How can humanities graduate programs better equip students for a wider range of careers, without sacrificing the core values or approaches of the discipline? We are delighted to announce the launch of the Praxis Network, a new partnership of innovative graduate and undergraduate programs that are making effective interventions in the traditional models of humanities pedagogy and research.
The Praxis Network features graduate programs at the University of Virginia, Michigan State University, CUNY Graduate Center, University College London, and Duke University, as well as undergraduate programs at Hope College and Brock University. The partnership is one of three complementary projects in the Scholarly Communication Institute’s current work on rethinking graduate education.
First, we are convening a series of experts’ meetings in conjunction with the Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) and centerNet, its digital counterpart, to discuss ways that traditional and digital humanities centers can effect change both within and across institutions.
Second, we have conducted a study on the level of career preparation provided by graduate programs in order to assess the most important points of leverage. It is clear from the results, which will be published along with the data later this year, that most graduates and their employers find that they do not gain many of the skills that are important in their professional environments—such as collaboration, project management, and communication with varied audiences—through their graduate study.
Finally, the Praxis Network provides a closer look at select programs that have taken unusual and effective approaches to addressing some of the issues that the survey uncovered. The goals of each unique program are student-focused, digitally-inflected, interdisciplinary, and frequently oriented around collaborative projects. The website, which is the first product of the partnership, takes the important step of sharing information about the commonalities and unique properties of these programs in a way that makes it easy to compare them.
Humanities programs have the opportunity to better serve their students as well as the public by examining our core values and rethinking the methods we use to teach them. The Praxis Network programs show just a few possible ways to move toward collaborative projects, public engagement, and embracing an ethos of openness and exploration.