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These History Ph.D. Programs Pay More Than Lip Service to Alternative Careers

When Ashley Rose Young started a Ph.D. program in history, in 2010, she publicly proclaimed her desire to join the professoriate.

Privately, she wasn’t so sure.

But telling people you didn’t want to be a faculty member, she says, was taboo in her program, at Duke University. When she did start floating the idea of working outside academe, some professors and fellow graduate students made clear such a move would be disappointing.

By the time she earned her Ph.D., seven years later, the stigma was gone. In fact, Duke had done much to bring about the culture change: The university provided her with money to speak at public-history conferences and helped connect her with an internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Crucially, she received the same stipend during her museum stint that she would have earned as a teaching or research assistant.

The shift in how humanities doctoral programs are thinking about career preparation is happening beyond Duke as well. Ph.D. programs have an urgent directive from current and prospective students, the public, and the professors who run them: It’s time to change. ...

Read entire article at The Chronicle of Higher Education