Tenure-Track Job Opening in the Messiah College History Department

Boyer Hall

This ad will appear in all the usual places very soon, but I thought I would also post it here at the blog. Starting date is August 2019.   Feel free to share and spread the word.

The Department of History at Messiah College invites applications for a term-tenure track position in Public History with expertise in post-1865 United States History.

Applicants must be committed to working closely with undergraduate students. Teaching responsibilities will include an advanced course in public history, upper-division courses in area of specialty, a United States history survey from 1865, and first-year interdisciplinary general education courses. We are especially interested in candidates who could offer one or more upper-division courses in subfields of public history and American social history.

Ph.D. in Public History/United States History, with specialization in post-1865 American history. We seek faculty committed to undergraduate teaching and research in the context of a Christian liberal arts college.

The history major at Messiah College allows students to study a wide range of historical periods and subjects ranging from public and digital history to courses in American, European, Ancient Mediterranean, World, and South Asian history. We emphasize the cultivation of a breadth of historical learning along with liberal arts skills of research methods, critical thinking, and high-quality writing. History majors take a standard sequence of core courses in historical surveys, methods, and historiography, and then have the option of selecting from a range of upper-division classes in American History, Classical and Medieval European History, Modern European, Public History, and World History. History majors seeking careers in secondary education (grades 7-12) have an option of completing the state credentialing program in conjunction with the Education Department. The department also offers minors in history, digital public humanities, and Classical, Medieval and Renaissance studies, as well as many enrichment opportunities, including interdisciplinary study, undergraduate research honors theses; collaboration with professors on research; internships with museums, historical archives, and governmental agencies; study-abroad semesters and short-term trips around the world; archaeological training; digital projects; and service-learning.

We are a department of six full-time faculty and approximately 45 majors. Students are encouraged to think independently, engage in fruitful debate, and become citizens committed to service, social justice, and reconciliation. The department maintains strong collaborations across campus with the Center for Public Humanities, Teacher Education Program, Office of Diversity Affairs, and the Oakes Museum of Natural History, and off campus with the city of Harrisburg, county and state archives, and regional schools. Our faculty work closely with students to consider how a history major provides a set of transferable skills that will allow them to access diverse opportunities for employment. Our graduates pursue employment and graduate school in a variety of fields, including history, public history, religious studies, journalism, communication, education, sociology, library science, business, law, computer science, data analytics, theology, among many others.

Read the entire ad here.

How To Interview at a Teaching College


A few years ago I wrote a couple of pieces at Inside Higher Ed on interviewing for college teaching jobs.  I wrote about interviewing at a teaching college here and interviewing at teaching a church-related teaching college here.

Today at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kevin Gannon of Grand View University offers some good advice on applying for a job at small liberal arts college that emphasizes teaching over research.

Here is a taste of his piece:

I work at a small liberal-arts college — also known by our charming acronym, SLAC. Colleges like mine are teaching-centric (a 4-4 load), largely enrollment-dependent, and quite different from research universities when it comes to faculty hiring and advancement. That’s important because the non-elite, teaching-oriented colleges are where a lot of the academic jobs are. Yet far too many advice columns on the faculty career act as if search committees only operate in one way — the way they do at R-1 campuses. You’re told how to be successful in your “job talk” — you know, the hourlong session where you publicly discuss your scholarly work, research agenda, and (typically) how kickass of a book your dissertation is about to become. That (and not getting drunk at dinner with the search committee) is key, you are told.

But that isn’t key in the hiring process at teaching colleges.If you’re in a field — say, anything in the humanities — where there’s a daunting ratio of candidates to open positions, being strategic and intentional about the application materials you send to different types of institutions can make a real difference in how you fare. A happy exception to the overload of R1 advice is Karen Kelsky’s recent column on job-searching at a SLAC (and, for once, you should read the comments, too). It’s a good start and my goal here is to go further.

At SLACs, a teaching demonstration is at the heart of our campus interview process. I had heard nothing about that when I was a Ph.D. student entering the market myself, even though all of my interviews were at small liberal-arts institutions. I quickly discovered that the hiring landscape at these colleges was much different than the one I’d been prepared for. Ultimately, I was successful, but only by adjusting on the fly to a new set of strategies.

Read the rest here.

Loren Collins on How To Enter the Job Market with a B.A. in History

Great stuff at the AHA blog from Loren Collins, a career counselor at Humboldt State University with a B.A. in history.  

I have been preaching this stuff for several years through my series “So What CAN You Do With a History Major” and my Why Study History?, but Collins does it a lot better.

Here is a taste:

History degrees are versatile, viable, and valuable, but so often they are not understood or marketed on these terms. You may have chosen history because you had visions of devouring stacks of ancient primary source documents in a glorious repository in an ancient European metropolis. Or maybe you dreamt of standing in front of a high school class much like your own high school history class, waking the heart of a high school student a lot like you once were. Or, like many of us, you simply chose the major because you liked it and you knew you’d have to figure out a job down the road. Whatever your motivation, the first thing you need to learn is how to market your degree

History is dynamic, and you should be a bright, capable, and thorough thinker, writer, communicator, and researcher because of your time as an undergraduate. The problem is that no one will know it until you tell them! People make assumptions about various majors all the time, and in the news they often recite and rehash false stories about college education that go unchallenged. On your resume, in your cover letter, and during interviews and networking scenarios you need to quantify your experience in terms employers can understand and change the common perceptions out there. Your ability to do this can make all the difference. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers cite the following as the top skills employers look for in college graduates:

Here is the takeaway:

1.  Learn how to market your degree
2.  Explore the job field.  (“Where do you want to work?)
3.  Start targeting employers before they put out their job ads

Dispelling Myths About The History Major

I just found this post on the website of the Boston University History Department.  It does an outstanding job of dispelling three myths about majoring in history.  They are:

1.  “History is boring”

2.  “I don’t want to teach so I shouldn’t major in history.”

3.  “History is just old-fashioned liberal arts.  I need ‘real world’ skills.  I should major in something ‘sensible’ even if it’s not what I’m really excited about.”

I encourage you to read the entire post.  Here is a taste;

major study, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, recently tested college students nationwide at the start of their freshman year and then again after two years of study to gauge how well they were learning.  It asked students to read a series of documents on a political or business problem and then write a memo about how to respond to it.  Liberal arts majors consistently outperformed their peers in business, communications, and other newer “practical” majors.

Studying liberal arts teaches you critical thinking as well as imagination, empathy, and resourcefulness.  It teaches you to research, evaluate evidence, communicate, and problem solve. Rather than train you narrowly for today’s job world (which will be obsolete twenty years from now), it teaches you how to learn for a lifetime. It teaches you not what to think (which will one day be outdated) but rather how to think.

History offers a particularly rigorous liberal arts education.  A new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows that history majors earn higher median salaries than all other humanities majors and earn the same or more than those who majored in education, communications, or international relations. Twenty percent of those history graduates were employed in management positions.

Remember, companies want to hire smart, creative people and often value those with educational backgrounds that set them apart from the crowd.  At a recent Stanford University event, students asked the popular television host and bestselling author Rachel Maddow to name the kind of major she looks for in a successful job candidate.  Without hesitation, she endorsed study in the humanities.  “And really,” she added, “History is kind of the king.” “We need people who are good at explaining facts, who are good at editing, and who can visualize things in creative ways. We need good artists and we need good writers,” she explained.  Maddow attributed her own success to her education in the humanities, which taught her how to write and present an effective argument, and which brought a nuanced historical sensibility to her advocacy and activism.

Joining a program just because it seems pre-professional will not help you make the most of your intellectual potential. Law schools, medical schools, business schools, and graduate programs, like employers, are looking for applicants who graduated at the top of their classes with interesting things to say.  Study what you are passionate about, because your interest will be reflected in your grades and your work.

Job: Public Historian in Residence at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities

We are pleased to invite applications for a new full-time staff position at MARCH, located in the Cooper Street Historic District on the campus of Rutgers-Camden.  The primary responsibility of the Public Historian in Residence will be to serve as co-editor of The Public Historian, the journal of the National Council on Public History, in particular to provide the perspective of a public history practitioner. The person filling this position also will contribute to publications, projects, and events that support public history initiatives of MARCH and the Department of History, including mentorship of public history interns. Ideal candidates will be public history professionals with substantial experience in practice and established networks of contacts in the field. Minimum three to five years’ experience in public history practice and bachelor’s degree required (master’s degree preferred).  The position requires excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills, and knowledge or expertise in technology sufficient to permit participating in discussions about digital initiatives that may impact on journal publishing.  To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and list of references no later than Friday, April 19, online here.  (Also link here for additional information about salary and benefits classification.)

Click here for an expanded job description.