From the AHA Activities column in the September 2000 Perspectives
The Mission of the AHA's Task Force on Graduate Education
AHA Staff, September 2000
Editor's Note: With the formation of a similarly named but distinct Committee on Graduate Education, it seemed particularly important to remind members about the mission and activities of the ongoing Task Force on Graduate Education. The members of the task force drafted this summary of their activities and goals.
A Task Force on the Role of Graduate Students in the AHA was established in January 1995 by Council. Its charge was to review the role of graduate students in the AHA and to recommend strategies for fostering a more positive and mutually beneficial relationship. The name was changed to Task Force on Graduate Education (TFGE) with Council's approval in 1998. In May 1999, Council reauthorized the task force for another three years.
The Task Force meets twice yearly by conference call. Once during the chair's three-year term, the committee meets in Washington, D.C. Members of the task force who serve a three-year term include the graduate student Council representative as chair (currently Lillian Guerra), the graduate student representatives of the Committee on Women Historians (Susan Pearson) and the Committee on Minority Historians (Theresa Mah), a representative from the Professional Division (Allan Isaacman), and two at-large graduate student members (currently, Alison Pion and Ernest Simmons) appointed by the Committee on Committees.
- To serve as a point of contact for graduate student members so that they may be empowered to articulate their concerns and interests to the larger membership and governing bodies of the AHA.
- To advocate for the inclusion of graduate students as vital participants in debates that concern the course of the profession and the practice of history.
- To support the rights of graduate student teachers who seek to improve the circumstances of their work environment at their respective institutions.
- To work with other committees and divisions of the AHA in order to facilitate their understanding of the changing needs of graduate students and to help them carry out any programs they may develop that directly or indirectly affect graduate education.
- Develop annual meeting sessions on topics of immediate concern to graduate students.
- Solicit articles for Perspectives on topics of immediate concern to graduate students.
- Publish an annual letter of introduction to the graduate student membership via electronic mail promoting ongoing dialogue with students regarding their concerns and feedback.
- Sponsor a graduate student forum and reception at the AHA annual meeting.
- Present concerns voiced at the graduate student forum to the Council and divisions of the AHA.
- Recommend graduate students to the Committee on Committees for appointive positions.