The past few days have witnessed some pretty interesting Twitter debates and discussions (Twibates? Twicussions?), from questions about the future of museum ethics from the Center for the Future of Museums to the tweeting from the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes‘ annual meeting in Toronto.
One exchange in particular caught my eye. In the midst of a discussion about not “shaming” PhD-ers who do not end up in tenure-track jobs, my friend Alan made this point:
“Even better, actively encourage us to consider #alt-ac possibilities and dev skills that can make us strong candidates on the market.”
If you’re in academia, you probably sort-of-kind-of know how you’re supposed to approach the elusive tenure-track job (getting it is, of course, a whole different matter). Publish, present at conferences, make connections–oh, and finish your dissertation. But what if you want an alternate academic (alt-ac for short) career, or just want to know what the possibilities are?
One problem is that there really is no such thing as a typical alt-ac career for the humanities. Some alt-acs work as archivists or librarians (though many schools require an additional library science degree), others work in museums, still others as consultants for cultural preservation firms. It’s difficult to make generalizations about such divergent career paths.
With that caveat in mind, I started thinking: why not make a wishlist? Whether you’re a grad student, tenure-track faculty, an adjunct, a staff member, or an alt-ac yourself, what would you like to see departments and universities do for those who are interested in something outside/bordering/intersecting the academy? Has your department or school helped you along the alt-ac path? What would be helpful?