I have explored this idea of what it means to be “Alt-Ac” (alternative to academic track, for the uninitiated) on this space and others before.
Today a tweep reached out to me about a survey being conducted by The Scholarly Communication Institute.
The Scholarly Communication Institute (http://uvasci.org/) is conducting a study on career preparation in humanities graduate programs. As part of this study, we are administering two confidential surveys: the first is for people on alternative academic career paths (that is, people with graduate training in the humanities and allied fields working beyond the professoriate); the second is for their employers. The surveys will be open until October 1, 2012.Humanities scholars come from a wide array of backgrounds and embark on a variety of careers in areas like libraries, museums, archives, higher education and humanities administration, publishing, research and technology, and more. SCI anticipates that data collected during the study will contribute to a deeper understanding of the diversity of career paths that humanities scholars pursue after their graduate studies, while also highlighting opportunities to better prepare students for a range of careers beyond the tenure track.The study complements the public database that SCI recently created as a way to clarify the breadth of the field, and to foster community among a diverse group (available at http://altacademy.wufoo.com/reports/who-we-are/).Both the database and the surveys are being administered by Dr. Katina Rogers as part of SCI’s current phase of work — which includes a close concentration on graduate education reform and the preparation of future knowledge workers, educators, and cultural heritage and scholarly communications professionals.The survey results will help us to make curriculum recommendations so that graduate programs may better serve future students, and anonymized or summarized data will be made available at at a later date via http://uvasci.org. Please contact Katina at email@example.com if you’d like to know more.• Complete the main survey: http://alt-academy.questionpro.com/• Complete the employer survey: http://alt-academy.employers.questionpro.com/Thank you in advance for your time and support on this project.
Katina made a mention of a desire for a diverse group of participants. Again, you may know of my Alt-White Academics initiative which aims to aggregate the online spaces of scholars of color. In compiling those lists I was struck by how many scholars of color are doing precisely the kind of interdisciplinary, alt-ac work that is increasingly dominating discussions about the future of academe.
It has been said that minority communities are the canary in the U.S. coal mine. I suspect that the kind of independent career creation that many now discuss in mainstream academic communities has long been the case for scholars of color who face particular difficulties in the traditional job market.
I say all that to say: think of participating, please spread the word, and thank Katina for asking me to be a part of this mission if only in a small way.