“Faculty who are resistant to change sometimes have a hard time imagining the purpose of the PhD as being anything other than what they’ve done themselves.”

Farmers_at_Constitution_Hall_listening_to_address_by_Secretary_of_Agriculture_Henry_Wallace_Washington_DC_May_14_1935(1)     Farmers listening to address by Henry Wallace (Iowa Digital Library)

The Next Generation Humanities PhD core planning group met, and discussed change implementation-related issues both institutional (the ability of faculty members to imagine varied futures for their students) and practical (the names of people we might want to have participate in our planned symposia (see grant proposal).

To that end, and looking toward our first symposium on the dissertation, we’ve started identifying PhD students (both on our own campus and elsewhere) who are creating non-traditional dissertations. Please let us know (you can email judith-pascoe@uiowa.edu) if you have suggestions.

We also began to brainstorm about the types of people who might best contribute to our second symposium focusing on citation. These might include editors of digital journals and data wranglers outside of academe.

We agreed that we want our gatherings to be discussion/working group-oriented, so, rather than ask visitors to give lectures, we might have a committee member introduce a visitor’s work (with specific mention of the aspects most relevant to our planning process) and then broach the key issues we want to discuss.

We welcome input on the symposia guests and format, the latter of which will be flexible enough for the symposia planning groups to shape in different ways.

2 thoughts on ““Faculty who are resistant to change sometimes have a hard time imagining the purpose of the PhD as being anything other than what they’ve done themselves.””

    1. The quote came from one of the core planning committee members whose conversation this post summarized. The speaker is a professor and academic administrator. (I’m not identifying people by name so that they can try out ideas without feeling that they will be permanently linked to what might be a tentative thought.) I’ve heard a variation of this quote expressed by graduate students, or by people reporting on graduate students’ states of mind. Even though I can’t think of a faculty colleague who would disapprove of a PhD student exploring alternate careers, many PhD students apparently feel that their mentors would not be supportive of the pursuit of careers outside the traditional academic route.

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