In The Depressed History Job Market, Inside Higher Ed reports that the decline in academic history jobs for this past year may be 15% or more. Job searches have been called off and interviewees have been warned that advertised job openings may no longer exist. Ph.D. students who would usually hope for four to five interviews, are now happy with one.
Robert Townsend, the American History Association’s assistant director for research and publications writes that such data should promote “caution among those considering doctoral studies, or those considering taking more students into their Ph.D. programs.”
However, Sterling Fluharty, a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma, contends that regardless of the current recession, historians need to reevaluate longer term job market trends. For example, instead of hiring tenure-track professors, colleges have responded to enrollment demands by hiring adjuncts. Furthermore, history departments are less popular at community colleges and urban public master’s universities.
Therefore, Fluharty suggests the following steps to increase job opportunities:
- Enhance history master’s degrees by making the degree more “marketable.”
- Place more emphasis on public history, so that graduates will be prepared to work for state and federal governments.
- Add more technology education to history programs.
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