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Despite the humanities playing a core role in higher education with strong student interest, four-year colleges and universities are increasingly relying on a part-time, untenured workforce to meet the demand. These facts, common knowledge to many professors, have been confirmed in the recently released results of the Humanities Departmental Survey, conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a consortium of disciplinary associations, including CAA.

The survey includes data collected from departments of art history, English, foreign languages, history, the history of science, linguistics, and religion at approximately 1,400 colleges and universities. It is the first comprehensive survey to provide general cross-disciplinary data on humanities departments. The results are available on the academy’s Humanities Resource Center Online.

According to the Humanities Departmental Survey:

  • Across the humanities, but especially in English and combined English and foreign-language departments, professors at four-year colleges and universities are evolving into a part-time workforce. During the 2006–7 academic year, only 38 percent of faculty members in these departments were tenured. English departments had the greatest proportion of non-tenure-track faculty (49 percent)
  • When minors are included, undergraduate participation in humanities programs is about 82 percent greater than counting majors alone would suggest. For the 2006–7 academic year, 122,100 students completed bachelor’s degrees and 100,310 completed minor degrees in the three largest humanities disciplines: English, foreign languages, and history
  • Reflecting the demands of a global economy, student interest in foreign language is strong: during the 2006–7 academic year, foreign-language departments awarded 28,710 baccalaureate degrees and had the largest number of students completing minors (51,670). Yet investment in a stable professoriate to teach and study foreign languages and literatures appears to be declining, with a significant reduction in recruitment of full-time faculty members (39 percent fewer recruitments for full-time positions in 2008–9 than hires for 2007–8) and fewer total graduate students than faculty members, the only surveyed discipline for which this was the case
  • Turnover rates among humanities faculty were low—only 2.5 percent of humanities faculty left the profession through departure, retirement, or death during the two academic years preceding the survey. Combined with recently instituted hiring freezes on many campuses, career opportunities for the next generation of scholars (there were approximately 84,000 graduate students in the surveyed fields during the 2006–7 academic year) are limited
  • Approximately 87 percent of humanities departments reported that their subject was part of the core distribution requirements at their institution

The survey results provide a snapshot of US humanities departments at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. The survey covers a broad range of topics, including numbers of departments and faculty members, faculty distributions by discipline, courses taught, tenure activity, undergraduate majors and minors, and graduate students. The data provide new information about each of the disciplines; they also allow comparisons across disciplines. These data are especially important because the US Department of Education has indefinitely suspended the only nationally representative survey providing information about humanities faculty, the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty.

Several national learned societies collaborated with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to develop, field, and interpret data gathered by the Humanities Departmental Survey: the American Academy of Religion; the American Historical Association; the College Art Association; the History of Science Society; the Linguistic Society of America; and the Modern Language Association. The American Council of Learned Societies and the American Political Science Association also provided important assistance. The survey was administered by the Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics, which also performed the basic data analysis.

Even though the humanities disciplines represent an essential core of the liberal-arts curriculum, they have long been data deprived. The empirical data now available in the survey, along with the rich collection of information already found in the Humanities Indicators, begin to fill that gap and to establish baselines that will allow stakeholders to track trends in the future. The academy hopes that the Humanities Departmental Survey can be expanded to include additional disciplines and updated regularly, producing trend data that could be incorporated into the Humanities Indicators.

Launched in 2009, Humanities Indicators include data covering humanities education from primary school through the graduate level; the humanities workforce; humanities funding and research; and the humanities in civic life. Modeled after the National Science Board’s Science and Engineering Indicators, the Humanities Indicators serve as a resource to help scholars, policymakers, and the public assess the current state of the humanities. The academy continues to update and expand the Humanities Indicators.

The academy looks forward to working with the National Endowment for the Humanities to advance this critical work. The Teagle Foundation provided support for the Humanities Departmental Survey project, and grants from the William and Flora Hewlett, Andrew W. Mellon, and Rockefeller Foundations have advanced the academy’s overall humanities data initiative.

Those who wish to receive announcements of new data and research on the humanities can subscribe to an email alert system at the Humanities Resource Center Online.


The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has posted PDFs of two response papers, from David Laurence and Robert Townsend, on its website for download.

For journalistic analyses of the project, please read Scott Jaschik’s “State of Humanities Departments” at Inside Higher Ed and Jennifer Howard’s “Humanities Remain Popular Among Students Even as Tenure-Track Jobs Diminish” at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Recent Deaths in the Arts

posted by Christopher Howard

CAA recognizes the lives and achievements of the following artists, architects, curators, teachers, dealers, collectors, philanthropists, and other important figures in the visual arts who have recently died.

  • Raymond Abraham, a radical Austrian architect and a professor at Pratt Institute and Cooper Union, died on March 4, 2010. He was 77
  • Earl A. Barthé, a New Orleans–based architectural plasterer who created cornices, friezes, and ceiling medallions, died on January 11, 2010, at the age of 87
  • Ernst Beyeler, a Swiss art dealer and collector who sold works by Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Giacometti, and more, died on February 25, 2010. He was 88
  • Michael Buhler, a British artist and a teacher at the Colchester School of Art, died on October 30, 2009, at the age of 69
  • Michael Cooper, a collage artist who showed his work in New York, died on January 23, 2010, at the age of 60
  • Evelyn Haas, an arts philanthropist who supported the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, died on February 3, 2010. She was 92
  • Zygmund Jankowski, a New England–based painter of colorful, expressionist works, died on December 31, 2009, at age 84
  • Paul R. Jones, a collector of African American art who gifted hundreds of works to the University of Delaware and thousands to the University of Alabama, died on January 26, 2010, at the age of 81
  • Ruth Kligman, an abstract painter and the sole survivor of Jackson Pollock’s 1956 car crash, died on March 1, 2010. She was 80
  • Edward Linde, a real-estate developer and arts philanthropist who supported the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, died on January 10, 2010. He was 68
  • Fritz Lohman, cofounder of the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation in Manhattan’s SoHo, died on December 31, 2009. He was 87
  • Raymond Mason, a British sculptor who worked in a narrative, realist style, died on February 14, 2010, in Paris. He was 87
  • Neil E. Matthew, an artist and professor emeritus at the Herron School of Art and Design, died on January 5, 2010. He was 84
  • Ursula Mommens, a British potter who worked for more than eight decades, died on January 30, 2010. She was 101
  • Anita V. Mozley, a curator of photography at the Stanford Museum of Art and an expert on the work of Eadweard Muybridge, died on January 23, 2010. She was 81
  • Bob Noorda, a graphic designer best known for his signs for the New York City Transit Authority, died on January 11, 2010, at age 82
  • Judith Taylor, a photographer, professor, and department chair at Arcadia University, died on January 26, 2010. She was 56
  • Clare Weiss, a curator of public art for the New York City Parks Department, died on January 11, 2010, at the age of 43

Read all past obituaries in the arts on the CAA website.

Filed under: Obituaries, People in the News

At its February meeting in Chicago, the Board of Directors approved the applications of two groups to join CAA’s affiliated societies. The first new affiliate, the Appraisers Association of America, is a professional organization, while the second, the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey, is an area-studies organization.

The Appraisers Association of America (AAA) began in 1949; it currently has 650 members. Its purpose is to establish the highest standards of ethical conduct and promote the profession of appraising as a service to the national economy. An admissions committee insures that its members have met the standards of the profession. AAA advances the field though educational seminars, conferences, publications, and other activities. It publishes All About Appraising: The Definitive Appraisal Handbook and a biannual newsletter, and it offers classes in collaboration with New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. CAA recently partnered with AAA to host a symposium on art authentication in January 2010.

An affiliate of the Middle East Studies Association, the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) was established in 2007, and it currently has fifty-seven members. This newly formed academic organization aims to advance the study of this emerging field through the creation of an international network of interested scholars and organizations. AMCA facilitates communications by sponsoring conferences, meetings, a website, and a newsletter. It will be launching peer-reviewed exhibition and catalogue reviews on its website.

CAA’s Directory of Affiliated Societies is currently accepting updates. If you are an officer or the official CAA contact for an organization, please send an updated text, in the same format as your current listing, to Lauren Stark, CAA manager of programs, by March 31, either as a Word attachment or pasted into the body of an email.

Filed under: Affiliated Societies, Membership

2010 Advocacy Days in Washington, DC

posted by Christopher Howard

Our government needs to hear from you. At this critical time of federal budget reductions—cuts are scheduled for both the NEA and NEH—it is more important than ever that you let your congressional representatives know of your support for the visual arts, humanities, and art museums.

Between President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, released last month, and its approval by Congress later this year come three crucial events in Washington, DC: Humanities Advocacy Day, March 8–9; Museum Advocacy Day, March 22–23; and Arts Advocacy Day, April 12–13. Organized to assist those interested in visiting their representatives in the House and Senate in person, these advocacy days are timed so that our voices can be heard before funds are allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). CAA is a sponsor of these three advocacy events.

Previous lobbying experience isn’t necessary. Training sessions and practice talks take place the day before the main event—that’s why, for example, Arts Advocacy Day is actually two days, not one. Advocates are also prepped on the critical issues and the range of funding requested of Congress to support these federal agencies. It is at these training sessions where you meet—and network with—other advocates from your states. The main sponsoring organization for each event makes congressional appointments for you.

You may have mailed a letter or sent a prewritten email to your congressperson or senator before, but legislators have an algorithm of interest for pressing issues, in which a personal visit tops all other forms of communication. As citizen lobbyists, it’s also important to have a few specific examples about how arts funding has affected you: don’t be afraid to name-drop major cultural institutions—such as your city’s major museum or nonprofit art center—in your examples of why the visual arts matter in your state.

If you cannot attend the three advocacy days in person, please do send an email or fax to your representatives expressing your concern about continued and increased funding for the visual arts. If you don’t know your representative or senators, you can look them up at

2011 Budgets

Through the Office of Management and Budget, a federal agency, President Obama has requested $161.3 million for the NEA for fiscal year 2011, a decrease of $6 million from the previous year. (The fiscal year begins on October 1.) The same amount, $161.3 million, is requested for the NEH, with the agency receiving a larger cut of $6.2 million (4 percent). The proposed budget for the IMLS, $265.9 million, remains the same as last year.

Humanities Advocacy Day, March 8–9

The eleventh annual Humanities Advocacy Day, presented in conjunction with the National Humanities Alliance’s annual meeting, will take place March 8–9. Both events are a unique meeting ground for both alliance members and others interested in humanities policy and advocacy, including higher-education leaders, college and university faculty, teachers, students, museum professionals, librarians, and independent scholars.

Annual-meeting activities will primarily take place on Monday, March 8, at the Marvin Center at George Washington University. That evening, the action will move to Capitol Hill for a reception with members of Congress and their staff. Advocates will return to the Hill on Tuesday morning, March 9 for visits to your senators and representatives.

The fee to attend Humanities Advocacy Day and the NHA meeting and activities is $50. This includes the luncheon and keynote address, legislative and policy briefing materials, advocacy training, and the Capitol Hill reception. The deadline for registration has passed, but you can still call Erin Mosley at 202-296-4994, ext. 150, if you’re interested in participating.

The NHA website has tips for congressional visits and other resources, including a map and schedule. Its Legislative Action Center can also assist you in defining the current issues for Humanities Advocacy Day.

Museums Advocacy Day, March 22–23

CAA invites your participation in Museums Advocacy Day, sponsored by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and taking place March 22–23. This event is your chance to receive advocacy and policy training and then take the case to Capitol Hill alongside fellow advocates from your state and congressional district.

AAM is working with sponsoring organizations, including CAA, to develop the legislative agenda for this year’s event. Likely issues will include federal funding for museums, museums and federal education policy, and charitable giving issues affecting museums. The entire museum field is welcome to participate: staff, volunteers, trustees, students, and museum enthusiasts.

March 22 will be a critical day of advocacy and policy training, to be held at the National Building Museum, featuring: a briefing on the museum field’s legislative agenda; tips on meeting with elected officials and the stats you need to make your case; instruction on how to participate in year-round advocacy and engage your elected officials in the ongoing work of your museum; and networking with advocates from your state. On March 23, advocates will take their message to Capitol Hill, gathering in groups by state and congressional districts to make coordinated visits to House and Senate offices.

Participants are asked to cover the cost of their meals and materials: $75. This includes: two breakfasts, one lunch, one evening reception on March 22 with members of Congress and their staff, and all training materials and supplies. Registration has closed, but you can still call 202-218-7703 with questions on how to participate.

Arts Advocacy Day, April 12–13

The twenty-third annual Arts Advocacy Day, sponsored by Americans for the Arts, brings together a broad cross-section of America’s cultural and civic organizations, along with hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

Legislative training sessions take place on April 12. Afterward, attend the twenty-third annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Speaking will be Joseph P. Riley, Jr., mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, and founder of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design.

On April 13, hear from members of Congress and acclaimed artists at the Congressional Arts Kick Off on Capitol Hill. Then, join other arts advocates from your state to make the case for arts and arts education to your members of Congress.

Registration costs vary, so please visit the Americans for the Arts website for details. The advance registration deadline is March 29. The organization’s Arts Action Center also provides updates on arts advocacy issues.

dLOC Develops Initiative for Protecting Haitian Patrimony

posted by Christopher Howard

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) has developed the Protecting Haitian Patrimony (PHP) Initiative to bring together international contributors to assist Haiti with the preservation of Haitian cultural patrimony while respecting local sovereignty. From February 11 to 17, 2010, Brooke Wooldridge, dLOC project coordinator, traveled to Haiti to meet with local leadership and determine the short, medium, and long-term goals for the initiative.

The downloadable PDF report summarizes the current actions taken in regard to the specific patrimonial collections in Haiti. It also provides the background necessary to develop coherent, complementary plans to assist local institutions as they protect the collections and develop resources to preserve and ensure that the future generations will have access to these resources.

Filed under: Advocacy, Cultural Heritage — Tags:

JSTOR Creating Database for Auction Catalogues

posted by Christopher Howard

JSTOR is collaborating with two New York museums—the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—in a pilot project designed to understand how auction catalogues can be best preserved for the long term and made most easily accessible for scholarly use. Vital for provenance research, auction catalogues are used for the study of art markets and the history of collecting.

Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JSTOR’s prototype site is open to the public through June 2010. If you are interested in this content and its importance to art research, please explore the site and take the brief survey. In June, JSTOR will evaluate use of the content and feedback it has received in order to help determine the future of the resource.

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