Diplomatic Approaches: A Romance Languages PhD purses a path in Italy’s consular service

By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Pierluigi Erbaggio received his PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Michigan in 2016. He is an Administrative Assistant at the Consulate of Italy in Detroit, MI. He spoke as part of U-M’s PhD Connections: A Career Conference in April 2018 and agreed to share some more perspectives about his own trajectory. Italy’s diplomatic presence in Michigan began over a century ago with the appointment of a consular agent in 1899. Today, Dr. Pierluigi Erbaggio works alongside eight other staff at the Consulate of Italy’s offices […]

Teaching Career Diversity Through Informational Interviews

  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 […]

Humanities for All

A project of the National Humanities Alliance, the Humanities for All database showcases “higher ed-based publicly engaged humanities initiatives, presenting a cross-section of over 1400 undertaken over the past decade from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.” Projects are organized by discipline, theme, geography, and type of institutional and community partners. There’s plenty of material for students investigating a range of humanities options, for scholars interested in models of how to add a public facet to their research, or anybody who wants to learn more about the […]

Synthetic Thinking: An archivist’s journey from dinosaurs to Du Bois

By Matthew Woodbury Dr. Robert S. Cox is Head of Special Collections at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries. He received his PhD in History from the University of Michigan in 2002. Dr. Cox began his PhD to learn about the past. Initial training as a paleontologist, however, meant that the materials he consulted were millennia older than those he now manages for the University of Massachusetts Libraries. Shifting doctoral programs from studying fossils to reading and writing about American history required both learning new disciplinary approaches and refocusing on […]

Mobilizing the Humanities for Diverse Careers

  This piece from Anne Krook encourages humanities graduate departments to focus “on two problems whose fixes are within our own control.” She identifies the problems as as, first, training “students in too narrow a range of dissertation lengths and types” and second “most often implicitly and explicitly devalu[ing] non-academic job outcomes.” Departments and advisers might, instead, consider shorter dissertations, how to “teach students to write for broader audiences in a wider variety of venues,” and how to train “faculty to value and support the non-academic jobs that we know […]

Where do humanists work?: Organizational Profiles

Graduates of humanities PhD programs finish their degrees with wide-ranging abilities in research, communication, instruction, and project management. For students who have spent many years at research-intensive institutions, however, it is can be difficult to imagine contexts outside of the professoriate where they might apply their training. As an assignment for English 630: Professional Humanities Careers, doctoral students from across the University of Michigan’s humanities departments brainstormed the following list of organizations as places to pursue humanities careers. By no means exhaustive, the organizations below can nevertheless inspire job-seekers to […]

A Humanities Careers Timeline for the PhD Student

By Matthew Woodbury, Research Assistant, The Humanities PhD Project Among her opening remarks at the University of Michigan’s Career Connections Conference, Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro (Founder and CEO of Beyond the Tenure Track) emphasized the importance of preparation and planning to a successful job search. Instead of waiting for the last semester to consider post-graduation options, Dr. Castro encouraged graduate students to take a longer approach. Universities, especially well-resourced institutions like the University of Michigan, provide a wealth of options for their students. At times, however, this abundance and the […]

Humanities, Communications, and Philanthropy: What I Learned Sharing the Barbour Scholars Story

By Elizabeth Harlow, Doctoral Candidate, English Language & Literature As the University of Michigan commemorated its bicentennial in 2017, one of its most storied programs also marked the major milestone of its 100th anniversary. I spent last summer learning and telling the history of the Barbour Scholarship as a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow on the Rackham Graduate School’s Development and Alumni Relations team. What is the Barbour Scholarship, you ask? One of the university’s oldest, most prestigious, and most uniquely impactful awards, the Barbour Scholarship has supported female students from […]

UM Career Center Resume and Cover Letter Tips for PhD Students

A new resource for PhDs from UM’s Career Center includes worksheets that can help identify transferable skills and construct narratives that make the skills developed during a doctorate legible to employers. The packet also provides “brief introductions that explain various application materials, reflection tools that can help … articulate your experience, examples of application materials, and, core competencies from the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) and the Rackham Graduate School.”

Preparing for Humanities Careers: Suggestions for Doctoral Students and Departments

By Matthew Woodbury, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History As a historian, when asked to explain what I do, one reply is to say I study change and continuity over time. This month that methodological approach takes a personal turn; there are a few changes on my horizon as I reach the final weeks of my doctoral studies and finish a research assistantship with Rackham Graduate School’s Humanities PhD Project. Like the end of a calendar year, the conclusion of an academic year is an appropriate moment to celebrate successes, consider […]