Research and publication plays a central role in professional development, and the Department of History provides a structure and support for development of the vision, research, and writing skills necessary for becoming a research-active historian. The first year of study includes a required research seminar in the spring semester that is intended as an introduction to research and writing, as well as a First-Year Research Conference at the end of the spring semester in which all first-year students participate. Summer support after the first and second years of study is partly intended to support revision of research papers for publication.
The Department of History also encourages graduate students to present research papers at professional conferences and supports one or two of these opportunities financially through grants from the student-led Union of Graduate Historians. The Graduate Student Union also provides partial reimbursement for students making conference presentations.
The Department offers annual awards for outstanding research and writing, including prizes for the best article accepted for publication in a refereed journal, the best research paper not yet published, and for the best dissertation defended during the previous year.
“The Historical Profession” is a three-credit course required of all graduate students in the first semester of their second year of study. It provides support and instruction for beginning teaching assistants and an introduction to an array of professional issues that both include and transcend teaching. All second- and third-year students should expect to serve as leaders of discussion sections in courses taught by faculty members in history. Our normal TA load is two discussion sections for the same course in any one semester, with responsibility for a maximum of thirty undergraduates (fifteen in each section).
The Department of History also attempts to provide advanced students in residence to teach their own course once prior to defense of their dissertation. This may be during the summer or academic year and is based on a proposed syllabus submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for consideration by her/him and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The Kaneb Center serves as a resource for faculty and teaching assistants, and offers individual consultation and workshops. Kaneb staff members provide pedagogical advice and instruction on teaching technologies.