AHA, OAH, and NCPH endorse new guidelines for tenure





Three national groups of historians -- the American Historical Association, the National Council on Public History and the Organization of American Historians -- have now all endorsed guidelines that suggest a new, broader approach to tenure when considering public historians. The joint guidelines are part of a growing movement in disciplines that have tended to base tenure decisions on traditional forms of scholarship (in this case the monograph) to broaden the way they judge contributions to a field.

Public historians conduct history research and promote history in museums, parks, schools, nonprofit groups and elsewhere -- designing exhibits, overseeing archives and developing educational programs, all based on scholarship, but for a broader audience than scholars. As more history departments have created public history programs (in part because it is considered a growth area in which historians may find jobs), they have hired more public historians -- often creating tension over how to evaluate them.

History departments' public historians have their work in the field ignored while they are evaluated through a "tenure process that emphasizes single-authored monographs and articles at the expense of other types of scholarly productions," according to a report prepared by a committee created by the three history associations. "Often the lone public historian in a department, the public historian on the faculty frequently must serve two masters, publishing a monograph to ensure favorable evaluation of the tenure application while remaining active in the field, or find some other way to reconcile traditional tenure expectations within public history work."...



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