Career Diversity and Professional Development
In 2016, the Department of History at UTEP received the first of two programming grants from the American Historical Association and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support our efforts to assist doctoral students in further developing their professional skills in order to better prepare them for careers inside and outside the academy. Based on research and feedback from History PhDs from a wide range of employment settings, the AHA has partnered with universities across the country to focus on skills situated between and beyond teaching and research, the most familiar skill sets of historians. Based on the skill sets highlighted below, the Department of History has mapped out a shift in the training of our doctoral students as highly talented individuals who can “do history” in multiple spaces, communicate with a wide range of audiences, and who have the confidence to solve new and difficult problems that they may encounter inside and outside the professoriate.
Skill Sets and “Sensibilities” of Professional Development and Career Diversity
- Collaboration (with a wide range of professionals in/outside of the field)
- Communication (share research in multiple contexts and with various audiences)
- Digital Literacy (digital history, technology, social media competency)
- Quantitative Literacy (data gathering, budgetary abilities)
- Intellectual Confidence (exploration and application of skills in different settings)
- Problem solving and resourcefulness
- Networking and outreach
Graduate students can develop these skills through a wide range of experiences, inside the graduate classroom, through public history and outreach efforts, and with various forms of mentoring and shadowing. Graduate students can participate in internships organized with local organizations, such as the El Paso County Historical Society, The Border Farmworker’s Center, the El Paso History Museum, and the Chamizal National Monument. They can shadow and seek mentorship from UTEP administrators, faculty, and staff in the Centennial Museum, the Entering Student Program, Information Technology, and the Extended University. Faculty instructors and mentors can support students through exposure to grant writing, encouraging conference attendance and publication, and various engaging community organizations. Assignments in graduate classrooms can include reviews of museum exhibits, team-teaching and leading discussion, organizing a small lecture off-campus, or substituting a blogpost for a book review. Faculty can also encourage PhD students to offer public lectures, interview archivists and museum specialists, or simply take on new challenges beyond the standard training of most history PhDs.
Our Career Diversity / Professional Development endeavors are open to all graduate students at any stage of their training, regardless of where they envision themselves in the future.
The American Historical Association Career Diversity Initiative