First, I want to note that Allen Mikaelian did an impressive job of editing the essay. I am not sure if he bought my arguments or not, but in a good give and take, we cut the article down to 1,500 words without doing much damage. I did remove a couple of items, but why I did that I will explain later.
Second, the AHA staff reads this blog regularly. This fact, I think, made them receptive to publishing my article, since they have known for a while that I have been trying to offer alternatives and ideas to solve professional issues, but they are looking for other voices. Here is Mikaelian's assessment:
We who work on Perspectives on History and AHA social media find it all but impossible either to regard the public as a straw man or to please only ourselves, because our reading public—AHA members, nonmembers in the discipline, interested parties in other disciplines, reporters looking for a story—are always present. As creative, thoughtful people in the habit of writing and discussing, who are also plugged into social media, they let us know quickly and in many formats exactly what they think of the ideas presented in the latest issue or blog post...
The articles in this issue by Johann Neem and Nicholas Sarantakes are exactly what we want to see. Neem responds to the Tuning project with a cautionary tale from the history of higher education, and Sarantakes reacts to the "Plan B" and "Plan C" articles offered in these pages by Anthony Grafton and James Grossman. When we receive more articles like these—thoughtfully critical of AHA projects, publications, or positions; well written; offered in the spirit of advancing the conversation—we will publish them. As editor, I'll even work to make their arguments sharper.
Much the same goes for comments and blog posts on other sites that concern things we've published. We want to link to them and promote them. They should be part of the conversation, but that can't happen if we don't know they exist.The Tuning Project is an AHA exercise in studying and then defining what a student should be able to understand and do when they graduate with a history degree.
In the closing of the article, I said that my ideas were a constructive effort to help solve professional problems that historians are facing. You might not like the ideas—and that is okay—but if you like my ideas or have better ones to solve employment issues—and that is the real issue, not praising or criticizing my article—I hope you will offer up your voice and let the AHA know in some form or fashion.