Introducing Graduate Students to Graduate School

Last year I became the director of graduate studies for the history department at the University of North Dakota. This was not a natural fit as I have had relatively few graduate students during my 10+ years at UND and few of them earned their M.A. without some kind of drama. That being said, we’re a small department and everyone has to take their turn doing departmental service.

As part of my responsibilities as graduate director, I both introduce the students the administrative and bureaucratic side of graduate school through a one-hour meeting, but also run our required graduate methods course which introduces students to historical methods and some advanced research and writing skills. For the latter course, about a third of it is occupied by guest lectures from my colleagues. The rest of the course – say 10 sessions – focuses on big picture issues that face all graduate students.

Here are my topics and some of my readings. I’m open to additions and suggestions particularly for the section on the public humanities and history in the public sphere. I’m looking for something general and sophisticated (and not just “we need to talk to the public more…). Thoughts?

1. Perspectives on Graduate Education in the 21st Century:

L. Cassuto, The Graduate School Mess. 2015. (I have mixed feelings about this book.)

2. Perspectives on History and the Humanities in the 21st Century

G. Gordon and F. Mohamed, A New Deal for the Humanities: Liberal Arts and the Future of Public Higher Education. 2015. 
Jo Guldi and David Armitage, The History Manifesto. 2015. (My thought here.)

3. Advanced Library Research

4. Reading and Writing I: The Article Review

5. Developing a Digital Workflow

Kristen Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty, Writing History in the Digital Age. 2013.

6. Reading and Writing II: The Book Review

7. Public Humanities and History in the Public Sphere

Reading: TBA 

8. Reading and Writing III: The Prospectus

9. Alt-Ac Careers and Professional Development

Reading: A. Grafton and J. Grossman, “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History,” Perspectives (October 2011).

10. Time Management and Work/Life Balance

Reading: M. Berg and B. Seeber, The Slow Professor. 2016. (My ambivalent thoughts here and here.)

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