Graduate College

Connected Academics

Arizona State University is one of three partner institutions, including Georgetown University and the University of California Humanities Research Institute, in the United States to have been awarded a grant from the Modern Language Association and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Connected Academics: Preparing Doctoral Students of Language and Literature for a Variety of Careers.

ASU’s plan for the project is an ambitious set of innovations to traditional graduate training in languages and literature. It augments curricula, expands para-curricular programming (including internship opportunities), and sharpens the process of mentoring.

The overall goal is to accelerate and enrich the experience of earning a doctoral degree in languages and literature. It is not meant to impose impossible deadlines, nor to skimp on depth and quality of training, but rather to reimagine the range of possible skills that can be meaningfully incorporated into humanities graduate training and then to facilitate a broader array of outcomes suggested by that training.

At this session at the 2017 MLA Convention, a graduate deans and graduate policy experts discussed the possibilities and problems of innovating in humanities graduate training.

See the highlights


Augments curricula

  • students create five-year graduation plans
  • establishment of a humanities project fund – supports innovative and applied research projects
  • interdisciplinary digital humanities seminar series
  • three new graduate certificates
    • digital humanities
    • teaching in higher education (pending)
    • social sciences methodologies

Para-curricular programming

  • innovated experience and internship opportunities
  • facilitation by the Connected Academics Research Fellow


  • entrepreneurial mentoring opportunities (Edson Project)
  • faculty champions
  • early communication with faculty advisors
  • individual development plan 
  • digital portfolios

Connected academic graduate fellow

Connected Academics Research Fellow

2016-2017 Connected Academics Research Fellow: José Gómez

José is a PhD student in Spanish letters and cultures at ASU. In a form of a dissertation project, José is researching spatial in/justices in Chicano/a drama. His particular interests are topics of space and place, contact zones, intersectionality, and cultural negotiation through spatial practices within Spanish letters and cultures. José holds a BA in Chicana/o Studies (minor in Spanish) and an MA in Spanish language and literature from California State University, Northridge. In addition to a solid academic and research experience, José complements the Connected Academics team with a unique critical perspective and well-rounded professionalism.

José will work as part of a team that includes partners in the Graduate College, the Department of English and the School of International Letters and Cultures, at times taking leadership over a range of activities related to the MLA/Mellon Connected Academics grant. Above all, he will be assisting fellow graduate students to find meaningful and appropriate internships across a range of academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and businesses outside of the academy.

Please join us in a warm welcome to José!

Past Connected Academics Research Fellows

2015-2016 Connected Academics Research Fellow: Shannon Lujan

Shannon is a PhD Candidate in English at ASU. She studies contemporary multi-ethnic American literature and is particularly interested in the connection between walking, storytelling, place, and memory. Her research focuses largely on acts of walking as social, political, and personal agents of change and identity markers. She holds a BS in English Literature (minor in History) and an MA with an emphasis in migration from Eastern New Mexico University; Shannon also brings an unusually high level of professional and research experience to the position.