A Retrospective and Reimagining of the AHA’s Tuning and Career Diversity Initiatives

Endorsed by the OAH Membership Committee

Saturday, April 4, 2020, 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Education; Professional Development; Teaching and Pedagogy


The American Historical Association’s Tuning the History Discipline (2011) aimed at the undergraduate history major, followed by Career Diversity for Historians (2014) designed to prepare doctoral students for professional opportunities beyond the professoriate, have both sought to address the challenge of communicating, in clear and convincing terms, to students, parents, university administrators, and the public, the value and applicability of historical thinking. This roundtable brings together framers, core members, and participants now applying these lessons both in and beyond the classroom. Panelists will share reflections and offer potential paths forward in merging Tuning and Career Diversity from the BA to the PhD.

Session Participants

Chair: Elaine K. Carey, Purdue University Northwest
Elaine Carey is Professor of History and Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Science at Purdue University Northwest. She is the author of Plaza of Sacrifices: Gender, Power, and Terror in 1968 Mexico (2005) and the award winning Women Drug Traffickers: Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime (2014). She is also co-editor with Andrae Marak of Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine: Transnational Flows of Contraband and Vice in North America (2011) and the editor/author of the textbook Protests in the Streets: 1968 Across the Globe (2016). As a historian who researches crime and human rights, she has served as an expert witness in courts across the United States, and she has consulted for radio, film, television, archives, libraries, and museums.

From 2013-2016, she was the Vice President for the Teaching Division of the American Historical Association (AHA). Currently, she is a co-principle investigator on the NHPRC funded project, “Family, Immigration, and History: Grade 10 Citizen Archivists in the Digital Age,” a collaboration with the New York City Department of Education’s Department of Social Studies, the Queens Public Library, the Queens Memory Project, and St. John’s University. Formerly, Carey served as the chair of the History Department at SJU.

Panelist: John Bezis-Selfa, Wheaton College
John Bezís-Selfa is associate professor of history and department chair at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he focuses his teaching on the history of the Americas. He is author of "Forging America: Ironworkers, Adventurers, and the Industrious Revolution" and is co-author of "American Horizons: US History in a Global Context." John is at work on two projects: a history of Spanish as a public language in the United States and a history of Latino Philadelphia. He has received fellowships-in-residence from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University. John’s interest in Tuning stems from efforts to develop a tiered approach to information fluency, to curricular renewal efforts within his department and at Wheaton, and to a commitment to the discipline of history as key to creating and sustaining a democratic and genuinely inclusive civic culture.

Panelist: Reginald K. Kaichun Ellis, Florida A&M University
Reginald K. Ellis received a Bachelor of Science degree in African American Studies and a Master of Applied Social Sciences degree in History, both from Florida A&M University. He earned a PhD in History from the University of Memphis. Ellis specializes in the history of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and African American leaders during the Jim Crow era. His major area of concentration is African American history with specialization in United States History Since 1877, Contemporary African History, and Oral History. In the fall of 2011, Ellis was hired as an Assistant Professor of History at FAMU where he teaches the following courses: Black Americans in the 20th Century; Introduction to African American History; The African American Experience; Oral Historical Studies and Selected Topics in the Twentieth Century. He has published and presented scholarly research on topics pertaining to HBCU presidents in the early twentieth century. From 2012-2015, he served as a faculty participant in the AHA's Tuning the History Discipline project for FAMU.

Panelist: Kristina Markman, University of California San Diego
Kristina Markman is the Assistant Director of Humanities at Revelle College, UCSD. She received her Ph.D. in medieval history from UCLA in 2015. Over the past eleven years, she has taught a wide range of students with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, including undergraduate students at UCSD, UCLA, LMU, and West LA Community College, high school students in LAUSD, and adult learners at San Diego Job Corps. She designed and led large lecture courses (90–300 students) and seminars (15–20 students) both in a traditional classroom environment and online. I have also developed composition courses and writing workshops intended to introduce students to discipline specific research and writing practices. As an early participant in UCLA's Career Diversity for Historians' pilot program, Kristina served as program coordinator for the "Public History Initiative and the National Center for History in the Schools" from 2017-18 for the History department.

Panelist: Jennifer McPherson, Purdue University
Jennifer McPherson, PhD, is Assistant Director of Residential Life at Purdue University. She received her PhD in U.S. Women's History from the University of New Mexico in 2017. Her research focuses on women’s political activism, community organizing, and parent-led educational organizations. From 2015 to 2017, McPherson served as the Program Coordinator for the AHA's Career Diversity for Historians pilot program at UNM. As coordinator, she developed cocurricular programs, professional development workshops, internship opportunities, and alumni-mentor outreach networks for the department. She was also served as the consulting advisor to UNM's NEH Next Generation PhD Implementation grant which focused on integrating Career Diversity across the humanities at UNM.

McPherson currently oversees and supervises a residential learning neighborhood of around 2,000 undergraduate students within Purdue's large residential campus of more than 14,000 students. In addition to overseeing the residential life function of the neighborhood, she supports the academic and operational needs of Residential Life, including the managing the Honors College and Residences and supervising the Executive-in-Residence, Faculty-in-Residence, and Women's Leadership Series programs for Purdue University Residences.

Panelist: Jordan Biro Walters, The College of Wooster
Jordan Biro Walters is an Assistant Professor of History at the College of Wooster and currently teaches the History of Sexuality, Public History, and LGBTQ+ History at Wooster. She received her History PhD from the University of New Mexico in 2015. Her research investigates the racial and heteronormative underpinnings of American citizenship, the relationship between mobility and queer identity formation, and the intersections of artistic and sexual freedom. She is also a public historian who specializes in digital, community, and oral history projects. As a recipient of UNM's Career Diversity for Historians Fellowship (2015), Biro Walters has worked to integrate Career Diversity's foundational skills into her undergraduate courses and public history projects to better prepare History majors for diverse and lifelong careers in the field.