Graduate and Early Career Caucus: Activities Update

The Graduate and Early Career Caucus has come out if its winter hibernation and is thrilled to offer a belated snapshot of our activities, both completed and forthcoming. This past year in Toronto, GECC offered a record-breaking amount of programming. In addition to annual events such as the Graduate and Early Career Mixer, the Mentorship Program, the Women’s Mentorship Event, and the CV review, the caucus also sponsored a roundtable titled “Diversifying the Profession: Perspectives of Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity in the History of Science” as well as a roundtable on “Writing Skills for Graduate Students.” Our diversity panel was especially successful and provoked a great deal of conversation about the ways in which we can do more to support students of diverse backgrounds in our institutions and to encourage diversity within the profession. GECC is committed to continuing to discuss and promote diversity within our caucus and in the larger HSS community. We welcome all input and are especially interested in collaborating or coordinating with other caucuses.

Moving forward, GECC will be undertaking two major initiatives in 2018. The first is an overhaul and update of the GECC website (more details of which will be featured in the summer newsletter). The second concerns the development of our mentorship program. This program was developed by GECC and inaugurated at HSS 2008. It was, and is, specifically designed to put mentees in contact with individuals beyond their own institutions, people with whom they might not otherwise have had a chance to converse. The program has been successful due to the enthusiastic involvement of many participants over the past decade, but we are always looking for more mentors and mentees.

We would like to emphasize that mentorship, as we define it, requires neither a lifetime commitment nor an extensive CV. It does not even require a PhD. We would like to strongly encourage candidates at the end of their programs to consider mentoring those who are just beginning their dissertations. The goal of our program is to get people talking: talking about writing, research strategies, conferences, travel, work/life balances, and anything else that has the potential to demystify the profession. The goal of mentorship is to share information, to circulate the kind of tacit knowledge about academia that one does not learn in school (so to speak). Many of you were graduate students once; tell us what you wish that you had known when you were us!

A formal call for participants will be circulated later in the year. But it is never too early (or too late) to think about the ways in which your experience(s) can be of aid to aspiring academics and future PhDs. Moreover, contributing to a culture of openness and transparency, collaboration and support, is one of the ways that you can help ensure that the next generation of scholars is as diverse and inclusive as possible.

GECC is also searching for a new Diversity Officer (or officers) who would begin their duties at the 2018 conference in Seattle. Interested parties are asked to reach out to Co-Chair Kristine Palmieri (kpalmieri@uchicago.edu) to discuss the position.