Joining AJHA – 10 Reasons Doing So Matters to Grad Students and New Faculty

26 Jan 2017 7:59 PM | Dane Claussen (Administrator)

By Candi Carter Olsen, Katherine Edenborg, Will Mari and the membership committee 

AJHA fulfills a unique role for many of us, encouraging our ongoing and future research, supporting our teaching and generally connecting us to each other across campuses (and associations!). We have strong ties to AEJMC’s and ICA’s History Divisions. 

But in order to grow and remain strong, we need to recruit and retain graduate students and junior faculty in journalism, media studies and communication departments across the country and world. 

Here’s a list of the top 10 reasons you can give to someone who might be interested in joining AJHA:

1) Getting early-stage graduate students to older colleagues offers immense opportunities for emotional and mental support during the long dissertation stage. Media history is hard. It involves deep dives into primary sources, balancing expectations from committee members who might have backgrounds as diverse as traditional history, sociology, communication studies and journalism, and teaching. 

Getting to know older members and hearing their hard-earned words of wisdom can go a long way toward helping students succeed and start healthy careers. In Will Mari’s case, meeting and being mentored by folks like Jim McPherson and Betty Winfield helped get him across the finish line in May 2016 with his dissertation 

2) Connections with fellow graduate students, newer faculty and more established faculty can lead directly to great new ideas for teaching and course development. 

3) Meeting other media-history scholars can spark collaboration across continents and disciplines. Need help tackling a long-term project? AJHA might be just the place to get pointers for how to make the best use of archives and other sources. 

4) AJHA helps you get a foothold in the academic world, experiencing the norms and give-and-take of a conference, and learn how to make the most of feedback from peers. 

5) Presenting at AJHA looks good on a younger scholar’s CV

6) AJHA’s practice of only holding two sessions at a time means participants have an audience of engaged peers and senior scholars at their session, no matter what time it’s held. 

7) AJHA’s history tour provides participants with an opportunity to learn about new places while also relaxing with fellow scholars.

8) Feedback that you get at AJHA can help presenters move an article to publication, which helps graduate students get competitive jobs. 

9) AJHA has several committees that provide graduate students with an opportunity to get involved, network with other scholars, and put a national service line on their CV. AJHA’s size means that there are several opportunities to participate in various roles.

10) On a less serious note, the food at AJHA is amazing. The conference organizers always make sure that attendees are well-fed and caffeinated throughout the day. Food is an important draw for both grad students and fulltime faculty. 

Please ask a grad student in your life, or a colleague in your department, or allied department, to consider visiting AJHA’s next conference and then joining it. It’s up to all of us to find great new colleagues for the future of our fine organization. Let’s get to it! 

If you have questions or suggestions for the membership committee, please email Kate at edenborgk@uwstout.edu, Candi at candi.carterolson@usu.edu or Will Mari at william.mari@northwestu.edu


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