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Applied Anthropology Skills Education and Training: Perspectives from the Fieldand the Workplace (COPAA

Panel Sponsored by the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA)

Society for Applied Anthropology Meeting, 2007


Tracy Tessman (Texas/Oklahoma AIDS Education and Training Centers at Parkland Hospital)


Panel presentation sponsored by the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA).  This panel featured students in the final stages of applied anthropology programs and who have recently graduated from such programs.  Panelists (1) discussed the adequacy of education and training for working as applied anthropologists, (2) discussed their careers outside of academia and which skills are most valuable and/or lacking, and (3) made suggestions for additional skills education and training in the classroom (i.e. courses on “Becoming a Professional”). 


Joan Tucker (U South Florida)
Iraida Carrion (U South Florida)
Liz Pulver (U Memphis)
Chad Morris (U Kentucky)
Travis Hedwig (U Kentucky)
Christine Miller (Wayne State)
Gene Luster (Braintrust Consulting)


The panelists for this session were a diverse group of students who were in the final stages of their doctoral degrees and others who had finished their master's degree and were working in the field. The students also had a variety of interests within applied anthropology and represented various universities. All of these factors resulted in an interesting and well-rounded discussion about the topics indicated in the abstract.

The session was well attended by both students and faculty. Each of the panelists discussed his or her own experience with graduate school based on the topics discussed and had many similar experiences. Many suggestions for both students and faculty in applied anthropology were put fourth by the panelists. For the second half, the session was opened to discussion with the audience and several of the topics were talked about further along with the addition of a few new topics. The critical points made are outlined below.

Critical Points

What students felt the strengths of their university’s applied programs were in preparing them for their practica and/or “real world” work.

What students felt they would have benefited from that they didn’t get from their programs

Advice students had for other students and faculty

Other topics that came up included a discussion of whether/how to better define applied anthropology as well as what students’ plans are for giving back to their program as alumni.

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Susan Hyatt
Co-Chair, COPAA
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Cavanaugh Hall 413
425 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202