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This morning, the Humanities Indicators released new updates on degree trends in the five largest humanities disciplines.
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Updates in the Humanities Indicators
Following up on the recent overview of trends in humanities degrees, this morning the Humanities Indicators released profiles of the five largest disciplines in the field. Among the key findings:
Growing Racial Diversity in Large Humanities Disciplines
  • Most of the recent rise occurred due to a sharp increase in the number of Hispanic and Latino students earning degrees. The only exception was in religion, where most of the growth can be attributed to increasing numbers of African American students awarded degrees in the discipline.
     
  • At the doctoral level, the trends diverged. In four of the humanities disciplines studied, the shares of traditionally underrepresented minorities were below recent highs, and in some cases trending lower. Among students earning doctoral degrees in LOTE, the share of underrepresented minorities was actually lower in 2014 than in 1987. The only exception was in philosophy, where the latest percentage was the highest on record.
Degrees Falling across Large Humanities Disciplines
The number and share of humanities bachelor’s degrees fell in all five of the largest humanities disciplines (English; history; languages and literatures of the than English (LOTE); philosophy; and religion). History experienced the largest one-year decline.
  • As a share of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, English, history, and LOTE fell to their lowest levels on record, while philosophy and religion remain near their peak levels.
     
  • The trends among doctoral degrees are significantly more diverse—with growing numbers in history; declines in LOTE, philosophy, and religion that broke recent upward trends; and longer term declines in English.
Retrenchments in Gender Diversity
  • There are substantial differences among the large humanities disciplines in the representation of women. At all levels, the share of women graduates in English and LOTE remains above 60%. In contrast, the share of women earning degrees in the other three disciplines studied (history, philosophy, and religion) remain well below 50%, with slight declines in recent years among degree recipients at most levels.
Indicators in the News
The Humanities Indicators were also featured in several news publications and blogs recently:
New in the Academy Data Forum
Ron Ehrenberg (Cornell University) explores the relationship between the gender and disciplinary background of senior administrators and the composition of the humanities faculty at their institutions.
In Other Academy News
Wrapping up a three-year effort, the American Academy’s Lincoln Project recommend three strategies to ensure a bright future for these institutions and the communities they serve:
Additional information on the Lincoln Project and its previous reports is available at the Academy site, as well as an associated video, "Public Research Universities: Why They Matter."
Please share this message with colleagues who may have an interest in the state of the humanities.

Questions? Write us at humanitiesindicators@amacad.org


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