The History Department at Boston College takes professionalization and placement seriously. We do so in a corporate way, but we also have one faculty member who serves specifically as Director of Graduate Placement. Distinct from the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Graduate Placement works closely with graduate students preparing for various job markets by organizing workshops on different dimensions of professionalization and application, vetting application materials, sending out graduates’ dossiers, giving mock interviews and job talks and hosting information and advice expos on a range of related topics, for instance gender and the job market.
We remain committed to (and have been successful at) helping our PhD students secure tenure-track faculty positions, even given the harsh realities of the academic job market. At the same time, we are enthusiastic about helping MA and PhD students consider, build skillsets for and ultimately gain rewarding forms of employment other than tenure-track faculty positions. In recent years, that enthusiasm has formalized into sequences of workshops and panels flying under the series banner “Beyond the Ivory Tower.” The aim of this series has been to draw graduates’ attention to the considerable range of intellectually rich work sometimes referred to as “alternative academia” – positions at historical societies, museums and archives, research foundations, student mentoring and university administration, as well as public history and secondary education.