Despite the amount of discussion that alternative academics, or alt-ac, has generated recently, much of it has been speculative or anecdotal. Now, Katina Rogers, Senior Research Specialist the University of Virginia’s Scholarly Communication Institute, discusses the findings of her research over the past year on alt-ac employees and employers. The study looked at “perceptions of career preparation among humanities scholars” in order “to determine a baseline from which to make specific recommendations for curricular changes.” One of the key findings of the study is that:
… low tenure-track employment rates are not a new problem, but as the survey responses show, departments by and large are not succeeding at providing accurate and realistic information to their students, and many graduates still feel stigmatized when they pursue different types of careers.
As with any good discussion of a problem, there is a useful solution proposed. In this case, Rogers discusses the Praxis Network, which currently includes undergraduate and graduate humanities initiatives at seven institutions. These initiatives “can be thought of as one possible response to the question of how to equip emerging scholars for a range of career outcomes without sacrificing the core values or methodologies of the humanities, and without increasing time-to-degree.”