Humanities Indicators
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Faculty Teaching Humanities Courses at Community Colleges

Another goal of the study was to determine how many faculty teach the humanities at community colleges. The survey could not provide details about the demographics and employment status of faculty (for reasons discussed above under “Background Development”), but it does supply their number for the humanities field as a whole and in four of the largest disciplines. As with students, we requested that colleges supply unduplicated counts.

Key findings:

  • Approximately 70,000 faculty taught at least one college-level humanities course for credit at community colleges in the fall of 2015 (Figure 5).
  • More than half of the faculty teaching humanities courses in community colleges (approximately 37,000) taught English courses.[1] About 14,200 to 14,900—or approximately 21% of faculty teaching humanities courses—taught history. Over 11,000 faculty taught LOTE courses, and approximately 5,000 taught courses in philosophy. In the vicinity of 20,000 humanities faculty, somewhat less than a third, taught general humanities courses or courses in another humanities discipline. The estimate for all faculty teaching humanities courses is less than the sum of the number of faculty teaching in each discipline, which indicates that some humanities faculty teach courses in more than one humanities discipline.
  • Faculty teaching humanities courses represented approximately 20% of all community college faculty (Figure 6). Faculty teaching English accounted for about 10% of the total faculty population. Faculty percentages for each of the other disciplines examined here ranged from approximately 1% to 4%. Between 5% and 6% of all faculty taught general humanities survey courses or courses in unspecified humanities disciplines.
  • The student-faculty ratio for courses in the humanities was 40:1, as compared to 20:1 overall at community colleges (when courses in vocational and nonhumanities subjects are included; Figure 7). Philosophy appeared to have the highest student-faculty ratio among the humanities disciplines examined here, with approximately 50 students for each faculty member. The lowest ratio among the humanities disciplines, approximately 26 students per faculty member, was found in LOTE.

Tables

CC_Fig5: Community College Faculty Teaching Humanities Courses, by Discipline, Fall 2015

The middle bar depicts the estimated count, and the upper and lower bars depict the range of uncertainty.

* Includes: 1) survey courses entitled “Humanities”; and 2) courses coded in colleges’ information systems as humanities but not counted in the other disciplinary categories.

** The estimated value for “Any Humanities Course” is unduplicated and thus less than the sum of the values for the individual disciplines.

For the values underlying this figure, see American Academy of Arts Sciences, Humanities Indicators, “Humanities Education in Community Colleges: A Pilot Study,” https://humanitiesindicators.org/binaries/pdf/HI_Humanities_Education_in_Community_Colleges.pdf (March 2019), appendix, table 14.

CC_Fig6: Share of Community College Faculty Teaching Humanities Courses, by Discipline, Fall 2015

The middle bar depicts the estimated proportion, and the upper and lower bars depict the range of uncertainty.

* Includes: 1) survey courses entitled “Humanities”; and 2) courses coded in colleges’ information systems as humanities but not counted in the other disciplinary categories.

** The estimated value for “Any Humanities Course” is unduplicated and thus less than the sum of the values for the individual disciplines.

For the values underlying this figure, see American Academy of Arts Sciences, Humanities Indicators, “Humanities Education in Community Colleges: A Pilot Study,” https://humanitiesindicators.org/binaries/pdf/HI_Humanities_Education_in_Community_Colleges.pdf (March 2019), appendix, tables E1, FL1, H1, P1, and OH1, and S1.

CC_Fig7: Ratio of Community College Students to Faculty for Courses in Selected Humanities Disciplines, Fall 2015

The middle bar depicts the estimated count, and the upper and lower bars depict the range of uncertainty.

* Includes: 1) survey courses entitled “Humanities”; and 2) courses coded in colleges’ information systems as humanities but not counted in the other disciplinary categories.

** Including humanities courses, vocational courses, and courses in nonhumanities fields.

For the values underlying this figure, see American Academy of Arts Sciences, Humanities Indicators, “Humanities Education in Community Colleges: A Pilot Study,” https://humanitiesindicators.org/binaries/pdf/HI_Humanities_Education_in_Community_Colleges.pdf (March 2019), appendix, tables 1, E1, FL1, H1, P1, and OH1, and S2.

Endnotes

[1] Readers may note that the estimated number of faculty teaching at two-year colleges in each humanities discipline reported here is substantially higher than that reported elsewhere by the HI, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program (OES). Due to substantial differences between the OES methodology and that of this study, it is difficult to know what exactly is producing the discrepancy, although one factor may be that this study focuses on courses, whereas OES focuses on jobs. For the purposes of this study, anyone who teaches at least one humanities course is treated as humanities faculty. For OES, a person working at a college or university is classified as postsecondary faculty only if the bulk of his or her responsibilities are instructional. Thus, a college administrator, for example, who teaches an English course, would be included among humanities faculty for the present study but included among “Education Administrators, Postsecondary” by OES.