National Experiments in Career Diversity: Humanities for the Public Good Working Symposium

March 8, 2019  | Iowa City Public Library | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Across the country, leaders of PhD programs in the humanities face a conundrum. How can a department honor the subjects, methods, and practices of their disciplines while also preparing graduates for diverse careers? To inspire our thinking, we invited guests from some of the most imaginative programs across the country for a Working Symposium that asks: What would an introductory course for an interdisciplinary humanities PhD look like? What can we learn from alumni? How are departments preparing students to create digital and publicly engaged scholarship? To work collaboratively? How can we weave experiential learning into graduate studies? How can we best support humanities graduate students from underrepresented groups? What alternatives to the proto-monograph dissertation might serve students seeking careers in administration, curriculum development, government, non-profits, and publishing? We’ve asked our guests to provide thought pieces and recorded the conversations that we shared throughout the symposium and invite you to listen in below.


Friday, March 8, 2018
Iowa City Public Library

Welcome and Agenda for the Day, Teresa Mangum, Professor and Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

HPG Director Teresa Mangum welcoming guests

Evidence-Based Envisioning of the Future of Humanities Graduate Education

Moderator: Teresa Mangum

  • Maureen McCarthy, Director, Best Practices and Advancement, Council of Graduate Schools
    • The National View—Who Is Getting Jobs Where?
  • Edward Balleisen, Professor, History and Public Policy, and Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Duke University
    • The National and Local View—Yearlong Study from Duke University and The VersatileHumanist
  • Stacy Hartman, Director, PublicsLab, City University of New York and former director, Connected Academics, Modern Language Association
    • Connected Academics
  • Jenna Lay, Associate Professor, English Department, Lehigh University
    • The Local View and Collegiate Collaboration—What We’re Learning at Lehigh

For the Q&A discussion, listen below:

Roundtable 1: Public Scholars

Moderator: Linda Snetselaar, Professor, College of Public Health, and Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement

  • Beth Boehm, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Louisville—graduate mentoring, community engagement
  • Molly McCarthy, Associate Director, Humanities Institute, University of California Davis—mentoring, community-engaged research
  • Ryan McBride, Administrative Associate Professor, English Department and Center for Public Service and Director, Graduate Program in Community Engaged Scholarship, Tulane University—public engagement, service-learning

For the Q&A discussion, listen below:

Roundtable 2: Structural Change

Moderator: Christine Getz, Professor, School of Music, and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Kathryn Temple, Associate Professor, English Department and P.I., Mellon-funded Connected Academics, Georgetown University—what we can learn from “Quit-Lit” about the need for structural change
  • David Nugent, Professor, Anthropology, and Co-P.I., Luce Foundation-funded Global Skills: New Rubrics, New Structures Project, Emory University—international global skills
  • Jason Puskar, Associate Professor, English Department and Associate Dean, Graduate College and P.I. NEH NextGen Planning Grant, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee—curricular change

For the Q&A discussion, listen below:

Roundtable 3: Cultural Change

Moderator: Jen Teitle, Assistant Dean for Graduate Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Iowa

  • Glenn Wright, Director, Graduate School Programs Office and Co-P.I. NEH NextGen Planning Grant, Syracuse University—curricular change, alternatives to the dissertation
  • Kelly Anne Brown, Associate Director, UC-wide Humanities Research Institute, University of California Irvine—culture change, professional activities
  • Maria LaMonaca Wisdom, Director, Graduate Student Advising and Engagement in the Humanities, Duke University—mentoring/advising/coaching

For the Q&A discussion, listen below:


We ended the day with a speedy Iowa caucus! We asked our guests and attendees…

  • To “nominate” the ideas you found most inspiring for tweaking or revamping graduate education in the humanities
  • To vote on the idea with your feet
  • To identify stakeholders needed to get that idea on a ballot
  • To list three action steps we could take to get that idea “elected”

Hosted by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UI Graduate College, and the Iowa City Public Library.