to the bodies they report to.

Finally, at the recommendation of the Membership Committee, the AHA Council has agreed to establish a task force to investigate issues of relevance to graduate students. The precise composition of the ad hoc group is still being worked out.