I just thought of an issue concerning DH and mentoring today while preparing for meeting with a new adjunct who hasn’t used Blackboard before.
My job has several different duties, and DH is only one part of it.
Heck, I was hired in 2004, either before the field really existed or, at least, when it was in its infancy. I was hired for my Instructional Tech skills and my background in language learning.
Even now, very few jobs are explicitly DH. Instead it’s either a part of the job or not mentioned in the job description at all. Honestly, I think that most of us won’t be working a straight up DH job. We’ll be taking the skills that we learn in this program and apply them to our field(s).
This can make mentoring difficult because the people in charge, and therefore, the people likely to mentor us, don’t have a solid grasp on DH as a field or how it can be applied across the Humanities in general.
Even if, say, you were hired in a department that already had a DH specialist, they still might not be able to help you as much as either of you would like.
Take the Humanities Department where I work for instance. We have ten (soon to be eleven) different majors. I am Communication Studies and Linguistics. I don’t know how useful my experience would be to a DH specialist in Philosophy or Art History. We would approach things from very different (and all completely valid) angles, and, therefore, have different expectations of what DH can do.
From an administrative standpoint, I’d be happy to help them, but from a strictly DH standpoint, I am not sure about how much help I’d be.