In December 2016, the Mellon Foundation awarded the AHA a third grant to continue its work on Career Diversity for Historians. This implementation phase dramatically expanded the reach of the initiative by providing funding for departments from across the country to create sustainable cultural and structural change in their doctoral programs.

The implementation phase began with a yearlong series of Faculty Institutes designed to prepare prospective participants to organize applications. The institutes brought together faculty from 36 history departments around the country, who worked together to develop ideas about how faculty from programs of different sizes, institutional cultures, and geographic locations could lead efforts to implement Career Diversity into the hearts of their doctoral programs. The Faculty Institutes were based on the lesson from the pilot phase that in order to accomplish change or even to achieve meaningful discussion of structures and values, certain groundwork needed to be done in advance. Most importantly, faculty were encouraged to learn about the aspirations and experiences of the students in their department, and to locate partners across the university to aid in implementing their plans.

In the spring of 2018, 20 departments in the Faculty Institute cohort were awarded Career Diversity Implementation Grants. These grants supported a Career Diversity team composed of faculty and a Career Diversity fellow, a PhD candidate who receives funding to work in an administrative capacity. These Career Diversity teams combined faculty leadership with significant student input, bringing together key constituencies capable of creating cultural and structural change in history departments.

Career Diversity Implementation Grants supported a wide range of activities, including:

  • Articulating and refining the purpose of the graduate programs
  • Developing professionalization seminars
  • Creating exam fields in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
  • Establishing internships for graduate students
  • Building connections with department alumni
  • Forging ties to other units of the university, including career centers, university libraries, centers for teaching and learning, and humanities centers
  • Rethinking admissions, recruitment, and orientation to encourage expansive thinking about careers
    Holding symposia and workshops exposing students and faculty to diverse careers and new skills

Together, our institutional partners developed models and practices of use to history departments across the country. In the process, they raised new questions—including the relationship between history PhD and MA programs, questions about how racial/ethnic diversity intersect with career diversity, and conversations about graduate student mental health.