A New Program Will Prep Humanities Doctoral Students for Careers in Nonprofit Organizations and Government

Most Graduate Center humanities doctoral students consider contributing to society an important aspect of a first job, and many see the appeal of careers in government or in nonprofits, according to the results of a recent Graduate Center survey. With support from the Council of Graduate Schools, the Graduate Center will launch a new program to help humanities doctoral students fulfill their career aspirations and land professional roles in the government and nonprofit sectors. 

The grant of just over $48,000 for use over 30 months will fund a new course in writing for government and nonprofits and will support professional networking opportunities for humanities students who are interested in working in the two sectors. Both initiatives are part of the Graduate Center’s new Professional Community and Communications Project.

The course, Writing for Government and Non-Profits, will be offered to humanities doctoral students three times between spring 2022 and fall 2023. It will be taught by an experienced professional currently working in the nonprofit or government sector who holds a humanities Ph.D. The course will feature a series of guest speakers, including Graduate Center alumni with whom students can network. Students will practice writing a variety of materials, including public relations statements, policy proposals, internal memos, grant proposals, and information campaigns. As part of an overall project, students will draw on their academic area of expertise to create a portfolio of professional writing.

At an event each fall students from the course, past guest speakers, and alumni with relevant career experience will have an opportunity to meet and network. In addition, a series of information sessions with government and nonprofit employers will be offered to all humanists at the Graduate Center.

Material from the course will be adapted to create a resource guide on writing for government and nonprofits, and for the Graduate Center’s Writing Center to offer workshops for faculty members and make in-class visits. A Graduate Center student serving as a curricular assistant will help coordinate these projects.

“The humanities Ph.D. is excellent preparation for a variety of careers, as is evident in the success of Graduate Center humanities alumni in a wide range of professions,” said David Olan, associate provost and dean for academic affairs, who is the director of the new project. “Our humanities doctoral students are expert researchers and creative problem-solvers, eager to make a difference. With the generous support of the Council of Graduate Schools, we will help them make the impact they envision.” 

“The Graduate Center’s Office of Career Planning & Professional Development is grateful for the Council of Graduate Schools’ support of our efforts to create a strong alumni network and enhance students’ career prospects,” said Jenny Furlong, who directs the office and is a co-director of the new project. 

David Hershinow, the director of the Writing Center at the Graduate Center who is also co-directing the project, added, “The funding from CGS is deeply needed and greatly appreciated as we begin expanding the Graduate Center’s professional development program to include courses on various kinds of professional writing.” 

Project collaborators include Yun Xiang, associate dean for institutional effectiveness; Professors Kandice Chuh and Amy Wan from the Ph.D. Program in English; Professors Joel Allen and Anne Valk from the Ph.D. Program in History; and Distinguished Professor Joseph Straus from the Ph.D.-D.M.A. Program in Music

Published by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Submitted on: AUG 10, 2021

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