Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Postsecondary Humanities Faculty
 
Number of Faculty Members in Humanities Disciplines
(Updated June 2016)

The number of faculty members employed in each humanities discipline varies substantially. Although all disciplines have seen substantial increases in their faculty numbers since the turn of the century, from 2013 to 2015 (the most recent years for which estimates were available) nearly every discipline experienced either minimal growth or a slight decline in its number of faculty members.

Findings and Trends

  • According to estimates prepared by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from its sample surveys of business establishments, the discipline of English language and literature had the largest number of humanities faculty at colleges and universities in 2015 (73,870), nearly three times the number of those teaching languages and literatures other than English (LOTE; 27,120) or history (23,650), the fields with the next two highest numbers of faculty (Indicator III-9g).
  • The number of faculty members in each humanities discipline increased substantially at colleges and universities from 1999 to 2015. History experienced the lowest level of faculty growth in the humanities, but still increased 40%. The greatest percentage increase occurred in the category of area, ethnic, and cultural studies, which increased 208% (albeit from a faculty size that was much smaller than in the other disciplines). From 2013 to 2015, however, the number of faculty in this discipline fell 5%, while the estimated number of faculty in the other disciplines grew slightly.
  • In 2015, the number of faculty members teaching English language and literature at two-year colleges (30,430) was substantially larger than the number in all of the other humanities disciplines combined (16,460; Indicator III-9h).[1] The number of faculty in each of the humanities disciplines increased by 35% or more at these institutions from 2002 to 2015. English had the largest numerical increase (growing by 7,920 faculty) but also the lowest percentage growth from the 2002 level. From 2013 to 2015, most disciplines experienced decline or only a slight increase in faculty numbers. The exception was LOTE, which saw an increase of 8%.
  • In 2015 teachers of English language and literature were the largest group of humanities faculty members at four-year institutions (with an estimated 43,440 teachers), more than twice as large as each of the next two largest disciplines (philosophy and religion, with 21,020; and LOTE, with 20,550; Indicator III-9i). The number of faculty in each of the humanities disciplines at four-year colleges and universities increased by at least 34% from 2002 to 2015. The least percentage growth occurred in history (though the discipline still expanded from 13,020 to 17,500 faculty). From 2013 to 2015, each discipline experienced a modest increase (e.g., 3% for LOTE) or a modest decrease, the most pronounced of which was the 4% decline in the number of faculty teaching area, ethnic, and cultural studies.
III-9g: Numbers of Postsecondary Faculty Employed in Humanities Disciplines at Two- and Four-Year Colleges and Universities, 1999–2015*

* For the purposes of the Humanities Indicators, a faculty member is defined as an employee of a two-year or four-year college or a university who teaches credit-earning courses and who may also perform research activities. Faculty thus include not only individuals who have faculty status in their institutions but also those who are classified as instructional staff by their employers. Faculty exclude those individuals whose duties are purely research-oriented (even though such individuals may be classified as faculty by their institutions).

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, Employment and Wage Estimates (data downloaded from http://www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm#data).

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III-9h: Numbers of Postsecondary Faculty Employed in Humanities Disciplines at Two-Year Colleges, 2002–2015*

* For the purposes of the Humanities Indicators, a faculty member is defined as an employee of a two-year or four-year college or a university who teaches credit-earning courses and who may also perform research activities. Faculty thus include not only individuals who have faculty status in their institutions but also those who are classified as instructional staff by their employers. Faculty exclude those individuals whose duties are purely research-oriented (even though such individuals may be classified as faculty by their institutions).

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, Employment and Wage Estimates (data downloaded from http://www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm#data).

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/III-9h.xls../cmsData/ppt/III-9h.ppt../cmsData/pdf/III-9h.pdf
III-9i: Numbers of Postsecondary Faculty Employed in Humanities Disciplines at Four-Year Colleges and Universities, 2002–2015*

* For the purposes of the Humanities Indicators, a faculty member is defined as an employee of a two-year or four-year college or a university who teaches credit-earning courses and who may also perform research activities. Faculty thus include not only individuals who have faculty status in their institutions but also those who are classified as instructional staff by their employers. Faculty exclude those individuals whose duties are purely research-oriented (even though such individuals may be classified as faculty by their institutions).

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, Employment and Wage Estimates (data downloaded from http://www.bls.gov/oes/home.htm#data).

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/III-9i.xls../cmsData/ppt/III-9i.ppt../cmsData/pdf/III-9i.pdf

Endnotes

[1] The BLS data are separable by type of institution starting only in 2002.