What is the New York City Proseminar?
The proseminar meets six times per year in plenary. Each meeting is hosted by an organization in New York City that employs humanities PhDs; past meeting hosts have included the New York Public Library, the American Council for Learned Societies, Ithaka S+R, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Futures Initiative (CUNY), and LaGuardia Community College. The four-hour meetings feature roundtable discussions with PhDs employed at the host organization, where proseminar fellows hear about the many different professional paths of the humanities PhD. Meetings also include workshops run by MLA staff members (all with PhDs) addressing career-building strategies and skills, such as growing and maintaining a professional network, articulating transferable skills on a résumé or in a cover letter, and establishing a professional online presence.
In between large-group meetings, smaller groups of proseminar fellows meet at other cultural organizations or educational institutions in New York City for sixty- to ninety-minute site visits. Site visits provide fellows with the opportunity to conduct informational interviews with PhDs working outside the academy and to find out more about the places where PhDs find meaningful work. Past locations of site visits have included the New York Historical Society, the Frick Collection, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Whiting Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, Humanities New York, and Columbia University Press.
Each cohort of proseminar fellows forms a community of colleagues who are interested in the broader questions of doctoral education and employment horizons for humanities PhDs. Many proseminar alumni report that the cohort itself was the most valuable aspect of the proseminar for them; it helped them feel less alone in exploring their career ambitions and provided them with a ready-made professional network.
To find out more, you can view or download a sample proseminar syllabus or read blog posts by past proseminar fellows.
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