“We simply cannot proclaim the fundamental necessity of humanistic thinking to a thriving democracy, to a rich and rewarding life, to a fuller understanding of our present circumstances, and then turn around and insist that the most highly-trained humanists are only fit for one professional context."   – CGS, Summary of Prior Work in Humanities PhD Professional Development (2017), 13.


Humanities Engage fosters a culture change in how arts and humanities departments, faculty, and doctoral students in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences envisage the broader importance of humanities Ph.D.s and the societal impact of humanistic training. With generous support from the Mellon Foundation, this project builds on the Mellon-funded Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh and an NEH Next Gen Humanities PhD Planning Grant (2018/19). 

To make the full spectrum of postdoctoral humanistic careers visible, valued, and viable, we are committed to 

  • understanding Ph.D. students’ career objectives and the actual career outcomes of doctoral alumni
  • supporting all doctoral students as they continuously evaluate their educational and professional goals, skills, and needs, and pursue flexible pathways toward timely completion of degrees
  • emphasizing the overlaps between superb preparation for humanists’ careers within and beyond academia
  • improving the quality of postdoctoral outcomes across sectors as well as increasing completion rates of diverse cohorts.

As we train the next generation of scholar-teacher-leaders within and beyond the classroom and academy,  we seek to make the humanities more fully integral to tackling the complex challenges facing an interconnected yet divided world.

Funding through the Mellon grant will support the design and implementation of discipline-based and interdisciplinary curricular changes across humanities doctoral programs, an ambitious immersive fellowship program across non-profit, public, and corporate sectors, and a new position of Senior Director of Graduate Advising and Engagement as part of modernizing the culture of doctoral advising and mentoring.

For further background on this grant, our Next Gen vision, and further details on our plans for 2020–23, see also our NEH Next Gen White Paper.