Humanities Indicators
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Criteria for Tenure, Undergraduate Assessment, and Community Engagement: Additional Findings from the 2012–13 Humanities Departmental Survey

The degree-granting departments and programs studied in the Humanities Departmental Survey (HDS-2) were all at four-year colleges and universities.

Key findings:

  • Almost all humanities departments reported that their full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members had access to research support (through the institution or department), and two-thirds reported access to support for their full-time non-tenured or non-tenure-track faculty members.
  • Among the criteria examined as part of HDS-2, teaching was of greatest importance for tenure, with 78% of departments citing it as “essential” and another 18% describing it as “very important” (Figure 1). Publications were cited as “essential” by 54% of departments and as “very important” by another 18%.
  • In 28% of departments, service to the department or institution was an “essential” criterion for tenure. One percent of departments said the same of the public humanities (defined as making the humanities and/or humanities scholarship accessible to the general public).
  • The balance between teaching and research as criteria for tenure varied substantially by the type of institution and discipline. Among departments located in institutions classified as primarily undergraduate in the Carnegie Foundation classifications, 55% cited publications as essential or very important for tenure, compared to 98% of the departments at institutions classified as primarily research. In contrast, teaching was characterized as essential or very important by 98% of the humanities departments at undergraduate and comprehensive colleges and universities (Figure 2).
  • Among the eight disciplines in which the factors most important in tenure decisions did not differ greatly by Carnegie institution type, three reported that less than 70% of their departments considered publications essential or very important for tenure: English (63%), religion (65%), and philosophy (67%) (Figure 3). In three disciplines, over 10% of the departments indicated that public humanities was essential or very important to tenure: art history (15%), religion (13%), and communication (11%).
  • Humanities departments at primarily research universities were the least likely to conduct a learning outcomes assessment for all or some of the undergraduate students in their programs (Figure 4; a learning outcomes assessment involves examining the results from a given cohort of students in an attempt to examine the effectiveness of a department’s program). Twenty-eight percent of the departments at such institutions did not conduct these assessments, compared with less than 15% of the departments at primarily undergraduate and comprehensive institutions.
  • Overall, 85% of the departments indicated that they administered a learning outcomes assessment to some proportion of their undergraduate majors, with 80% assessing all of their majors (Figure 5). In history of science, linguistics, folklore, and musicology, smaller disciplines whose departments were principally located in research universities, 40% or more of the departments conducted no department-wide outcomes assessment.
  • In just under half of humanities departments faculty members, staff, or students participated in community service endeavors involving primary and/or secondary schools (Figure 6). A similar share of departments reported service to state humanities councils and/or community organizations. Language and literature programs were the most likely to be engaged with elementary and secondary schools, with almost 70% of the English departments and 62% of the departments in languages and literatures other than English reporting such activity.
  • Departments in folklore were the most likely to be engaged with state humanities councils and/or community organizations, with 77% of the departments reporting that their faculty, staff, or students worked with such groups. Over 60% of the departments in art history, history, and history of science also reported engagement with these types of organizations.

Tables

Considerations in Tenure Decision Made by Humanities Departments (All Disciplines Combined), by Institutional Type

Availability of Institutional or Departmental Support for Research from Humanities Departments (All Disciplines Combined)

Assessment of Overall Undergraduate Student Learning by Discipline

Assessment of Overall Undergraduate Student Learning by Carnegie Classification and Form of Control

Service to the Community

Departments Ceasing to Grant Degrees at Some Level (Fall 2007–Fall 2012), by Carnegie Classification and Form of Control

Departments with Language Requirements for Doctoral Degree, by Carnegie Classification and Form of Control

HDS2-Oth1: Percentage of Humanities Departments in Which Selected Tenure Criteria Are of Various Degrees of Importance, Fall 2012

*For the purposes of HDS-2, the “public humanities” was defined as making the humanities and/or humanities scholarship accessible to the general public.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 7, p. 14 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.

HDS2-Oth2: Percentage of Humanities Departments Indicating Activity Is an “Essential” or “Very Important” Consideration in Tenure Decisions, by Discipline, Fall 2012

*For the purposes of HDS-2, the “public humanities” was defined as making the humanities and/or humanities scholarship accessible to the general public.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 7, p. 14 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.

HDS2-Oth3: Percentage of Humanities Departments in Which Activity Is an “Essential” or “Very Important” Consideration in Tenure Decisions, by Discipline, Fall 2012

* Includes research, scholarship, and creative work.
** For the purposes of HDS-2, the “public humanities” was defined as making the humanities and/or humanities scholarship accessible to the general public.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 13 in each discpline profile (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.

HDS2-Oth4: Percentage of Humanities Departments That Conduct an Undergraduate Learning Outcomes Assessment,* by Scope of Assessment and Carnegie Classification, Fall 2012

* An aggregate evaluation involving the measurement of the learning outcomes of a given cohort of students in an attempt to gauge the effectiveness of a program. The bars for each discipline will not necessarily sum to 100%, because departments could indicate they had conducted assessments based on more than one group of students. See disciplinary tables for specific totals.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 13, p. 21 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.

HDS2-Oth5: Percentage of Humanities Departments That Conduct an Undergraduate Learning Outcomes Assessment,* by Scope of Assessment and Discipline, Fall 2012

* An aggregate evaluation involving the measurement of the learning outcomes of a given cohort of students in an attempt to gauge the effectiveness of a program. The bars for each discipline will not necessarily sum to 100%, because departments could also indicate they had conducted assessments of some other group of students. See disciplinary tables for specific totals.
** A combined department is one that grants degrees in English and also in languages and literatures other than English.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 12, p. 21 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.

HDS2-Oth6: Percentage of Humanities Departments Engaged in Service to the Community, by Type of Service and Discipline, Academic Year 2011–12

* A combined department is one that grants degrees in English and also in languages and literatures other than English.

Source: Susan White, Raymond Chu, and Roman Czujko,  The 2012–13 Survey of Humanities Departments at Four-Year Institutions, Table 22, p. 31 (College Park, MD: Statistical Research Center, American Institute of Physics, 2014). Study conducted for the American Academy of Arts Sciences’ Humanities Indicators Project.