From anecdote to data: alternative academics and career preparation

A few weeks ago, I set up this registry of alternative academics, which gives a glimpse into the wide variety of paths taken by people with advanced graduate training in the humanities. Later this summer, I’ll be launching a formal, confidential survey that will help identify perceived gaps in career preparation, and by extension, opportunities for rethinking graduate methods courses (more info here and here).

How about a session to discuss the project? We could talk about broad-brush issues related to the #altac conversation, as well as particularities about the database and survey. I’d especially like to brainstorm participation strategies to ensure that the survey generates as much useful data as possible from a wide range of respondents.


I'm Senior Research Specialist at the Scholarly Communication Institute. My current project there is a broad survey assessing career preparation among alternative academics, which aims to help move #altac conversations beyond the anecdotal. I'll also be helping to support and share outcomes from a number of conversations SCI is convening on new models for scholarly publishing, and on graduate education reform. SCI will also be working on expanding the Praxis Program to include a number of allied programs. I completed a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Colorado in 2010; my dissertation focused on trauma and the representation of the unsayable in recent works of fiction (mostly French). I also think a lot about formal experimentation and Oulipo.

3 thoughts on “From anecdote to data: alternative academics and career preparation

  1. Right up my alley! I just signed on to your census (brilliant idea) and look forward to talking with you this weekend. Til then!

  2. Good question, Brian–at this point, the survey instruments are nearly (but not quite) done–so if people are interested in talking at that level of detail, I’d love to hear feedback, and can definitely still incorporate suggestions into the surveys. (There’s one for employees, and a shorter one for employers.)

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