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The Humanities Career Initiative

HumanitiesWorks, a joint initiative of the Humanities Center and the Center for Career Exploration and Succes (CEES), was designed to ensure that all humanities majors receive substantial, evidence-based career guidance throughout their years at Miami. The program also created a new advising modules to help students understand how their education prepares them for a range of professions. The program has more than tripled humanities students’ visits to the CEES.  In 2019, it won a national award from the Career Leadership Collective.

An offshoot of the Valuing the Humanities Initiative, HumanitiesWorks began in 2014 as a task force of ten faculty members and two representatives from CEES. The group met more than a dozen times over two years to identify best practices for creating, clear, consistent, and stable guidelines for advising humanities majors. The group collaborated to define best practices, introduce new career nights, alumni events, and advising sessions. It also worked to eliminate redundancy, increase resource sharing among departments, and build new advising mechanisms to capitalize on excellent career programs already in place at CEES but underutilized by humanities majors.  

Each department created its own career advising program, tailored to the particular needs and strengths of the discipline.  Most suggested that majors receive some or all of the following: a one-on-one consultation with a CEES advisor; workshops designed to help with career selection, resume review and preparation, summer internships, interviewing, and applying to graduate school; interview preparation advice; a mock interview; and attendance at a career fair, alumni career event, or recruiting event.  The CEES arranged for faculty to meet with employers in Southwest Ohio and talk to them about the relation between work and a humanities major.  CEES also worked to help faculty track alumni careers more effectively and to develop closer ties with alumni willing to mentor students.  

The CEES already offers many such services, but studies showed that few humanities students used them. The College of Arts and Science and some individual humanities departments also offer career courses, workshops, and alumni lectures; usage of such programs was difficult to ascertain.  The HumanitiesWorks group developed new ways of opening departmental programs out to all humanities majors.  It also discussed helping humanities majors plan for postgraduate education; cultivation of alumni networks; best practices in advising; tracking outcomes of our students; and informing current students about the career outcomes of former humanities majors.  Such information could be used to enhance departmental advising and communication efforts.

In the spring of 2016, the HumanitiesWorks program culminated in a first-ever Humanities Career Week, including an alumni night, programs for faculty peer mentoring, and well-attended advising sessions.  Between 2014 and 2016, the Office of Career Services reported, the number of humanities students receiving evidence-based career guidance more than doubled, from 625 to over 1300.    

In 2018-2020, HumanitiesWorks 2.0 gathered another group of seven faculty members to work on growing departmental programs in ways that could be replicated in other units.  Goals included development of regular, departmentally-based career advising meetings for all majors, improved communication about career paths and preparation for the major for various audiences, improved integration of career awareness into the curriculum, and growing alumni networks to aid in career preparation.

In 2020, HumanitiesWorks 3.0 invited faculty to develop problem-based, experiential elements of existing courses. Participating faculty will receive $5,000 for the work developing programs.

A banner of the impact of the HUmanities with people in the background with a red and purple filter on them

HumanitiesWorks Participants, 2014-present
Renée Baernstein, CAS
Shelby Ballard, CEES
Mary Beth Barnes, CEES
Tiffany Belka, Spanish and Portuguese
Heather Christman, CEES
Erin E. Edwards, English
Keith Fennen, Philosophy
Mack Hagood, MJF
Kimberly Hamlin, American Studies
Michael Hatch, Art and Architecture History
Elisabeth Hodges, French and Italian
Erik Jensen, History
Katie Johnson, English
Mark McKinney, French and Italian
Tim Melley, Humanities Center
Patrick Murphy, English
Andrew Offenburger, History
Vincent Palozzi, Linguistics
Rosemary Pennington, MJF
Damon Scott, Geography
Liang Shi, GRAMELAC/East Asian Languages and Culture
Marisol del Tesso-Cravioto, Spanish and Portuguese
Zara Torlone, Classics
Walt Vanderbush, Latin American Studies

A banner with bookshelves in the background. In the foreground it is a statement: Humanities Center Awarded five hundred thousand dollars NEH Challenge Grant


Miami's HumanitiesWorks program mentioned in Humanities Alliance report:

Strategies for Recruiting Students to the Humanities: A Comprehensive Resource
A flyer for the Strategies for Recruiting Students to the Humanities: A Comprehensive Resource
HumanitiesWorks Study the American Dream in a Small Iowa Town
A screenshot of various Zoom screens of people attending a seminarDirector of Humanities Center and former Geoffrion Undergraduate Fellow discuss the value of the humanities on NPR