Tag: redistribution

Episode 2 Bonus | A short history of higher education & universities in the US

This bonus episode includes a part of the conversation for Episode 2 with Dr. Teresa Mangum (University of Iowa) and Dr. Leonard Cassuto (Fordham University). During the conversation Dr. Cassuto provided an articulate yet succinct history of the higher education institutions in the US and connections between the present problems in academia and that institutional history. In this bonus episode (7 mins), we reproduce Dr. Cassuto’s remarks in full.

You can listen to the full episode with Dr. Teresa Mangum and Dr. Leonard Cassuto at this page.



Speakers

Dr. Leonard Cassuto

Leonard Cassuto is the author or editor of nine books on American literature and culture, most The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education. He is the author of “The Graduate Adviser,” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Other recent books include The Cambridge History of the American Novel (General Editor, 2011), and The Cambridge Companion to Baseball (2011), winner of the Best Anthology Award from the North American Society of Sports Historians.

His Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity Awards and named one of the Ten Best Books of 2008 in the crime and mystery category by The Los Angeles Times. Cassuto is also an award-winning journalist who writes on subjects ranging from science to sports, in venues from The New York Times to salon.com. His website is www.lcassuto.com.


Audio Transcript

[Leonard Cassuto]: So I want to tell a big story in relation to this, that Teresa is talking about the how, how difficult it is now to collaborate and to innovate in today’s University. So I’m telling the big story, that the way that higher education began in the United States was in part of what is what what historians now call the Age of the College. That the first the first college in the United States was Harvard, which was founded in 1636. And for over 200 years, the only institutions of higher education in the United States were colleges. They tended to be small, and they focused on preparing students for service. Harvard was originally founded to prepare students to enter the clergy. But not.. it wasn’t.. didn’t take very long for the mission to secularize. And the idea was that you were preparing students to become productive citizens in the enterprises of their choice. So you could say that the goal of colleges was to prepare students, to produce students educated students who could go out and contribute to society. After the Civil War, and as the United States industrialized, universities came to the United States, research universities. And the the people who were founding them had in mind, among other things, the model that was being propagated in Germany, where some American academics had gone to study for periods of time. The American American research universities were not copies of German research universities. Instead, they were inflected by the by the American surrounding. But and universities were founded as either either out of whole cloth by philanthropists as we were talking about earlier. So the John D, Rockefeller provided most of the money to start the University of Chicago, Cornelius Vanderbilt to start Vanderbilt and so forth. Or they could be grafted onto existing colleges. So Harvard College becomes Harvard University and Yale College, Yale University, or they could be founded by states. So the… you had public universities, which were coming into being. State legislatures weren’t grant were sub sub minting money and also providing the land.

So all of these universities, though, that when they when they were coming into being they were being informed by the research model that prevailed in Europe, and the the mission statements of early American universities, were guided by not the preparation of students necessarily so much as the creation of new knowledge. That this is what research is, its discovery. And so the, the idea was, and this is made explicit in the in the founding documents of many, many American universities, during this period of generally about 1880, or 90, to 1910, or so. There were dozens of universities that were being founded in the United States during that time. The idea was that the pursuit of knowledge or research would be primary, and teaching the teaching of students secondary. That’s almost an exact quotation from the founding documents of the University of Chicago. So this could vary to a greater or lesser extent. The legislation that created public universities, like the University of Iowa, does mention instruction of students, that these universities were coming into being as research universities.

And there was a tension, attention that persists between the mission of the college to prepare educated students to enter society. And the mission of the university, which is to create new knowledge and have teaching be is an almost a byproduct of that. That tension has animated higher education since the age of the university. And it has been mostly a productive tension, partly because there were ample resources for both sides. And both kinds of institutions have perhaps persisted through the history of American higher education.

However, in recent years, as resource as the resource base, has grown smaller, the friction that can exist between these two missions has become more and more clear. And it leads I think, to some of the of the of the practical problems that Teresa [Mangum] began by describing a few minutes ago. And if it’s not that American higher education should discard the research mission and embrace teaching, nor vice versa. Rather, I think that we all benefit, if we uncover the assumptions that were that are buried in history that underlie and inform the way that our structures are the way that they the way that they look, the way that they are the way that they’ve existed. If we uncover those assumptions, and we examine them, and we and we, we update them in the ways that we can and we should. Some of them, we may want to leave where they are. Because higher education, the university is one of the, is and ought to be one of the most conservative institutions in American life. And I say conservative with a small ‘c’ — shouldn’t be blown about by fads. I don’t mean political conservatism, right wing conservatism, but rather the belief in the persistence. And the of something that’s, that’s, that’s worthwhile.

Higher Education is one of the few institutions in American life that has roots in the Middle Ages. And so we don’t need to blow it up. But we should be looking at the ways in which it has evolved and the ways in which it should evolve in order to meet the needs of a need full time. Now.


Credits

Episode Producer:
Deepthi Murali, PhD Futures Now! Producer

PhD Futures Now! is produced by the Humanities Without Walls Consortium with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Episode 2 | Is Higher Education in Crisis?

In Episode 2, host Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann talked to Dr. Teresa Mangum (University of Iowa) and Dr. Leonard Cassuto (Fordham University) about the diverse challenges facing higher education in the United States today.



Speakers


Dr. Teresa Mangum

Teresa Mangum is a professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and English and Director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. She is leading a Mellon-funded project, Humanities for the Public Good, to design an interdisciplinary, experiential PhD in the humanities for people interested in careers other than the professoriate.

Teresa is the PI for Humanities for the Public Good at the University of Iowa, an innovative new PhD program that includes collaboration and public engagement through graduate programming, which you can read more about here.

Dr. Leonard Cassuto

Leonard Cassuto is the author or editor of nine books on American literature and culture, most The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education. He is the author of “The Graduate Adviser,” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Other recent books include The Cambridge History of the American Novel (General Editor, 2011), and The Cambridge Companion to Baseball (2011), winner of the Best Anthology Award from the North American Society of Sports Historians.

His Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories was nominated for the Edgar and Macavity Awards and named one of the Ten Best Books of 2008 in the crime and mystery category by The Los Angeles Times. Cassuto is also an award-winning journalist who writes on subjects ranging from science to sports, in venues from The New York Times to salon.com. His website is www.lcassuto.com.


Audio Transcript

Jason Mierek (intro): This is PhD Futures Now, a podcast on collaboration, career diversity, and graduate education in the humanities. This podcast is a project of Humanities Without Walls, a sixteen-university consortium, headquartered at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, and funded by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann (intro): Hello, everyone, and welcome to PhD Futures Now. I’m your podcast co-host, Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann, and on today’s episode, we discuss some of the problems and challenges facing PhD programming in higher education. To help us unpack the history, values, and larger systemic forces impacting current trends in the academy, we’ve invited two leading scholars working on reforming graduate training. We’re joined by Dr. Teresa Mangum, professor in the Departments of English and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. Teresa is the director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, where she’s leading an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project, Humanities for the Public Good, to design an interdisciplinary, experiential PhD in the humanities for people interested in careers other than the professoriate. Dr. Leonard Cassuto, professor of English and American Studies at at Fordham University, and co author of the recently published The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, joins us for the first of a two part series with Len and his co author Robert Weissbuch to discuss The New PhD, which advocates for student centered public facing and diverse career paths for students in the arts and sciences. Bob will be joining us on our next episode for a full conversation about their new book, and about pathways forward and reforming PhD programming across the academy. So you won’t want to miss that episode. Before we begin, we want to thank all of you, our listening audience, for joining us subscribing to the podcast, and for becoming a part of this community we’re trying to build here with PhD Futures Now. And now, we welcome to Teresa Mangum and Len Cassuto to the podcast.

MNH: As I mentioned, we are calling this episode The Crisis in Higher Education. But we’re really wondering, is it a singular crisis stemming from one overarching issue? Or are the crises we faced multi-pronged, requiring many different approaches and solutions? So this is kind of our first question, what are the crises we face in academia today, as you see it, from your perspectives at Fordham or at the University of Iowa?

Teresa Mangum: You want to start Len?

Leonard Cassuto: Well, okay, sure. Let’s see. The word “crisis” is something that I think we should be careful about overusing because it has a sense of immediacy, house on fire, kind of aspect to it. And there is a way that the problems that are facing higher education right now are … if they represent fires, they’ve been burning for a long time. I’ve been looking at academia closely for a while and graduate education in particular. And it seems to me that one of the ways in which we are out of step – you can can call it a crisis if you want but I would call it instead of fundamental problem – is the loss of a collective sense of higher education as a public good, rather than as a personal investment. I think that people who have come of age in the last 40 years or so has the experience of thinking about higher education starting with colleges, should I do this for me? Is it worth the investment of money that I and or my parents are going to make? And certainly American higher education has a long history of being that kind of personal investment that has that has a reward in the form of a credential that can lead to people’s economic betterment, but higher education in the United States has for much longer and always been more than that. Higher education is something that’s good for everybody. As K-12, public education is paid is paid for by property taxes. People don’t don’t say, “Oh, I don’t have children. I’m not going to pay my property taxes. Because I don’t, because I don’t have any children to get public education.” Because there’s a general recognition that an educated population is good for everybody that educating the children of today, even if they’re not my children, benefits me, as a member of society. So too, with higher education. And in the last, particularly 40 years or so, starting with the Reagan years, there’s been an erosion of the idea that higher education is and ought to be a public goods that benefits us all, and should be a source of public investment for that reason. And we have a long track record in American history of higher education, proving that out, that is, when higher education has been viewed as public good, we have all benefited, particularly for example, in the post World War Two era.

And in the last, particularly 40 years or so, starting with the Reagan years, there's been an erosion of the idea that higher education is and ought to be a public goods that benefits us all, and should be a source of public… Click To Tweet


TM: And I’ll jump in, I would second everything that Len just said. And I’m also someone who’s a bit leery of the “crisis” rhetoric, for very similar reasons, that this has been a long, slow roll out of a set of problems, not a sudden avalanche, even though it feels like an avalanche on a daily basis sometimes. I was reading a great piece this morning in Inside Higher Ed by Stephen Mintz, who is a historian and the former director of the Institute for transformational learning at UT Texas, Austin, and so appreciated the way he was calling us all back to think about the relationship between liberal arts broad based deep learning, and vocation and careers. And we tend to go in one direction or the other. And, when we think of education as only a public good if it leads directly to a job ,and then we start to shift away from thinking about a broader kind of learning that prepares us all for any kind of life experience and career as a first stage, we just give away so much. And so I just want us to think about going forward, how we think with the public, how we think with our students and their families about.. and how we think with our university administrators, about looking at the values that we want to support in education, and then thinking about budget, and the reverse is the way we tend to have conversations these days. And that really could change fairly quickly with with great leadership.

MNH: So one of the things as you were both talking that I started to think about, and just so you both know, I’m a historian by training story in a philanthropic foundations, especially during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era in the United States. And so one of the questions I have is, as I’m listening to both of you, is to think about, and to think through what shifts historically led to this movement away in education, that perhaps, and maybe I’m wrong by suggesting this, but this movement away from that idea of education as a public good. You know… what happened?

LC: I’m sure we’re both gonna have plenty to say about this. But Teresa, by your leave, I’ll take the first whack at it. In in the period following World War Two, the government started investing heavily in higher education as its research and development lab, as a way of dealing with the tech the arms technology and space races with the Soviet Union. And it transformed this higher education in a way that is never been seen before. It’s more and more people who could never consider higher education before could now go to college and beyond. Because the good thing is government investment expanded the sector, and also government investment included legislation like the GI Bill, the National Defense Education Act, and later the guaranteed student loan program, all post war programs that expanded access to college. It was a time when the higher education sector not only grew but democratized and fulfilled in some sense, its vision, and the period following World War Two, the attitudes shifted. exponentially, it was a very good thing for the country, economically and socially. And it started, when resources became scarce, the access to college began to constrict, and it is continued to do so. But the reasons for this and the reasons for the growing conflict between higher education and society at large, they’re very complicated. And many of them, many of them can be rooted in the conflicts that roiled the nation in the 1960s, over race, and Vietnam. Universities became a locus for some of those conflicts, and higher education became during that period, and for the first time, partisan. And if we have a mission as educators, and people who support higher education, it would be I think, to try to reinforce the nonpartisan character of higher education, because it is, as we’ve been saying, something that all of society is invested in.

"And if we have a mission as educators, and people who support higher education, it would be I think, to try to reinforce the nonpartisan character of higher education, because it is, as we've been saying, something that all of… Click To Tweet

TM: And for sanity sake, the way, I tend to approach questions like this is to think large scale and then small scale, what can I do about it. And so large scale, in addition to the great overview that Len just offered of historical effects, I think we’re all experiencing what happens when national income bifurcates the way it has in the last 20 or 30 years, so that the middle class is hollowed out. And it has become more and more difficult for people to be in the middle in terms of income, where they live, all of those things, we tend to think about aspirationally I suppose there’s a lot less meta motivation to to walk the path of education toward that kind of life fulfillment, because it just feels more and more hopeless. And so I think that’s a heartbreaking part of where we are.

MNH:I think that’s a really a great place to transition to another question that Deepthi and I worked on as we were preparing for the the podcast interview today. Teresa, you mentioned to us in our in our preparation materials that there are certain values by which higher education in the US is designed. What do you think are some of those values that undergird our system of higher education? What do you think some of those values are? In what ways have those values maybe contributed unintentionally, to some of the problems that we face currently?

TM: Oh, another wonderful, wonderfully complicated questions. So even in the time of my career, so a few decades, I’ve really seen markedly each decade, the way there has been a slide away. And this is an economic frame this with the realization of state budgets dropping etc., for education. But I’ve watched the slide from the way we tended to do business is we had a good idea, it would benefit scholarly knowledge and it would benefit our students. If I came into a dean’s office or our provost office with a really good idea for experimentation, the first comment was, let’s figure out how to do it, or a version of it. And that kept us all in an enterprise of learning and excitement about ideas that just spilled over into all sorts of other parts of academic life, when I walk into an office now, before I can get my first sentence out, I’m being told, we don’t have budget, there’s no money for that. And so I’m getting really creative, as are many of my colleagues, at what you can do with very limited budgets, or relying too heavily on goodwill. As part of that budgetary definition. We made the decision to also change some of our formations, like shrink the tenure track faculty and create all of these different kinds of positions for short term faculty from part time teaching one class to longer period appointment. But we’ve now created a system in which it is very difficult for for the full faculty to cooperate to work together effectively to share in the work of the university because it is so tiered. It’s so tiered in terms of commitment of the institution to individuals, financial differences in what we get paid. And so our balance, you know, budget, plays out your values. And try to respect the fact that if there’s less money, we have to learn how to live with that with those budgetary constraints. But you feel like the choices we’ve made, have made it more and more difficult to be a place of learning and discovery. And a place that really fosters creativity and collaboration.

MNH: You know, as you were talking, it made me think about a little bit about PhD students who feel really frustrated, as they’re writing their dissertations, and thinking through this lack of tenure track jobs, and then thinking and that is my work of value, if there is no clear job outcome? And so I think coming back to that first premise of what is our value, that we do have value in the things that we study, is something that, you know, I keep trying to reinforce with my colleagues at Marquette University to who are kind of going through that similar kind of crisis of faith in terms of the value of their scholarship, PhD training, is such a provides such a transferable skill set

LC: A lot of the problem here, and a lot of the alienation that we as educators are creating is not so much that we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, academic jobs that don’t exist right now, although there is that and, our system does need reform. It is also that we are teaching them to want those jobs above all others, and to feel that they are failures, when they don’t get those jobs. When a teacher teaches students to want something that’s not out there that they can’t supply, then we’re teaching our students to be unhappy. And there is practically no worse thing that a teacher can do than that. And it’s a measure of the problems that plague PhD education right now that we are socializing our students to feel and believe this way, and set them up to be unhappy, bitter, despairing. It’s a it’s a thoroughly avoidable human tragedy.

"A lot of the problem here, and a lot of the alienation that we as educators are creating is not so much that we are preparing students for jobs that don't exist, academic jobs that don't exist right now, although there is that and,… Click To Tweet

TM: And Len’s book is going to hit and and Bob’s book is going to have such an impact in offering alternatives to that model. Most people here also know Katina Rogers’ book, Putting the Humanities PhD to Work: Thriving in and Beyond the Classroom. Her book has just changed the way a lot of our faculty are thinking now and grad students, because it does go right to where Len just went, which is thinking about the whole person as, rather than a degree or a body of knowledge alone. One of the things that we’re talking about is part of the humanities for the public good design… One of our working groups is is thinking about what might it mean to have comps [exams] be a semester long collaboration among students, with faculty, thinking about what do I need to know to do a project? Or to imagine different ways I could work in the world? Instead of what do I need to know about a field only? What do I need to know that we’ve put together the field based knowledge with skills or understanding how careers were, or interviewing people? And I’m so excited to see what they come up with, because it’s such a different notion of thinking about the comps, again, as a sort of whole person experience that integrates the knowledge with sets of possibilities. I just want to echo what Len said, that I think that we as faculty really need to take some responsibility for setting students up for that disappointment and that grief, because we don’t have to do it. There are ways to use the humanities in multiple settings. There are ways we could adapt, and exactly the way you’re describing Maggie [producer’s note: this conversation refers to an issue discussed by host earlier in the episode that did not make the final cut], by getting to know people in different sectors and bringing that into the classroom with us and normalizing what in fact, we’re learning through programs like our internship program, are places to work that bring people incredible experience and fulfillment. So I just want to second what Len said about the role we as faculty can play in this.

"I think that we as faculty really need to take some responsibility for setting students up for that disappointment and that grief, because we don't have to do it. There are ways to use the humanities in multiple settings."– Teresa… Click To Tweet


LC: So you mentioned Maggie, the growing number of history PhDs are thinking about careers in the nonprofit. So I have not surveyed them, obviously. But I guarantee you that a percentage that we can find disturbing, are afraid to tell their advisors, that that is that their career goals have led them that way. And it’s a measure of the dysfunction of academic culture, that that remains the case. And so we don’t, when when we as faculty are not going to always know the kinds of discussions that are happening in any given profit or nonprofit sector that our students are considering entering. But we should be inviting to the table, the advising table, people who have that knowledge, so that we can all, but especially our students, learn from this, is part of what in Bob and I are both causes called “student centered graduate education,” the idea that we should be proceeding from what it is that our students want and need. And if that seems obvious, the history of graduate education runs the other way. It’s against the grain. Historically, graduate education is an outgrowth of faculty research, because graduate education takes place at research universities, which privilege research, were we in the academy and possibly people outside are aware that there is an enormous body of scholarship on undergraduate teaching and learning. People make careers out of studying undergraduate teaching and learning. But if you want to look at the scholarship of graduate teaching, there is very, very little. But graduate students are learners too–why does nobody worry about how to teach them? Because graduate teaching is historically not its own thing. Graduate teaching, historically, simply proceeds out of faculty research. And that’s why particularly in the humanities, you have seminar offerings that are esoterically connected to whatever sub-sub-specialty a faculty member may be working on at the time. Because the the the ethos that underlies this is, students will just work along with me on this subject of interest to me, and they’ll learn whatever they need to learn in order to do their own work. I don’t think that that has ever been the case. But it’s a particularly unsound model now.

TM: Well, and in a way, this loops back to a topic that’s come up several times in our conversation, which is about the the effect of bifurcation of people one group and making assumptions about another group and and that stalling out possibilities for working together. I was interested in the last few years that are often have heard the sentiment expressed that the work of career diversity training might be done better by people other than faculty, because it isn’t what most faculty members know, they know their own career and not others. I want to say that it’s our responsibility as faculty members, just to start learning about other careers. And Maggie, I know you have had wonderful success in this at Marquette. And I have been fascinated when I brought together faculty, a few faculty members, with owners of businesses and directors of nonprofits, to think about how graduate students could do have internships in that environment or how they could work together. And those conversations start with each group assuming things about each other, that would stall out any collaboration. And then we have to do what you would do in a classroom. We have to start stitching together. You know, tell us about what you do. Tell us about what you know, what happens in your classes, like what do you, what is the value of teaching literature, and through the conversation, people start to be surprised by each other and what the humanities graduate students could bring into the workplace and what the workplace can tell the faculty members about in their own language, as you suggested earlier Maggie, in their own language, how they would take advantage of the training of humanities graduate students. And just as a really concrete example, we have a great African American Museum and Cedar Rapids, just up the road, and one of our grad students worked there for an internship who’s in Communication Studies. And they had been using an exercise, one of those experiential exercises in which students imagine they were slaves, with kids. And the graduate student is studying critical race theory, etc. He very compassionately thoughtfully brought to them the research. And he was surprised to find out the research was more split than he imagined. But he talked through the museum staff, why he would like to design a different kind of experiential learning. Everybody who was in that conversation came away feeling like they had learned important, not just ideas, but ways of thinking about the world, and thinking about education, and thinking about other human beings. And those things can’t happen nearly as easily until we as faculty take the time to get to know colleagues in these other sectors where our students could work.

LC: So I want to piggyback on what Teresa is saying, to add a couple of things. First, that we haven’t mentioned the pandemic, which is interesting and instructive, in its own way. The pandemic, as is obvious, is terribly destructive of the higher ed sector, along with many other sectors in the American economy in ways that we can only focus or only guess at the full extent of because we’re still in the middle of it, at the time that we’re having this conversation. I think one of the reasons it hasn’t come up yet, is because the effect of the of the COVID pandemic has been simply to emphasize, accentuate, and deepen the issues that were already there. And if there’s anything good about it, you know, they say every crisis is an opportunity. And I would, I would as soon do without these kinds of opportunities. But if, if every crisis is an opportunity, in this case, we can see more clearly what the problems are, because so much of our support has been blown away by what’s happening over the past year. But on a on a very basic level, a lot of this is about people. And because education is fundamentally a personal and public activity, as Teresa mentioned, the idea of people gathering around the table to talk about graduate student education, and bringing assumptions that are so fundamentally at odds that they can prevent collaboration in many cases. Well, something that many graduate programs have taken to doing, and this is highly commendable, is to invite alumni back to campus who are engaged in careers outside of the academy to talk about their lives. And that’s great, and it should continue. But something that I would like to suggest here is that faculty attend these meetings, instead faculty saying, “Oh, it’s, this is happening, you graduate students go and have a good old time, and you’ll learn some things and that’ll be good.” If faculty show up, that’s a way of honoring the choices that graduate students already have before them. The choices the graduate students already face, the world that graduate students are already having to reckon with. Graduate students don’t all believe in every case that their faculty advisors are behind them. But if faculty take their bodies and put them in front of those speakers, that’s a way of showing graduate students that we’re all in this together, and we are collaborating in ways that Teresa is talking about.

"Well, something that many graduate programs have taken to doing, and this is highly commendable, is to invite alumni back to campus who are engaged in careers outside of the academy to talk about their lives. And that's great, and… Click To Tweet


MNH: If you had to suggest only two reforms to tackle the academic problems we’ve been discussing, what would they be? Or to think of it in another way: If there are multiple crises or problems facing the academy, what is the most important one according to you to tackle?

LC: So for me, I will say that there are two concepts that need to underwrite any reform–reform will vary from discipline to discipline and campus to campus. And I think that we can agree that reform is necessary. But reform has to be number one, student centered, because it has to meet the needs of students and so it needs to be reverse engineered from the concerns that students face–not faculty members. And second, if I have to pick, I’m going to say it needs to be public facing. Because we started out the our time here talking about that how one of the really dire problems that higher education faces right now is a communications breakdown with society at large. We’re not understanding each other, and in particular society at large is not understanding what it is that we are doing in this workplace, that is so important for the fate of society at large. And if we face the public, if we interact with the public in ways that are more generous, more productive, we can hope that we can start to mend mend those those fences, fill those gaps, and fight and find common mission, which higher education needs more than anything.

"I think that we can agree that reform is necessary. But reform has to be number one, student centered, because it has to meet the needs of students and so it needs to be reverse engineered from the concerns that students face–not… Click To Tweet


TM: I would completely completely agree with both of those. Those options are orientations. And I guess another another change that I see beginning, but I think what further help the movements that that Len just described, would be to take really seriously the call to social justice that we’ve all been hearing more clearly than ever this summer, which is partly about COVID, partly the Black Lives Matter movement, and attendant movements around social inequity, as well as the income bifurcation that we were talking about earlier. I think if we really took on as a university and as disciplines, what does it mean, to reorient the way we’re teaching, to address some of this–use what we do to address some of these compelling problems in the world. I would love to see how that shifted how we teach, what we teach, what’s on a syllabus in a Victorian Lit class in my area. And again, I’m seeing people ask those questions. But I would say that we’re not going to have a planet if we don’t start taking the environmental questions seriously as like a leading front leading issue. And that takes us right to the public facing. And then back down to the ground. I’d like to see us think about funding for graduate education differently. This is a very modest change that we could make, instead of imagining all graduate support should be in the form of teaching assistantships, or the majority… What if we had administrative assistantships? What if we had a whole variety of ways of applying what we’re learning that gave students introduced in one year to, or a couple of years, what it means to teach in different settings. But in another year or two, what is it like to do research in the provost office, or to be that educator in the hospital that you just described so beautifully, Maggie [producer’s note: this is in reference to an anecdote from the host earlier in the conversation that did not make the final cut], and endorsing our graduate students, various forms of connecting their education with job opportunities in that way, and articulating the two would just be transformative overnight.

"What if we had administrative assistantships? What if we had a whole variety of ways of applying what we're learning that gave students introduced in one year to, or a couple of years, what it means to teach in different settings.… Click To Tweet

LC: And I will add only one thing that I agree entirely with everything Teresa just said. And to follow from the idea that if we don’t pay attention to issues like climate change, we won’t have a planet. If we don’t pay attention to diversity issues, we should not have a university, you are higher education should look like America. And over the last, particularly 20 to 30 years, the democratization that occurred in the post war era has been eroded. and higher education is increasingly riven by the kinds of inequality that are not only unjust, but unproductive. We need to reopen the sector, on both the undergraduate and the graduate level, in ways that are going to make higher education into a true social enterprise for all of society.

"…if we don't pay attention to issues like climate change, we won't have a planet. If we don't pay attention to diversity issues, we should not have a university, you are higher education should look like America."– Leonard Cassuto Click To Tweet

TM: And where as so many of the changes that we contemplate, would be incredibly expensive, and will demand a complete overhaul of our economic system, that call to that kind of work to being serious about training for diverse democracy, training for a commitment to being part of solving huge problems, that’s free. That’s what we could be doing even in individual classes in departmental curricula, so that we can do!

MNH: That’s a great place to end our conversation today. Thank you, Len and Teresa for joining us. To all of you folks listening, we will see you in three weeks, with Len and Bob Weissbuch to talk about their new book, The New PhD until then, I and the whole team at HWW and PhD Futures Now, wish you continued health and well being. As always, if you’re a graduate student looking for resources to help build your future career, or ways to help bring some of these reforms to your campus, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Deepthi Murali (outro): PhD futures now is produced by Humanities Without Walls consortium. Our producer is Deepthi Murali, and our co host for this episode is Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann. If you would like to know more about this podcast or about HWW, please visit our website at www.PhDfuturesnow.org or contact us at our social media handle @PhDfuturesnow. Special thanks to our guests for this episode Dr. Teresa Mangum and Dr. Leonard Cassuto. See you back in three weeks!


Credits

Episode Producer:
Deepthi Murali, PhD Futures Now! Producer
Episode Host:
Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann, HWW Associate Director of Career Diversity

PhD Futures Now! is produced by the Humanities Without Walls Consortium with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Episode 1 | Introduction to HWW & Career Diversity

In episode 1, we introduce to you the podcast and its philosophy. Deepthi Murali, producer of PhD Futures Now! talks to the core team of Humanities Without Walls Consortium (HWW) about graduate education and career diversity for Humanities PhDs in United States.

Hosted by:
Deepthi Murali, PhD Futures Now! Producer

Speakers:
Antoinette Burton, HWW PI
Jason Mierek, HWW Director of Operations
Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann, HWW Associate Director of Career Diversity
Peggy Brennan, HWW Assistant Director of Operations

Audio Transcript:

Jason Mierek: This is PhD futures now, a podcast on collaboration, career diversity, and graduate education in the humanities. This podcast is a project of Humanities Without Walls, a sixteen-university consortium, headquartered at the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, and funded by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In our first episode, we introduce you to the work of Humanities Without Walls and our philosophies on collaboration, graduate education, and career diversity for humanities PhDs in the 21st century. Welcome. We are glad you’re here!

Deepthi Murali: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the PhD Futures Now! podcast. I’m Deepthi Murali, the producer of PhD Futures Now!, and I’m here with the brilliant core team of people at Humanities Without Walls consortium, who made this podcast happen. Now the PhD Futures Now! podcast was born out of the need to bring to the fore those voices that are advocating for career diversity, for humanities PhDs, and to amplify the need to think more forcefully about the mini crisis that higher education faces today in the United States. And over the course of the first season of this podcast, you will hear from students, faculty and administrators who are working toward the goal of making humanities PhDs more accessible, more diverse, more equitable, and to help PhDs look at careers beyond the tenure track.

Some of our guests are veterans of the field, like Dr. Teresa Mangum, who runs the very successful diversified PhD training program, the Humanities for the Public Good, at the University of Iowa. We will also talk to PhD students like Lisa Betty, who’s an avid and forceful critic of the inequities in the US higher education system. But in our very first episode, today, we want to talk about Humanities Without Walls, HWW, for short. And to do that with me here today, I have the core team of HWW. And we are going to hear from them in just a minute. I want to tell you before we start that we are glad that you’re here. And we hope to build a community here through the PhD futures now podcast, and you can find more information about us on the podcast at www.PhDFuturesNow.org. So, let’s get started. Antoinette, would you like to introduce yourself and start us off?

Antoinette Burton: Hi, everybody. I’m Antoinette Burton. I’m a professor of History here at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. And I’m the PI, the principal investigator, for Humanities Without Walls, which as Deepti said, is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

JM: My name is Jason Mierek. I am the Director of Operations for Humanities Without Walls. I have been around more or less, if not from the inception of the consortium, then from its zygote stage, or its blastula stage maybe, when it was a bundle of cells. And so I try to keep tabs on all of our initiatives at various levels of valence. And, wow, I also find myself being a podcaster!

Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann: Hi, everyone. My name is Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann. I am the Associate Director of Humanities Without Walls and am based at Marquette University, where I am also a PhD candidate in the History Department, and I am currently the Director of the career diversity initiative at Marquette. I was a fellow in 2017, with HWW workshop as a member of the first national cohort, and since that time, I found HWW to kind of transform my professional life. And that’s just a little bit about how I got here.

DM: And Peggy.

Peggy Brennan: Hi, everyone. My name is Peggy Brennan. I am the Assistant Director of Operations on the HWW grant. I first joined HWW in 2017 as an RA, as I was working through my graduate program at the University of Illinois, and I’m now finishing up that PhD, and so these questions of the transition from academia to a job in administration, or a non-faculty job, are very at the forefront of my mind right now. So I’m grateful to be a part of this conversation!

DM: Okay, now that we have introduced the HWW core team, let’s get to the basics. Could you tell us about what Humanities Without Walls, or HWW, is?

AB: Humanities Without Walls is a grand experiment, an improvisational experiment in interdisciplinary collaboration across institutions. And of course, “without walls” in all directions, that is centered in a sixteen-member consortium, which is based here at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. For the last six years, we’ve been organizing and convening two different kinds of collaborative and “without walls” work. On the one side is the grand research challenge, where we have funded almost forty unique research projects that model this experiment in collaborative and interdisciplinary research. And, of course, more germane to today, the career diversity workshop idea, which we did for five consecutive years in the city of Chicago, initially, through the good partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival. Since 2019, on our own with the help of Maggie Nettesheim Hoffman. It’s really the grad students who serve as that link. It helps us to remember that although career diversity, and the research grand research challenge were kind of separate rooms, as we use sometimes refer to them–sides of the house–in fact, it’s the future of graduate education, and the future career and job pathways of graduate students that has really become the salient connector between the two.

JM: Absolutely.

DM: Jason, as someone who’s been there from the beginning, can you tell us a little bit about how HWW works on the day-to-day basis?

JM: Wow, on a day-to-day basis. So one thing that it does is it grows on a day to day basis, and it evolves on a day to day basis. When I began working with Humanities Without Walls, as I like to describe to folks, I began with a single manila folder that maybe had thirty-five sheets of paper in it. And in it was kind of the guiding ideas behind what Humanities Without Walls was to become. As Antoinette alluded to, it was these two primary initiatives, one of which was to fund collaborative research projects, the other was to explore what was then referred to as “alt ac,” which is a phrase I hope we’ll come back to in this conversation and explain why we don’t refer to those workshops as “alt ac” any longer. But from its inception, it was those two initiatives. Peggy, you were really, I think, central to that initiative, when we first tried to bring the graduate students into the research challenge as more substantial research partners rather than simply gofers, or kind of post hoc additions to the research.

PB: I was just going to add by giving a little history of that just really briefly, of what we called the grad lab practicum, which was meant to be a formalized collaboration of graduate students on the grand research challenge projects alongside faculty collaborators, and that actually came out of the first round of grand research challenge projects where PIs, faculty PIs really noticed that the grad students they brought on board to work on those projects ended up being crucial to the project moving forward—as organizers, as event planners, but also as intellectual partners.

AB: Peggy’s observation gives us the chance to say—and I know that Maggie will have a lot to say about this—that five years of doing this, it’s a long time. I think that the combination of the global pandemic with the political situation and Black Lives Matter coming more publicly to the fore, perhaps for the mainstream in the US than it had been, since 2014, since Ferguson. All of those things have converged to bring the questions at the heart of HWW: what kind of society do we want? How can humanist trained with PhDs contribute to that? And most importantly, what can PhDs in humanities actually learn from knowledge produced outside the academy, in order to move the needle forward? And all the things that I think we care about. HWW is kind of a barometer of those things, rather than a predictor, and I think it’s great that we’re breathlessly trying to keep up, because that’s really that shows that we are, we are experimental and improvisational.

MNH: We are now also recognizing that it’s one thing to train graduate students, but we also need to help train faculty and administrators to become educated advisors.

DM: Very Important.

MNH: Guiding their PhD students. Yeah. I know that when we’ve talked with fellowship alumni about recognizing that faculty administrators need that training as much as graduate students has been a big relief from them. Yes, thank you. We need advisors to help guide us in this work, too!

DM: Yeah, totally. What does HWW mean to you? You kind of mentioned your personal experience of HWW. But how does that kind of join in with, you know, working towards career diversity and diversity initiatives at HWW?

MNH: In 2017, when I applied for the fellowship workshop, I really thought it was going to be the journey, my journey: I would go to the workshop, and I would come back with some sort of sense of future career pathways or new knowledge about how to how to start a career, especially I think, for myself in the nonprofit sector, because I’m a historian of American philanthropic foundations and their development in the early 20th century. I had always thought that maybe the tenure track was not something that I wanted to do, but that I wanted to somehow apply my research in the construction of a professional career. Instead, when I spent those three weeks in Chicago, I recognized: Wow, I need to bring this back to my friends and colleagues at Marquette. Because at the time, the graduate school, which they’re wonderful, and so I’m not critiquing Marquette, or our faculty at all in this statement, but there wasn’t a lot of programming to help PhD students think about multiple career paths. And I had seen a number of very dear friends and brilliant scholars come in, you know, six months before graduation, and hit the realities of the job market and recognize, there’s no, there’s no kind of pathway for me to get a tenure track job. And at a school like Marquette, which is an R2, I think that we really feel the job market crisis acutely. So I really kind of came back with this sense that somehow we’ve got to build this programming at Marquette. So it was in that in building the programming at Marquette that I came back into conversation with Antoinette and Jason because we hosted a couple of career diversity symposium on campus. They came, you know, they invited me to come and work with them on the 2019, the 2019 workshop.

DM: In more ways than one, the career the pre-doctoral workshop that we did sort of solidified both my own objective of thinking more about diversifying my career options. Obviously, all of us there are already thinking about career diversity, otherwise, we wouldn’t opt to take part in it. But once we were there, I think it really did enable us with some skills, to consider it more seriously to do to gain some skills—or at least be cognizant of the skills that we need to gain in order to go out there and try to find a job that’s not a tenure track position within academia. So that’s just my shout out for the pre doctoral workshop, which is happening in summer 2021. But we’re going to have it again in a different location in 2022. So be on the lookout for the advertisements and follow HWW on Twitter!

AB: What we do hear from alums, like Deepthi and Maggie is how powerful that community experience was, in addition to all of the emotional and effective bonding that went on—so you realize that this is a structural issue that manifests itself locally, in all the ways in which it will locally, but that this is a larger–as I said–structural issue for higher education that everybody needs to be grappling with. If PhD education is to carry on in some form, and if the ongoing production of academic knowledge at the boundary—at the so called boundary of the so called world and the academy—is to really be one of the ways of thinking about how we move across, and how we move toward and away from each other at various moments in our lives. So I think that that community question has many dimensions, and it’s really wonderful for us now, having just signed on thirty more fellows for 2020, to be able to say that we now have, we will have almost 180 alums from HWW by the end of the summer of 2021. And that itself is a powerful critical mass, I think.

MNH: Yes, I’ve realized too from my work at Marquette that we need to think through designing what I think at Marquette, we are now referring to as practicums for PhD students in the humanities to get the experiences that, that employers really value when you’re going out into the job market. So I would encourage PhD students who might be listening to this podcast to really familiarize yourself with contemporary discourses and a number of different professional sectors.

I would encourage PhD students who might be listening to this podcast to really familiarize yourself with contemporary discourses and a number of different professional sectors. — Maggie Nettesheim Hoffmann, Co-Host Click To Tweet

AB: One of the things that I’ve learned in the last six years, among many, because I really was, I really didn’t know very much about career diversity at all. And I had a little bit of a pain point reaction to the very thought of it, being raised as a pretty conventional humanist, is that the assumption sometimes is that humanists have so many amazing skills, we have research skills, we have organizational skills, we have pedagogical skills, we have the capacity to grasp large bodies of knowledge, make them representable, to digest them to, to, you know, we have project management skills. And that’s all true and we have those skills and habits of mind that are really valuable. But that is that is it’s not self-evident to simply take those skills and walk into an organization like a nonprofit, or anywhere that isn’t even academic adjacent, let’s just say outside the academy, totally. And imagine that you can simply slot into that, and it’s going to work for you. There, there is a set of vocabularies, there’s a kind of ethnography that you have to really be prepared to carry out in order to be able to not just pivot or adapt, but really imagine how it is what you are, can actually serve what is needed. You know, we’ve just been saying, these conversations have been going on for 10 years, 15 years, 30 years to some degree, but the the ways in which we’re trying to put them into practice, that’s actually quite new. And thanks to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has supported so many different versions of career diversity, both through direct awards to institutions of higher education, through its support of some of the amazing programs at the American Council of Learned Societies, for example, through its collaborations with the AHA and the MLA and other learned societies. The Mellon Foundation has really been at the forefront of helping people think about how to do this, I think in 2021, we’re starting to put the pedal to the metal in a way and really try to grind those gears, how are we going to actually make this happen.

DM: And that’s a great segue into our next section, which is sort of thinking about, we have a lot of challenges that’s facing humanities PhDs, and we can really say that we are in a crisis mode, we have been for a while, the pandemic has, I would say, not just exacerbated it, but like actually brought it to the, you know, sort of the top of the pile, the issues that we have in the humanities. So I want to go around the table, so to speak, the zoom table, and see what each of us think is the most significant challenge facing humanities PhDs or the higher ed it can be either or, or both.

JM: Oh, boy, um, I don’t know. I think honestly, the fact that finance has a huge interest in perpetuating the un-sustainability of higher ed the way that it is, I think, I think that, I think in the 1990s when there was a push to rightfully to bring more people into the academy, it was done in a way that did so for many people by at the same time giving them un-dischargeable debts. And so I think that there is a bit of the higher education system that is as complicit in this, as we would talk about a military industrial complex, I think that there is a higher ed financial complex, where I think that’s part of it is that we have to, in some way, figure out how to make education affordable for folks education, something that does not c****** them with non-dischargeable debt, and also something that we have to remove. I think like the financial speculative incentive for a lot of us a lot of aspects of contemporary higher ed, I think that those things have to be addressed as much as the delivery. And I think that there are serious questions about that aspect of structure of higher ed, that we have to address.

There is a bit of the higher education system that is as complicit in this, as we would talk about a military industrial complex, I think that there is a higher ed financial complex, where I think that's part of it is that we have… Click To Tweet

AB: And you know, Jason, your, your remarks, I think, are spot on. We have a commitment to our institutions being social escalators, and of making the institution—which is not built for first and family, people of color, indigenous people—making the institutions more responsible, not just to that demographic, or to not simply to diversity, equity and access, although I think those are very important… What I’m what I think we’re at a tipping point at is, who is going to be the student of the university in the 21st century? And how do we recruit the students we want and need, so that they can with the different kinds of knowledge that they bring from all kinds of walks of life, from all social classes from all different kinds of racialized, underrepresented and subjugated and, and worse communities? How can the knowledge and the experiences they bring transform what we mean by higher education, that’s what I’m interested in. And that is a big, a big challenge that many, many people are trying to wrap their heads around.

DM: Maggie?

MNH: When we talk about the job market crisis, or if you look at some of the notable figures—I won’t mention names—in the conversation who offer solutions, they might point to the overproduction of PhDs. And to get to the challenge of the job market crisis, and the decrease in the number of tenure track positions, that what we should do is just close down PhD programs, stop producing PhDs. And I worry, as someone from an R2, whose life has been enhanced by working on a PhD in the humanities, in history, in particular, and doing that type of research, and expanding my own knowledge, that we are we going to be limiting access to education for historically underserved populations. If we just say, you know, what we’re going to close down, we’ll just close down PhD programs in the humanities. And I think that the populations who will be impacted by that are BIPOC, and first generation, and women scholars. So I would suggest, and I hope that this is maybe something well, this is what I believe I don’t want to say it’s what HWW believes, but I oppose closing down PhD programs as a solution to the job market crisis.

DM: I wanted to ask this question specifically to Maggie and Peggy because you are still in the process of finishing off those PhDs. And so, and I just graduated last semester! So as people the current generation of PhDs who are at acutely facing this problem of off the job crisis within academia, what do you think are the challenges for specifically humanities PhDs coming out? Is it, is it that there are no tenure track jobs? Or is it that we are not really being trained for anything but tenure track jobs? Or is it that there is a denial within the university system of the actual problems that’s facing humanities PhDs? Your thoughts.

MNH: All of it, Deepthi. All of the above. I think one of the places perhaps where our PhD program in the humanities has gone astray is to really combine or link the job outcome with the training. And so I want to sort of upend that a little bit. Right, as opposed to thinking that the only career path one has available to them with a PhD in history is a tenure track, teaching position or research position: that’s obviously shifted in the 21st century. Not just because of necessity, but because we live in a world where there are so many different varieties of options and lifestyles and places to live. We don’t live in the 19th century German world, where we trained PhDs to become researchers and professors, that world doesn’t exist anymore. And so I think it’s very kind of arrogant to assume that someone who wants to earn a PhD or work on a PhD, automatically believes that they’re going to be, or want to be, a tenure track professor. And that if you somehow go against that grain, you are a failure, or that you are not really committed to being a true academic. So I want to, I would like to see us separate the job outcome from the actual education we receive as PhDs.

PB: I absolutely agree, I guess I think the first two that you brought up Deepthi are especially important. I think it’s important, though, to highlight that the job crisis for humanities PhDs isn’t new to 2020, you know. And so these, these questions are a lot more acute than they were, you know, a year ago, but they remain the same, in essence, and and it comes down to in terms of the training, you know, it comes down to advisor relationships, and what kind of programs are available over the course of the students’ graduate program.. I think what the beauty of HWW is, is that it gives a sense of individual agency where those sort of structural things aren’t necessarily in place in every PhD program, right? It gives students a toolkit to take advantage of whatever opportunities are around, on their own campus or across the country. Whether that’s informational interviews, or, you know, an internship over the summer, that kind of thing. So I think a lot of these questions aren’t necessarily new to the last year.

I think what the beauty of HWW is, is that it gives a sense of individual agency where those sort of structural things aren't necessarily in place in every PhD program. — Peggy Brennan, Co-Host Click To Tweet

DM: Let’s talk a little bit about career diversity in itself, right? Like, what, what does career diversity really mean? Like, you know, I think we all, I think all of you touched upon different aspects of career diversity. And then Jason, at the beginning of the episode kind of really vociferously came out against the term, alt, ac. And I know that this is a bone that the HWW core team has to pick with the world. So Maggie,

MNH: Please don’t use the language of alt ac! Now, maybe we need a little bit of history on, on where “alt ac” came from as a discourse. And I believe that about 10 years ago, so right around the time of the recession, when we really hit the first kind of acute wave of job, you know, tenure track job market decreases. There were a group of, you know, PhD students who recognized you know, we really need to start encouraging PhD students to think about alternative careers. And so this is about 2008 2009. And I apologize that I don’t know the names of those scholars who really introduced that concept into the, into the academic conversation. And so at the time, it was it was a reform movement that, you know, really opened up this conversation and saying, we need to be intentional about how we train PhD students for their future careers. But over time, as HWW has also learned, that language really of like the plan A or versus Plan B, really continued to otherize additional career pathways. And so for me, we I personally embrace the language of career diversity, because it equalizes all career outcomes as equivalent to one another. So we often say during the workshop, that HWW is really career agnostic. We don’t care what type of career you go into, into the future, so long as it’s consistent with what you find meaningful about the work that you do in the world. That you find it valuable and consistent with your system of ethics. And so this workshop speaker who visualized this argument for, for us in 2017, really referred to it as a sprinkler. If you think about PhD training as kind of going through a pipeline is like it whether it’s water or electricity at the end. What do we attach to the end of that pipe? And it should be a sprinkler, right? So you have a variety of different streams of water that flow from that, that one singular pipeline, and they’re all equal, and they all do the same thing of nurturing our gardens when it’s dry, so, so I that’s why I personally reject the language of “alt ac.”

Please don’t use the language of alt ac! — The Humanities Without Walls Consortium Click To Tweet

DM: I wanted to bring this back to the podcast, I know that I kind of basically jumped the gun with Antoinette and kind of went to her and, you know, said why not a podcast?! And I was very enthused, and I swear, I didn’t think Antoinette was going to take me seriously. But I genuinely believe that this is a great way of communicating what HWW does, but also to have interesting, engaging conversations about this topic and be able to share it with more than the consortium, or the core group, which is one of the missions of HWW. And so for me, the podcast really is a way to further these kinds of conversations and questions. Sometimes these questions are difficult, and sometimes it is necessary to have multiple, and differing, and dissenting opinions. But to have it out in the open, in a public forum, kind of helps further this question of what Antoinette earlier said, that it’s not just the talking, but how do you actually do it? And so we, for me, the podcast is sort of using the space to start having conversations about how we can do what we need to do to further you know, address, or the the actual issues of career diversity and the crisis in academia. So with that in mind, I want us to end by again, going around the table and sort of thinking about, what does the pod–or what do you hope the podcast does in the next, hopefully, many seasons?

JM: I hope that we blow up and become number one on Spotify and Apple. And I hope that it leads to us forming at HWW band with Professor Bill Hart-Davidson on bass, myself as lead vocalist…

PB: I can play the triangle!

JM: We need to find someone to play cowbell.

MNH: Gotta have more cowbell!

JM: You think I’m joking, Deepthi, but I’m not!

PB: I have a particular hope—I have a lot of other ones as well—but one that is maybe a little less expected is, I really hope that faculty tune in, you know, traditionally minded academic faculty who maybe are hoping to become better mentors in that role, for their students who are looking for non-traditional or non-faculty jobs, I would think that would be fabulous if we could really change the minds about the value of a PhD among those people who are currently doing that mentorship.

DM: Awesome. And Antoinette?

AB: I’m so grateful Deepthi, that you suggested this to me. I remember the exact moment in the 2019 workshop. I thought it was such a gift, because podcasting is something that I’ve been thinking, I understand it as a really important delivery system. It’s a way of leveraging HWW’s values and convictions—not as HWW’s necessarily, although obviously, I’m interested in HWW being more broadly known—but it’s one, one method that we have for convening people around these issues, which I think as you very rightly said, we don’t want to just be speaking to the choir, we want to be bringing dissenting voices, and we want to be making cogent and persuasive arguments about how this question is at the heart of higher education going forward. And I’m really invested in the university, public or private, taking a sharp turn in the next 10 years away from its way from the things that weigh it down, and toward the things that are going to allow it to be responsive and representative of the world that we want. And I think this podcast is one of many ways that HWW, and all other kinds of actors and players at this historical moment, can really contribute to that reorientation.

MNH: I think just one of the great things that I think we can bring out of this work, especially to the support of The Andrew Mellon Foundation, that we’re providing all these resources to graduate students for free. Not that I think that career consulting or that paying for that type of work is unimportant, but I think as much as possible, these types of resources that help graduate students think through their careers, and develop their careers, ought to be free, especially during a pandemic and a kind of a global market crisis.

If there are graduate students listening, we are here to help you. — Deepthi Murali, Producer Click To Tweet

DM: Alright, with that, I think we should wrap up. But before we go, I wanted to say two things. One, if there are graduate students listening, we are here to help you. So if you need us to do sessions on skill shares, like informational interviews, please let us know so that we can include that in our future programming. Secondly, don’t miss our next episode, we are having Dr. Teresa Mangum and Dr. Leonard Cassuto, both of whom are veterans of the field in career diversity, and thinking about the future of PhDs, to talk to us about the crisis in higher education. So this is definitely an episode that you want to listen to! So with that, I say adieu for myself and for the whole team here at HWW. And we see you again in three weeks! Till then stay safe.