Jordan M. Reed, Ph.D., earned his bachelor’s degree from Cazenovia in Social Sciences in 2012. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in history and culture from Drew University, where he was a Caspersen School Fellow, and stayed there to obtain his doctorate in the same field in 2019. He went on to a career as an Upper School History Teacher at Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey.
He recently published his first book, The Reimagined PhD: Navigating 21st Century Humanities Education, which was edited in conjunction with Leanne M. Horinko and James M. Van Wyck. It provides a series of essays focused on the various ways doctoral education might be altered to provide a range of skills and expertise that Ph.D. candidates can apply to an array of career options much wider than roles in teaching. The book discusses multiple career paths open to Ph.D. students, while providing practical advice geared to help students, faculty, and administrators incorporate professional skills into graduate training to build career networks and prepare Ph.D.s for a variety of career options.
Here, Jordan catches us up with what he’s being doing.
What prompted you to write on this subject? Why did you think this topic is relevant now?
The idea for this book started as a conference, Crossroads: The Future of Graduate History Education, at Drew University. That conference was organized to acknowledge that the faculty job market for history Ph.D.s isn't what it used to be and to explore opportunities for the future of graduate school curriculum and professional development for students.
As authors we firmly believe that history Ph.D.s and really, Ph.D.s in any discipline, have a tremendous amount to offer to the professional world beyond the professoriate. History Ph.D.s in particular have deep subject knowledge that can provide context to a wide variety of issues apparent in today’s society. For instance, I can see a future where historians provide essential expertise in business, non-profit work, and really in any field. Professor John Robert Greene's graduates in history and social science at Cazenovia College are great examples of this work. In many ways, The Reimagined PhD envisions how that concept could work for graduate-level study.
What would someone reading this book be able to expect to gain from your research and conclusions?
The book was conceived as a way to bring graduate students, faculty, and administrators to discuss best practices for reimagining the Ph.D. academic path at the local institutional level so that it makes a wide impact. We hope that what our chapter contributors offered in the book offers a starting point for those discussions. For me personally as an editor, I hope our readers come away with a sense of hope and purpose for the future of graduate education.
How did you decide to undertake a Ph.D. educational path yourself?
I have to credit Cazenovia College Professor John Robert Greene with planting that seed early on in my time at Caz. He's a wonderful advocate for the power of graduate education, and not just in the field of history.
What do you recall about your time here at Cazenovia that was especially meaningful, impactful, or gratifying?
As I move throughout my professional life, I've frequently reflected on just how formative the Cazenovia College experience was for me. From Bob Greene, I saw an ideal example of a teacher-scholar that has informed much of my own teaching to this point in my career. But, I also learned quite a bit about how much community matters at any institution. Caz is a special place and I have fond memories of walking with friends from Hubbard Hall to the Witherill Library to find some quiet corner to write and study. I do, however, regret wearing slippers on many of those icy walks. The proximity of everything on the Caz campus did not always encourage the best footwear choices.
What would you like people to know about you, your time since Cazenovia, or your current/future plans?
I think it is important to emphasize that a variety of professional experience is quite valuable. Before working on my Ph.D., I worked in political opposition research and then corporate marketing. Those experiences informed my academic life greatly. I do think that one of the College’s great strengths is finding a way to blend academics with real-world utility.
My academic expertise is in the history of education, particularly textbooks. Now that The Reimagined PhD is behind me, I hope to look more at the history of K-12 teaching and where the textbook fits into teaching practice.