Name a discipline where people are trained to ask questions about cause and effect, make sense of a ridiculous amount of information to help answer those questions, and leverage that information to determine likely scenarios.
Yes – that class that you took because you had to, or you wouldn’t get your degree.
The American Historical Association (AHA) just completed a major study of where PhDs wind up working after graduation. Where Historians Work.
This is part of the AHA’s Career Diversity for Historian’s initiative – a collective realization that the job market for historians sucks and that, maybe, they should help graduates find alternate career tracks.
I was thrilled when they announced that initiative in 2014. The writing was on the wall as early as the mid-90s. Likely sooner. At the time, many of us were waiting for “the great die-off.” Instead, institutions replaced the tenure track positions held by retiring professors with adjunct positions. This trend only escalated after the 2008 recession.
I left my
When I left, my colleagues asked what I was going to do. My response: “We learned a number of
These are the same skills employers say they are looking for today.
The research methodology employed in the Where Historians Work project mirrors the data analysis activity I see in organizations.
The project team approached the data with specific questions in mind – mostly around what History
They kept the scope of the project limited to ensure that they are asking the right questions and could come up with appropriate data dashboards. They limited their inquiry to
A previous study had been performed in Spring 2013 which asked the initial questions about where
They knew where the information could be located – leveraging published doctoral dissertations, publicly available information such as LinkedIn profiles, and using their research super-powers to fill in any gaps.
My hope is that the information will be used to help better prepare History PhDs for the job market – whether they wind up following a tenure-track career path or not. A tentative conclusion emphasizes the need to better prepare graduates for teaching positions.
My second hope is that they do the same level of analysis for those of us who graduated with Masters degrees as our terminal degree. Where did those graduates wind up? Is there more or less occupational variety?
I’m thrilled to see the AHA demonstrate the power of a liberal arts education in a field as “techie” as data analysis.
I’m also thrilled to see the field finally leverage their traditional strengths in other contexts.
It’s about time.