Introduction to Graduate Futures

Welcome to the Humanities Center’s Graduate Futures Programs! As the new program director overseeing graduate professional development initiatives, I want to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself and some of our programmatic priorities for this coming year.

But first, what do we mean by graduate futures? In our programming, we seek to offer graduate students an expansive vision of their professional priorities and goals and equip them toward those ends. While this is partly in response to the changing realities of the higher education landscape, we also believe that humanities scholars offer vital analyses of life together that are important and have great impact in a variety of scenarios. This more expansive visioning includes:

-    Identify multiple post-PhD career pathways;
-    Focus on valuable professional skill sets not typically
highlighted in a doctoral program; 
-    Gain practical experience in a variety of professional settings; and 
-    Strengthen student community.

With that in mind, our overarching program goals for this year are to strengthen our programming; collaborate with partners across campus; and facilitate conversations about the changing realities of higher education.This year we are also beginning a new endeavor where graduate student researchers can gain translational fluency outside of their home disciplines, through placement in administrative offices and other schools on the UCI campus. You will hear more about what these graduate student researchers are doing in the coming months and year.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the COVID-19 pandemic has more starkly revealed the various inequities present in higher education and the challenging economic realities of the academic job market. These realities can feel amplified when most of us are still working remotely, underscoring the isolation that graduate students often experience already. There is no doubt that things are difficult, and we have experienced these effects on both personal and institutional levels. At the same time, I have also seen how people have creatively adapted to fundamental shifts in the educational landscape and believe that the time is ripe for students, faculty, and administrators to engage these issues through multiple avenues and communities of support. I’ll be reaching out to you to connect around new possibilities for graduate futures in the humanities.

SueJeanne Koh, Graduate Future Programs Director