Teaching Career Diversity Through Informational Interviews

Perspectives on History: the newsmagazine of the American Historical Association


The content and format of career diversity within humanities departments follows no single model. As curriculum committees and graduate program chairs consider whether or not to make coursework or training mandatory, where to situate it within the arc of the program, and how to connect students with resources beyond the unit or department, it can be helpful to identify models implemented at other institutions.

One approach – by Dr. Purnima Dhavan, Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Washington’s history department – featured in the July 2018 issue of Perspectives on History. Her course, History 571: Orientation to a Career in History, features informational interviews as a way to engage in “conversations with mentors in a wide variety of fields[.]” Including her syllabus as part of the post, faculty and departments interested in career diversity might find it a useful resource when considering how to engage their alumni network or adapt resources like the AHA’s Career Contacts as a way to connect students with a wide range of mentoring possibilities.