The University of California Humanities Research Institute’s Humanists@Work series hosted its fall workshop in Santa Barbara on November 7. The Partner Summit had a smaller format with greater participation from organizational partners like the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as well as the four University of California campus recipients of the NEH Next Generation Ph.D. grant (Berkeley, Irvine, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz) to think broadly about the state of professionalization across the University of California system.
As the fifth event in the Humanists@Work workshop series, the Santa Barbara Partner Summit continued familiar sessions including the “Stories from the Field” panel with four humanities Ph.D.s currently at work outside the tenure-track and the popular resume writing workshop with Jared Redick of The Resume Studio. The event maintained the spirit of collaboration and openness among participants, who were encouraged to think and engage with the practical and theoretical aspects of professionalization for humanities Ph.D.s.
UCHRI Associate Director Kelly Anne Brown, as part of a Data Forum essay for the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, spoke to the shifting direction of Humanists@Work: “Humwork recognizes that the humanities need to engage in conversations about humanistic teaching, scholarship, and service as work, and not only to communicate this understanding to publics beyond the university, but to reflect it back to ourselves. Generally we ask: what is humanities labor? Specifically we wonder: how does the humanities understand its own labor, both within and outside the university?”
The Partner Summit also added new features such as a two-part research presentation and discussion by members of the Humanists@Work Graduate Student Advisory Committee on their survey data of available professional services and resources across four campuses (Davis, Berkeley, Merced, and San Diego). The sessions, “Navigating a Path from Campus to Career,” took the first important step of compiling snapshots of available resources at each campus and analyzing the professionalization landscape for humanities PhDs, as well as identifying gaps and opportunities for existing resources.
Meg Sparling, a Ph.D. candidate in English at UC Davis and member of the Humanists@Work Graduate Advisory Committee, created the professional services survey and presented the data for UC Davis at the summit. Sparling is currently leading the effort to establish a local chapter of Humanists@Work, where UC Davis graduate students can meet virtually and in-person to share knowledge and experiences about career training and preparation for work within and outside the university. You can find out more by attending Sparling’s presentation at the UC Davis Humanities Institute’s Ph.D. Unlimited workshop series on Tuesday January 31, at 12:00pm in 228 Voorhies.
If you are looking for support around professionalization, consider joining the MA/Ph.D. Unlimited FaceBook group, who also work closely with the UC Davis Humanities Institute in their Ph.D. Unlimited series programming. If you are on (or will soon be on) the non-academic job market, contact Meg Sparling directly to join a small group of people sharing resources and helping one another prepare for application and interview processes outside the traditional academic track.
If you are interested in helping to shape the future of career training for humanities Ph.D.s at the University of California, apply to become a member of the Humanists@Work Graduate Advisory Committee for 2017-18. Applications are due on May 5, 2017. Details are being finalized, but the next Humanists@Work workshop will take place in early May 2017 in Santa Clara (details will be announced on the Hum@Work website).
– Stephanie Maroney, DHI Graduate Student Researcher and doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies