Strategic professional development can help grad students land well, both in academia and beyond. This page lists primarily non-curricular resources that will help you get where you want to go.
Start in Your Own Backyard: The Graduate School
The Duke Graduate School sponsors many professional development programs, events, and funding opportunities. Its professional development site outlines the full slate of offerings, including:
- A full events calendar and professional development blog
- Professional Development Grant competition, which funds discipline-specific professional development programming for Duke graduate students
- Grants for Conference Travel
- Emerging Leaders Institute for Ph.D. students who want to prepare for leadership as faculty members, higher ed administrators, or a range of professional roles beyond academia
Some graduate School professional development offerings specifically for future faculty include:
- Bass Instructional Fellowship Program: Endowed fellowships to provide Ph.D. students with more hands-on teaching experience while at Duke
- Certificate in College Teaching: Introduces students to best practices in postsecondary teaching; components include peer observation of teaching and an online reflective portfolio
- Preparing Future Faculty Program: Exposes students to a broad range of teaching roles at partner institutions, and helps them find teaching mentors
- Academic Job Search Series: Prepares students to conduct a successful search in academia, whether for tenure-track faculty, other faculty roles, or academic administration. Expert panels and workshops, many focused on humanities and social sciences. Offered biannually.
Considering a career beyond academia? Check out these Graduate School resources:
- Professional Development Series: Events designed to broaden graduate students’ career perspectives and develop competencies in communication, self-awareness, professional adaptability, leadership, and professionalism
- Graduate School Administrative Internships: Nine-month internships where students work within The Graduate School and conduct research on topics related to graduate education and administration
Beyond The Graduate School
For internship opportunities beyond those offered through VH@Duke and at The Graduate School, check out the following units:
- Rubenstein Library
- Duke University Press
- Center for Documentary Studies
- Duke University Career Center
New! Duke Summer Doctoral Academy
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Duke Summer Doctoral Academy offers a two-week program of short courses designed to introduce doctoral students to skills and topics that are not typically included in a doctoral curriculum. Courses offered in summer 2018 included How to Build An App, How To Launch and Scale a Business, How to Work More Effectively in Teams, and Design Thinking and Ed Tech.
Online Resources (for Academic and Nonacademic Paths)
Duke Ph.D. students can also take advantage of two valuable external online resources, free of charge through Duke’s institutional subscription:
- The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity offers an array of support for faculty careers, from graduate study through the senior ranks. Graduate students may be especially interested in the Dissertation Success Curriculum, which includes free online and phone coaching.
- Versatile Ph.D. (login access through the Graduate School website) is devoted to nonacademic career exploration. Its resources include online panel discussions and forums.
The Expanding “Alt-Ac” Online Universe
As much as we at VH@Duke dislike the term “alt-ac,” it retains currency amid an ever-expanding universe of sites devoted to discussion and analysis of career paths for humanities Ph.D.s. Many of these resources are extremely useful, and we highlight a few here. Others are less useful. We recommend steering away from any online resource dominated by negativity and hand-wringing about the state of the academic job market.
Many universities now have sites devoted to nonacademic career resources for humanities Ph.D.s. Save yourself a few hours and start with the best, most comprehensive one:
- The Humanities Ph.D. Project at the University of Michigan. Includes resources for both Ph.D. students and the faculty who train and mentor them.
Other organizations/projects/sites that should be on every humanities Ph.D. student’s radar:
- Connected Academics: sponsored by the Modern Language Association but of potential interest to Ph.D. students across disciplines. A plethora of helpful resources, especially this post on identifying transferable skills and putting them on a résumé (rather than a CV).
- Career Diversity for Historians initiative: sponsored by the American Historical Association; many of the resources here are relevant across disciplines.
- National Endowment for the Humanities: currently supports “Next Generation PhD Projects” at twenty-eight US campuses, including Duke.
- American Council of Learned Societies (“Advancing the Humanities”): Offers several dissertation and postdoctoral fellowship competitions. Also places new humanities PhDs in two-year staff positions in government and nonprofits through its prestigious Public Fellows Program.
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences: “one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers.” Apply for a postdoctoral fellowship. Aspire to become a member. Research the state of the humanities in the Academy Data Forum.
- National Humanities Alliance: “an advocacy coalition dedicated to the advancement of humanities.” They sponsor an annual “Meeting and Advocacy Day” and the National Humanities Conference. Great way to help make an impact, stay abreast of developments in the humanities, and build your network.
Books and Other Things to Read
Just a few of the latest titles, selected for usefulness in providing larger intellectual context, inspiration, or guiding next steps:
- Chris Golde, Grad Logic: “Navigating the ups and downs of graduate school.”
- Leonard Cassuto, The Graduate School Mess (2015)
- Sidonie Smith, Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in Good Enough Times (2015). Free digital access!
- Evan Goldstein, “The New Intellectuals: Is the Academic Jobs Crisis a Boon to Public Culture?”
- Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong, The Academic Job Search Handbook, 2016 edition
- Karen Kelskey, The Professor is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your PhD Into a Job (2015) (focus on academic jobs).
- Susan Basilla and Maggie Debelius, “So What Are You Going to Do with That”? Finding Careers Outside Academia (2001)
- Bill Burnett and Dale Evans, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life (Applying design theory principles to some of life’s big questions) (2016)