All posts by Anne Whisnant

About Anne Whisnant


Altacs in Academe: Theory and Practice

BethmanHeadshotThree Conversations with Dr. Brenda Bethman
April 9-10, 2015

Sponsored by the Altacs in Academe Carolina Seminar, UNC-Chapel Hill


Public Lecture:  What Is the Future of #Altac?

Thursday, April 9, 2015
5:00-6:30 p.m.
Institute for Arts and Humanities, Hyde Hall Incubator

With full-time, tenure-track jobs increasingly scarce, more Ph.D.’s are going into #altac (alternative academic) positions. As a result, altac professionals are becoming essential personnel upon whom universities and faculty rely; however, it is not always clear what the role of Ph.D.-credentialed #altac staff is (or should be) within the university and what value they bring to the research and teaching missions of the university. This talk will examine the role of #altac staff and suggest strategies for how universities can better understand the contributions of this cohort and support them.

Preparing Graduate Students for the Changing Employment Landscape
An informal faculty conversation with Dr. Brenda Bethman

Friday, April 10, 2015
10:10-11:30 a.m.
Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall (Room 223)

The Alternative Academic Careers for PhDs Carolina Seminar invites all faculty members—and especially directors of graduate studies and placement directors—to join us for an informal dialogue and conversation about graduate student career preparation with Dr. Brenda Bethman. This event will focus on how faculty and directors of graduate studies and departments can better support students with professional development experiences that are responsive to the realities of the post-PhD job market.

Please RSVP to if you plan to attend.

Altac Careers: Future Proofing Your Ph.D.
A workshop for graduate students

Friday, April 10, 2015
1:00-3:00 p.m.
Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall (Room 223)

This highly interactive session provides concrete and immediate assistance for graduate students in any discipline who want to be better prepared to land a job that is both fulfilling and full-time without leaving the academy. Dr. Bethman will discuss how participants can think about their Ph.D. training in ways that prepare them for a broad range of jobs within the larger university environment. Registration is required and capped at 60. Please register at: For more information, contact Charlotte Fryar ( or Sertanya Reddy (

These events are supported by the Carolina Seminars Program. The Graduate School’s Leadership Development Scholars Program has provided additional funding. The Altacs in Academe Carolina Seminar is co-convened by Dr. Anne Mitchell Whisnant and Dr. Donna Bickford.

Questions? Contact Anne Mitchell Whisnant <> or Donna Bickford <>.

About Dr. Brenda Bethman

Dr. Brenda Bethman has been working in higher education since 1993, when she began studying for a master’s degree in German literature at Temple University. Originally she went to graduate school with the intention of becoming a faculty member and headed off to UMass Amherst for a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies. Along the way, she started working as a conference and grant coordinator for the DEFA Film Library and discovered that while she liked teaching and researching, she was clearly born to work in administration. Dr. Bethman has been the Director of the UMKC Women’s Center since January 2007. In addition, she serves as Acting Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, and teaches for the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Honors Program.

Dr. Bethman is the co-founder of Alt/Academix, a consulting firm that provides workshops and individual consultations to help graduate students and PhDs make themselves marketable for academic administrative positions.  She has presented and published on #altac careers, social media, assessment, women’s leadership, women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She is the author of “Obscene Fantasies”: Generic Perversions in Elfriede Jelinek, published in Peter Lang’s Austrian Culture Series. She is also the co-founder and co-editor of the Student Affairs Women Talk Tech blog, and one of the founding members of the #femlead Twitter chat. She holds a B.A. in German Literature from Dickinson College, an M.A. in German Literature from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from UMass Amherst.