Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blog CLIII (153): Alternative Careers and the AHA

There are growing signs that the American Historical Association is taking some real steps to address the biggest issue facing the profession--the job crisis.  Starting in September, Perspectives on History, the AHA newsletter, has been running columns from history Ph.D.s who have found employment outside of a history department.  The first article, "A Historian on the Hill" came from John A. Lawrence, who served for 38 years as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives after attending the Berkley campus of the University of California.  In the October issue, Camille Henderson, a University of Chicago Ph.D., wrote about her work as the head of the Agios Pharmaceuticals, a firm located in Cambridge, Massachusetts in "Study Change to Affect Chang: A History Ph.D. in Human Resources."  The November issue presented a discussion between four historians who are academic administrators.  They are Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, an institutional research analyst for the University of Texas; Pam Lach, a Digital Innovation Lab manager at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jason Myers, a faculty and staff support specialist and operations coordinator for the University of Denver; and Anne Mitchell Whisnant, a deputy secretary of the faculty and also adjunct associate professor of history and American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This feature in Perspectives is a good step.  The AHA newsletter has a bigger audience than this blog and these articles basically perform the same function as the "History Ph.D. as..." series that appeared in this blog.  It is my sincere hope that more initiatives from the AHA will follow.