Professionalization and Placement

students_at_starbucks_350Graduate student medievalists

The Medieval Institute prepares its graduates with the professional profile they need for eventual departmental employment while giving them the benefit of interdisciplinary methods, knowledge, and perspectives that traditional departmental programs do not provide.

Professional Development

Students in the Medieval Institute are encouraged to engage in the work of scholarship early and continuously in their academic careers. They attend conferences to present their research and often use papers conceived during course work as the basis for journal articles. Internal funding is available to facilitate conference paper presentations and research trips. Students have many opportunities to develop a substantial professional portfolio before formally entering the job market. 

While MI students are on campus, they enhance their professional networks through the numerous occasions they have to meet leading medievalists who come to campus for research visits, lectures, seminars, workshops, and conferences. Graduate students are welcome at all the Institute’s public academic events and every effort is made to provide them with one-to-one meeting time with distinguished scholars in their fields of interest. 

When senior students begin interviewing for faculty positions, they can obtain feedback and collegial critiques from faculty and peers through mock “job talks” or interviews. These exercises help them become familiar with the kinds of settings and questions they are likely to encounter from future colleagues and hiring committees.

The Institute for the Study of the Liberal Arts (ISLA) offers workshops in grant-writing and makes competitive funding available for student-initiated interdisciplinary workshop series. All Institute students must demonstrate their ability to seek research funds as part of their professional development. 

Students can also apply for internal grants from ISLA and the Hesburgh Library that allow them to work directly under the supervision of a subject librarian on informational projects related to specific library collections. 

Other units of the University provide fellowship funds for language training and pre- and postdoctoral research. Particularly noteworthy among these are the Center for the Study of Languages and Culture’s Summer Language Abroad (SLA) grants, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies’ grant programs, and funding resources offered by the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Union.

Most importantly, faculty advisors (including the director of the Medieval Institute) are crucial resources from whom students draw information, advice, and encouragement as they develop professional expertise.

Administratively, the Institute assists its job-hunting students by providing business cards, maintaining job application files for them, and sending out application packets when requested. The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning aids in professional development through its programs on writing cover letters, job search strategies, and interviewing for the academic job market.

The Career Center

The University’s Graduate Career Services serves the entire Notre Dame graduate student population and offers assistance with resume writing, cover letters, preparation of a curriculum vitae, and interviewing techniques. Students who are interested in finding employment outside of university teaching can work one-to-one with a counselor to explore options and develop successful presentation strategies.

Teaching Experience

Since most of the Institute’s graduates plan to pursue teaching positions, experience in the classroom and a solid grounding in pedagogy is vital. Each MI student gains experience as a teaching assistant (TA), working under the guidance of a faculty member. Usually, TAs lead their own weekly discussion sections for lecture classes. TA assignments go to second- and third-year students who are matched up appropriately with introductory-level undergraduate courses offered by the Medieval Institute or by another academic department.

For senior students, there are opportunities to teach classes independently as the “instructor of record.” Dissertating students can also seek out employment opportunities as adjunct instructors locally or elsewhere.

Pedagogical instruction is available (and required for TAs) through the Kaneb Center. The Center conducts workshops  on a variety of subjects:  grading student work, articulating learning objectives, writing a teaching statement, and technology applications for the classroom, etc.