Humanities Indicators
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Introduction to the 2017-18 Humanities Departmental Survey (HDS-3)

In September 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation made an award of $180,000 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to fund a survey of humanities departments in the United States. The project will be undertaken and published under the auspices of the Humanities Indicators, The Indicators contracted with the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics to collect and analyze the data.

The Indicators team first developed and fielded a survey of departments in select humanities disciplines in 2008, seeking to answer pressing questions about contingent faculty, gender balance, and other emerging challenges facing the field. A subsequent survey gauged the condition of departments in 2013. These surveys provided a glimpse into the effects of the Great Recession on humanities departments, as well as an overview of the size, demographics, and other characteristics of the humanities enterprise at four-year institutions.

The third iteration of the survey will examine the lingering effects of the recession and other recent trends in the 12 disciplines examined in the earlier surveys (art history; classical studies; communication; English; folklore; history; history of science; languages and literatures other than English; linguistics; musicology; philosophy; and religion), but expand to include three additional humanities disciplines (American studies, race and ethnicity studies, and women and gender studies) and a discipline closely aligned with the humanities, anthropology. Alongside recurring questions about the state of the field, the planned survey will explore present concerns in the field, such as programs to support diverse career options for graduate students, the presence of specialists in the digital humanities, and connections with community college faculty. (A separate survey on the state of the humanities in community colleges will be published later this year.)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was one of the earliest and most consistent supporters of the Humanities Indicators, and, alongside the National Endowment for the Humanities, has been instrumental in the development of the project since 2003. Inquiries about this project should be directed to Robert Townsend, Director of the Academy's Washington Office, at rtownsend@amacad.org.