Humanists@Work (HumWork) is the graduate career initiative for the University of California. HumWork is organized by the University of California Humanities Research Institute and has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Modern Language Association’s Mellon-funded Connected Academics grant, and the Council of Graduate Schools Career Pathways Project. HumWork believes that career initiatives and programs should be led by graduate students in the humanities, supporting and amplifying their varied experiences, interests, and points of view. HumWork is deeply invested in exploring and documenting humanities expertise at work in the world, its possibilities and limits. We see engaging with all UC humanities PhD alumni as central to this work. And we believe that to be meaningful, career “diversity” initiatives must change to address the concerns of heterogeneous stakeholders, beyond those who have always been in the room.
Past Programs and Activities
Twice-yearly graduate career workshops, hosted in partnership with UC campuses, are free to attend. Travel grants are available to UC humanities graduate students.
A robust website includes upcoming event information, resources from past workshops, and content that represents multiple stakeholders and viewpoints. A LinkedIn group, PhDs in the Humanities, facilitates national conversation about relevant topics.
Graduate Advisory Committee
Reflecting HumWork’s conviction that graduate student leadership is critical to the initiative, a Graduate Advisory Committee offers substantive feedback on all activities, plans and leads workshops, and contributes to the HumWork website.
A paid, eight-week internship demonstrates investment in year-round labor for humanities graduate students and the value these scholars bring to diverse settings.
Tracking PhD graduates in partnership with humanities departments on UC campuses enables the opportunity to spotlight the manner in which careers evolve and celebrate the PhDs who pursue diverse paths.
Deep collaboration with faculty members, campus career counselors, department staff, professionals in the field, and—most importantly—graduate students, is an essential component of the effort to re-conceptualize PhD education and professionalization.
Experimentation with the content and structure of programmatic activities reveals key issues to address, new ways to reach stakeholders, and best practices for humanities PhD training.
The pervasive attitudes toward non-professorial careers within the academy must change in order to transform how students approach professionalization, faculty members support graduate students, and institutions address the career challenges facing humanities PhDs.
Highlighting and Valuing Labor
Humanities graduate students should recognize the work they do has value and be treated as professionals with lucrative skill sets. Wherever possible, their work should be made visible and remunerated accordingly.
A UC-wide community of graduate students, faculty members, and other key advocates strengthens engagement in critical, yet challenging conversations around the role of career training for humanities PhDs.
To acknowledge the many roles graduate students play in addition to being students and scholars, professionalization activities must address the “mechanical” elements of thriving in the workforce and facilitate critical discussions about graduate student experiences.
The Humanists@Work Team
Research Programs Manager
Information Systems Analyst
Graduate Student Researcher