Long Range Plan: Community

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The Community Pillar of the new Long Range Plan (LRP) calls upon NCPH to develop, engage, and connect a public history community. In reviewing feedback from both members and nonmembers, two central themes stood out: a desire for more programming beyond the Annual Meeting and opportunities for mentoring.

Though the Annual Meeting remains a critical piece of NCPH’s programming, not everyone is able to or wishes to attend in person. The LRP establishes a goal of having NCPH expand its programs throughout the year, both in person and online, through mini-cons, workshops, roundtables, affinity groups, and working groups disconnected from the Annual Meeting, with a suggested goal of having ten such events annually by 2028. We want to find opportunities where public historians can connect with one another formally and informally, whether online or in their region.

Faculty and students from GVSU at the 2018 mini-con

Faculty and students from Grand Valley State University at the 2018 NCPH Mini-Con Careers in Public History Symposium at IUPUI. Photo credit: Abigail R. Gautreau

The feedback we received also noted that these offerings should be open to nonmembers as well as members, at low or no cost, to increase access to NCPH communities. In order to facilitate this without further burdening our existing staff, the LRP recommends hiring a new staff member to develop supplementary programming. If you’d like to support this important work, please consider donating to the Annual Fund or Endowment!

An additional goal of the new LRP is to develop more robust mentorship opportunities for public historians at all stages of their careers. While expanded mentorship opportunities have been a point of discussion among a few NCPH committees, it has been difficult to figure out where such a program would live, who would organize and manage it, and how it could be maintained. This is a great example of why having a Long Range Plan matters. It creates a mechanism for transforming a general idea or suggestion into a concrete, measurable action. In the case of a mentoring program, the LRP has tasked specific committees with assessing and suggesting the requirements for implementing a mentoring program as part of the next Long Range Plan, so that whatever we eventually create will have the greatest chance of success and longevity.

Community is the first pillar of the Long Range Plan because it is the foundation of so much of what NCPH does to be a professional home for public historians. We hope that over the next five years, you will have more opportunities than ever to connect with your fellow public historians online and in person.

~Abigail R. Gautreau is co-chair of the Long Range Planning Committee and an associate professor of History at Grand Valley State University. She has taken refuge from Twitter on Bluesky, where you can find her @abbygateau.bsky.social.

~Will Stoutamire is co-chair of the Long Range Planning Committee and an associate professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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