[wysiwyg_field contenteditable="false" wf_deltas="0" wf_field="field_article_images" wf_formatter="image" wf_settings-image_link="" wf_settings-image_style="" wf_cache="1363363057" wf_entity_id="4917" wf_entity_type="node"]

Welcome to the latest issue of Tableau, the first to be published exclusively in electronic format. This is a big change for our biannual newsletter and symptomatic of the change that is going on throughout the humanistic enterprise. Scholars are working in “new media” and “digital media,” using tools and forging collaborations across disciplines unimagined a decade ago, and creating pioneering and exciting work in the process. But as we fully enter this exciting new world that tempts us to be creative and bold, we are faced with an economic climate that is leading many to be cautious and safe. As individual scholars, we are asking how far and how fast we can push the boundaries of our established disciplines and fields. As an institution we are also asking whether we should retrench and hunker down, or whether we should seize every opportunity to grow ever more vital. At Chicago and in the Humanities Division, we are resisting the impulse to play it safe, as other institutions have done; we are instead moving aggressively to keep—indeed, to expand—our faculty, to recruit the best graduate students, and to foster innovative scholarship.

This issue of Tableau has a sober article about the job opportunities for recent PhDs in the Humanities as institutions of higher education slow or halt their hiring cycles, graduates are faced with diminishing prospects. Even the most attractive candidates, rocketing out of prestigious programs with specializations in marketable fields, are still faced with the difficult task of finding their best programmatic match among the limited openings at wildly different institutions.

Yet there is also an exciting article about the plans for strategically investing in the faculty here at Chicago—in direct defiance of the larger trend. And in addition to the University-wide faculty-investment initiative, the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions are bringing in several New Faculty Fellows, thanks to the innovation and foresight of the American Council of Learned Societies. These Fellows will provide valuable teaching and will make significant contributions to the intellectual culture of the divisions while enriching their own scholarly careers and future prospects.

As a dean, I am gratified to be at a university that has elected to face the economic crisis head-on and continues to make investment in faculty a top priority. I am optimistic about the trajectory of the Humanities Division: we have a vibrant, robust faculty, and we are working to ensure that they have the resources they need to produce their best work. It is with this vision in mind that I welcome you to the “new media” version of Tableau, and I invite you to share in our vision for the future of the humanities at Chicago.

Sincerely yours,

Martha T. Roth

Martha T. Roth
Dean of the Division of the Humanities