I come to this distinguished readership begging for inputs and advice.
I was recently appointed as a board member of a professional association (for the history of economics) in representation of the interests and needs of its younger members. Though obviously the young members of that association could have shown much better judgment, now it is too late for correcting that failure, and I need to take action in the pursuit of their/our interests.
So, what are the needs and interests of young historians of economics? When I think of it, I often feel that what I need most is to be listened to and taken seriously. And this is precisely what I intend to do first: listen to the requests and proposals of the young members and take them very seriously. But, however noble such attitude may sound, there are many more and far more practical tasks to be attended to.
In my first round of proposals, I suggested to:
* set up the association’s blog – need I refer to the main source of inspiration for that idea?
* organize professional training workshops for the young – to openly deal with questions such as “how to referee a scholarly paper” or “how to prepare a class/course”. These are central professional skills for academics, and yet we only learn them indirectly, by imitation and trial-and-error, but I believe we could make use of direct instructions as well.
* start a regular newsletter with job openings, conferences, and such useful information – requested by another young member of the association.
* get the working paper series started – I proposed it a few years ago, it’s been launched, but has been lying dormant ever since.
* find some publication outlets for the best papers presented at the annual conference by the young members. (We also thought about prizes – as in monetary prizes – for the best papers and dissertations, but this will ultimately depend on the health of the association’s wallet.)
* expand the association’s network, both nationally and internationally: more exciting colleagues plus more exciting papers equals more fun… ehm, I mean, professional growth – suggested by a senior board member.
As for you, dear readers of this blog, what do you think a professional association could/should do for its younger members?