How historians may become businesspeople

Just as more and more journalists have had to become “entrepreneurs” who market their work and keep an eye on the number of reader clicks they generate, so too must professors, it seems.

Inside Higher Ed reports on how history instructors may indeed have to adopt the very business mentality they resent:

One solution to the growing tension between academic and business interests … was for historians and other academics to use the tools of business to their advantage. These tools may take the form of marketing. Boosting interest in the subject among the general public — from those interested in learning more about the historical and political moment in which the country finds itself to those charting their own genealogy — can eventually increase demand for historians and their work. …

Scholars could also co-opt business techniques by learning the tactics. Mulford advised historians and others to learn the language of negotiation so that department heads can more effectively bring resources into their programs. One place to start, as the discussion on the ranking and assessment panel revealed, was to use business’s analytical tools to measure productivity, teaching effectiveness, and facets of their work that matter to the academics.

“Unless we come up with a way” to measure, said Gilfoyle, “someone else — dare I say a bean-counter — will do it.”