Turning Poetry into Action
For the first time since the 1980 Rockefeller Commission on the Humanities, Congress has requested a comprehensive national assessment of the state of humanities and social sciences education at the K–12 and higher education levels.
The American Academy of Arts and Social Sciences has been asked by a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress to create a commission to identify the top actions that can be taken to maintain national excellence in humanities and social science scholarship. Activities by Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others will all be considered, as the commission looks to provide guidance on achieving long-term goals for the nation’s intellectual and economic well-being.
Commission members include prominent Americans from the humanities, the social sciences, the physical and life sciences, business, law, philanthropy, the arts, and the media, including two past chairs of the ACE Board of Directors (Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and New York University President, John Sexton). Over the next 18 to 24 months, these members will focus not only on K–12 and postsecondary education, but also on other organizations important to furthering humanities and social sciences knowledge, such as libraries and cultural institutions.
Congress is looking for actionable steps that can do for the humanities and social sciences what has recently been done for math and the physical and life sciences. As Rep. David Price (D-NC) said, “It is the humanities that ground, inform, and shape our civic, cultural, and intellectual lives,” and contribute to economic, diplomatic, and philosophical success.
Higher Ed Employment Surges in 2010
HigherEdJobs, a web site of career information in academia, recently released a report showing that advertisements for employment in higher education increased by 44.4 percent in 2010, compared to a decrease of 27.2 percent in 2009. The increase in higher education jobs posted seems to be consistent with greater numbers of jobs within the sector.
The report also found that colleges and universities continued to focus on recruiting administrators and executives over faculty, a trend that began with the stated end of the recession. In absolute numbers, however, recruitment for all position types, including faculty, is up. Also, reliance on part-time positions—as revealed by a rise in part-time job listings during the recession—has diminished as the economy begins to recover.
In addition, hiring and employment at community colleges continued to be strong throughout 2010, although with changes in Congress, the recent focus on community colleges may fade. From a geographic perspective, higher education job postings surged in all regions of the country, with the greatest growth observed in the Mountain and New England regions, and the weakest in the West South Central area.
The report examines job posting data from colleges and universities that have continuously subscribed to the company’s unlimited posting plan for four years or longer, a cohort of over 700 schools, as well as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Faculty Salaries Rise Little—Or Not at All
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) recently released the findings of its 2010–11 survey of U.S. faculty salary.
In general, median compensation increased by 1.4 percent in 2010, just shy of the national 1.6 percent inflation rate. However, public institutions, which make up 38.8 percent of respondents, recorded no increase in faculty compensation at all. Private institutions (61.2 percent of respondents) indicated an increase of 2 percent.