Transforming graduate education in the humanities

twitter_next-generation-humanities_2UNC-Chapel Hill is one of 28 universities taking part in a major national initiative to transform graduate education in the humanities.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the initiative looks beyond “the academic-focused future we’re accustomed to training graduate students for,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

Institute for the Arts and Humanities Director Mark Katz worked with colleagues from across the University to propose “Re-envisioning the Humanities PhD,” a yearlong campuswide conversation on graduate education in the humanities, which will be funded by a $25,000 NEH planning grant and matched by UNC.

The project is organized around four main themes, each of which will be explored by committees of faculty, administrators, graduate students and alumni:

  • Graduate programs in the humanities have traditionally trained students solely for university professorships. This committee will investigate the wide range of career options for which humanities Ph.D.s are qualified.
  • In conjunction with broader efforts to “de-silo” the university and academia in general, this committee will explore ways to promote collaboration in the humanities.
  • Curriculum and Dissertation. What should humanities Ph.D. programs teach? What is the purpose of a dissertation? This committee will ask these simple but challenging questions with an eye toward discovering what works and what does not.
  • Working with UNC’s Odum Institute, this committee will collect and analyze data on the state of graduate education in the humanities at UNC. This work will result in a much clearer perspective on the success and shortcomings of UNC’s graduate programs.