College Art Association

CAA News Today

The more information that is made available on critical issues in the field, the greater a case can be made for advocacy to promote change. One of the major challenges for the visual-arts field is ensuring that all faculty are properly supported so that they may provide outstanding teaching, research and creative work. It is estimated that over 70% of faculty at colleges and universities in the United States are now hired on a contingent bases. This upward trend began in the 1970s and appears to dominate the future.

Data on working conditions of part-time faculty is not easily available since the funding for the National Study on Postsecondary Faculty at the Department of Education was discontinued in 2003. Data on art history, studio art, and art education faculty is even more difficult to obtain since visual arts and performing arts faculty were historically aggregated together by the Department of Education.

In response to the lack of data, the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, http://www.academicworkforce.org/  comprising twenty six academic associations including CAA, organized an extensive survey. The report on this survey was published in June 2012 http://www.academicworkforce.org/CAW_portrait_2012.pdf.  Of the 20,000 part-time faculty participating in the survey, 1,034 were CAA members. The data they contributed has been compiled and is now available [http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/CAA-CAWContingentFacultySurvey.pdf].

Some of the major findings from the art historians, artists and art educators indicate that: 1) part-time faculty in the visual arts field have a slightly higher salary rate than the median; 2) there are gender disparities in salaries within the visual arts; and 3) resources and benefits provided by institutions are two to three times lower for visual-arts faculty than the full sample of respondents.

What is CAA doing to address these issues? The Board adopted the Guidelines for Part-Time Faculty in 2004. The Professional Practices Committee under the chairmanship of Jim Hopfensperger and an ad hoc committee led by Tom Berding and CAA board member, John Richardson are working to update these guidelines to respond to present needs in order to provide standards for the field.

Several CAA annual conference sessions have been devoted to resources for administrators and part-time faculty. At the 2013 New York Annual Conference, a panel which included John Curtis from the American Association of University Professors and Rosemary Feal from the Modern Language Association, among others, provided valuable resources for networking among part-time faculty. An example is organizations such as CAW that are actively addressing workforce issues and state and national government advocacy. These resources can be found at http://www.collegeart.org/resources/contingentfaculty.

The CAA Board has organized a planning task force of members to address critical issues in the field over the next five years. The profound changes in the structure of faculty, teaching formats, digital research, publishing and creative work are some of the greatest challenges identified. The members of the task force welcome your comments in shaping how CAA can address these and other major issues of our profession. Please send your ideas and comments to CAA at nyoffice@collegeart.org.

I would like to thank Peter Bucchianeri at Harvard University for compiling the data and writing the report on the responses of CAA member respondents to the contingent faculty survey.

 

ITHAKA S + R has surveyed U.S. faculty members at four-year colleges and universities every three years since 2000 to determine practices and attitudes related to faculty research methods, teaching, and opinions about resource providers—libraries, archives and scholarly societies. The latest survey was presented April 8, 2013 at the Coalition for Networked Information. ITHAKA S + R: http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/us-faculty-survey-2012.

CAA sent the survey to its members who are art historians. In the past ITHAKA concentrated only on humanities, social science and science faculty. Thus, artists are unfortunately not represented in this survey since it is the government’s definition of the humanities that places artistic practice in the arts only, even though in reality it is part of the concept of the humanities.

Research Practices: The survey shows that there is increasing reliance on specific electronic research resources and general purpose search engines on the internet as compared to the online catalog of libraries and use of the library building. Yet, 78% of the journals and books routinely used are found in local college and university libraries. The majority of respondents also seek out freely available online resources.

Audiences for Faculty Research: 90% of humanities faculty and 95% of art historians believe that the audience for their research is scholars in their subdisciplines. Only 35% indicated that there is a public audience for their research. And yet 52% believe their research is important for a general public audience. 50% of art historians also believe that their research is important for an undergraduate audience.

Need for Scholarly Societies: The primary way that 71% of the respondents “keep up” with current scholarship in their field is by attending conferences and workshops.

Academic Publishing: The three most important characteristics of an academic journal that are important to art historians are 1) the journal has a high impact factor (85%); 2) the current issues of the journal are circulated widely, and are well read by scholars in the field (80%); 3) the journal’s area of coverage is close to the immediate area of research (75%); and 4) the journal permits scholars to publish articles for free, without paying page or article charges (72%).

The most highly valued activities performed by academic publishers by humanities faculty are 1) associating work with a reputable brand that signals its quality (70%); 2) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out of the work (65%); and 3) managing the peer review process to provide high-quality feedback to vet and improve the work (70%). Art historians in particular see the greatest value in 1) associating the work with a reputable brand (71%); 2) managing the peer review process; and 3) providing professional copy-editing and lay-out (all at 65%). The humanities faculty in general continues to rely on scholarly publishers as opposed to those in the sciences. Only 11% of art historians agreed with the statement: “Scholarly publishers have been rendered less important to my process of communicating scholarly knowledge by my increasing ability to share my work directly with peers online.”

Role of the Library: Faculty perceives the role of the library primarily as a buyer and repository of resources and less as a teaching facilitator. When asked whose responsibility it is to teach undergraduates how to locate and evaluate scholarly information, 42% of faculty believe it is their responsibility and 24% believe it is the library’s responsibility.

Transition to Online Journals: The increased interest on the part of humanities faculty in online journals declined from 60% in 2009 to 55% in 2012. There were also slight declines in the social sciences and sciences in this regard. 30% of humanities faculty are “…happy to see hard copy collections discarded and replaced entirely by electronic collections,” compared to 48% of social sciences and 47% of sciences. With regard to repositories of hard copy journals, 68% of humanities faculty agree that “…it will always be crucial for some libraries to maintain hard-copy collections of journals.” As CAA begins the transition to online journals, it will be important to stay informed on how faculty utilizes journals online and the value placed on online and print journals.

Scholarly Societies: Scholarly societies remain important to humanities faculty. 80% of art historians who responded to the survey were members of the primary society for their field and 72% were also members of other scholarly societies.

The most highly valued functions of scholarly societies are conferences, information on fellowships and jobs, peer-reviewed publications and advocacy for the field’s values and policy priorities. The conference is important as a source of hearing about new research by peers, socializing and networking, learning about new technologies and engaging in broad discussion about the state of the discipline (in that order). This information confirms the findings of CAA membership surveys.

Filed under: Research, Surveys

Take the 2013 Annual Conference Survey

posted by March 11, 2013

In an effort to improve our services, we encourage you to complete the following survey about your experiences at the 101st Annual Conference in New York last month. This survey should take only a few minutes to complete. We appreciate your feedback and your support and hope to see you at the 102nd Annual Conference in Chicago, to be held February 12–15, 2014.

Survey link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JXZPKTS

Please complete the survey by Friday, March 22, 2013. Thank you.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Surveys

This Friday, March 8, you will receive an email with a survey about your professional experiences with copyright issues. Entitled “Creativity and Copyright,” the survey is part of CAA’s effort to develop a code of best practices to guide visual arts scholars, artists, teachers and museum professionals when they may use the copyrighted works of others under fair use. Please take the time to fill out this survey; it is crucial to the organization’s efforts to address an issue that affects all visual arts practitioners.

A description of the larger project is included in this week’s CAA News: http://www.collegeart.org/news/2013/03/05/caas-task-force-on-fair-use-meets-during-annual-conference/.

Survey of Faculty Who Teach Online

posted by November 14, 2012

The Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL X) and the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) seek participation in the On Line Teaching Working Conditions Survey from all faculty members who teach online for the purpose of gaining information on wages and working conditions. The organizers hope that the results will lead to organizing for improvements. CAA encourages you to take the survey and to forward its link to any relevant lists or individuals.

The survey is for anyone teaching online in colleges or universities. The project committee aims to collect a range of working conditions: how much people get paid, how many hours they work, whether they have union representation, how many students they have in a class, and so on. When the committee collects enough responses to get a sense of what’s out there, it will categorize the examples as “good,” “bad,” and “ugly” in an attempt to establish some kind of standard of what decent working conditions for online teachers—who are suspected to be largely contingent—might look like.

If you do not want to give your name when completing the survey, simply type in random letters in the box for the first question. No names of individuals will appear in the final (or draft) report, and no raw data will be circulated outside the committee that is working on the project. However, the group does need the name of your institution, the one through which you are teaching the class with the working conditions that you are describing.

Please complete this survey even if you filled out the previous draft survey. The current one has been updated to reflect comments that the organizers received from those who took the previous survey.

For more information on the survey or the project, please contact Helena Worthen for COCAL X and UALE’s On-Line Teaching Working Group.

Filed under: Advocacy, Research, Surveys, Workforce

Survey of Faculty Who Teach Online

posted by November 14, 2012

The Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL X) and the United Association for Labor Education (UALE) seek participation in the On Line Teaching Working Conditions Survey from all faculty members who teach online for the purpose of gaining information on wages and working conditions. The organizers hope that the results will lead to organizing for improvements. CAA encourages you to take the survey and to forward its link to any relevant lists or individuals.

The survey is for anyone teaching online in colleges or universities. The project committee aims to collect a range of working conditions: how much people get paid, how many hours they work, whether they have union representation, how many students they have in a class, and so on. When the committee collects enough responses to get a sense of what’s out there, it will categorize the examples as “good,” “bad,” and “ugly” in an attempt to establish some kind of standard of what decent working conditions for online teachers—who are suspected to be largely contingent—might look like.

If you do not want to give your name when completing the survey, simply type in random letters in the box for the first question. No names of individuals will appear in the final (or draft) report, and no raw data will be circulated outside the committee that is working on the project. However, the group does need the name of your institution, the one through which you are teaching the class with the working conditions that you are describing.

Please complete this survey even if you filled out the previous draft survey. The current one has been updated to reflect comments that the organizers received from those who took the previous survey.

For more information on the survey or the project, please contact Helena Worthen for COCAL X and UALE’s On-Line Teaching Working Group.

Filed under: Advocacy, Research, Surveys, Workforce — Tags:

The results of a 2010 survey of contingent faculty members and instructors in American higher education, published today by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW), have confirmed much of what has been reported anecdotally: part-time faculty members demonstrate a dedicated level of commitment to teaching and to the institutions that employ them, but this commitment is not reciprocated by those institutions through compensation or other professional support. The findings also describe larger course loads for teachers, imbalances in compensation in relation to not only professional credentials but also gender and race, and minimal participation in academic decision-making. Further, contingent faculty face longer durations of provisional employment and slim prospects for career advancement, with schools failing to meet their preference for full-time status.

According to a 2009 government study, 75.5 percent of all faculty members at colleges and universities in the United States are contingent: that is, they hold part-time or adjunct positions, have full-time non-tenure-track jobs, or serve as graduate-student teaching assistants. Part-timers alone make up nearly half the total professoriate. The US Department of Education, however, has not kept statistics on contingent-faculty salaries since 2003, when it last carried out its National Study of Postsecondary Faculty. CAW’s comprehensive survey, administered in fall 2010, was conducted in an effort to provide meaningful data for this rapidly growing concern. Of the nearly 30,000 survey respondents, 1,102 were CAA members: 591 in studio art and design, 362 in art history, and 149 in art education. The CAW report focuses on the largest group of contingent faculty: part-timers.

CAA is a founding member (1997) of CAW, which is a group of higher-education associations, disciplinary associations, and faculty organizations committed to addressing issues associated with deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on college and university students in the United States. Specifically, CAW’s purpose is to: collect and disseminate information on the use and treatment of full- and part-time faculty members serving off the tenure track and the implications for students, parents, other faculty members, and institutions; articulate and clarify differences in the extent and consequences of changes in the faculty within and among the various academic disciplines and fields of study; evaluate the short-term and long-term consequences of changes in the academic workforce for society and the public good; identify and promote strategies for solving the problems created by inappropriate use and exploitation of part-time, adjunct, and similar faculty appointments; promote conditions by which all faculty members, including full- and part-time non-tenure-track faculty members, can strengthen their teaching and scholarship, better serve their students, and advance their professional careers.

Andrew Delbanco, the author of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be (2012), stated that, in 1975, 60 percent of college professors were full-time faculty with tenure. The reasons for the accelerated shift toward contingent labor since that time are many. Decreases in state funding, capital expansion without commensurate revenue, increases in specialized knowledge requiring thousands of course offerings, and swelling student enrollment all have had a detrimental effect on faculty budgets, more so than on any other area of expenditures in higher education. Jane Wellman, who led the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity, and Accountability, affirmed these observations in a recent New York Times interview:

What the evidence shows is that we’ve done more to cut costs in the faculty area than elsewhere in the budget, and we’ve done it by bringing in more adjuncts and part-timers. So there’s a handful of professors with tenure, who don’t teach very much, and then there’s [a] lot of people who have no benefits who do more of the teaching. I think it’s probably hurting academic quality, especially at institutions where the students are not well prepared. The attrition [of students] is mostly in the first two years, and that’s mostly where the adjuncts are.

While no hard evidence has determined that an increase of adjuncts has diminished the quality of teaching in higher education, the CAW survey results clearly demonstrate pressure on part-time faculty due to not only expanding workloads and larger classes—especially for part-time faculty teaching at multiple institutions—but also expectations to be involved in academic decision-making without additional compensation.

Professors of studio art and art history are acutely aware of all these issues. Enrollment has risen persistently for art-history and studio courses for years, while tenured positions have diminished. The survey results do bring some slightly positive news: median pay for contingent faculty in studio art and design and in art history is $3,000 per three-credit course (the nationwide median is approximately $2,700). In addition, workers at campuses with a union presence earn more than those at nonunion schools. Compensation is lower, however, for survey respondents who identified themselves as black, although the number of African Americans who participated in the survey was low. Please visit the CAW website for details on these issues and more.

The CAW report will provide important data for discussions taking place in several of CAA’s Professional Interests, Practices, and Standards Committees. The Student and Emerging Professionals Committee will be addressing contingent-faculty issues at a panel at the 2013 Annual Conference in New York, which will include Michael Bérubé, president of the Modern Language Association and director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, who will present an overview of the Academic Workforce Data Center, a compilation of historical data of the growth of contingent faculty by universities. Bérubé will also discuss the need to nationalize the academic-job market. Jeanne Brody, an adjunct professor at Villanova University and Saint Joseph’s University, will summarize the ways in which adjunct faculty members are effectively organizing and advocating better treatment within the university system. Victoria H. F. Scott of Emory University will discuss the establishment of an Art History Society of the Americas, which would explore abolishing adjunct position types, raising salaries, collecting statistics, and setting policies to improve and monitor working conditions.

The Committee on Women in the Arts, which focuses on women’s issues in the workplace and beyond, will respond to survey results on gender. Although women make up two-thirds of all CAA members, they tend to occupy the lowest rungs of academia, while men continue filling the higher-ranking and higher-paid positions. To continue the discussion, the committee will present a panel at the 2013 conference, chaired by the artist and professor Claudia Sbrissa, on how the “feminization” of art history may have contributed to lower salaries and prestige for women.

Similarly, the Committee on Diversity Practices will discuss issues related to retention of faculty members of color during its panel at the 2013 conference.

CAA would like to thank the individuals who generously volunteered their time and expertise to develop and tabulate CAW’s survey: John Curtis, director of research and public policy, American Association of University Professors; David Laurence, director of research, Modern Language Association; Kathleen Terry-Sharp, director of academic relations and practicing and applied programs, American Anthropological Society; Craig Smith, director of higher education, American Federation of Teachers; and Robert B. Townsend, deputy director, American Historical Association.

The results of CAA’s 2012 membership survey, sent to all active individual members, are now in. Over 1,600 members responded to the survey, which was open from January 25 to February 10, 2012, and the results are very enlightening. Several highlights include these findings:

  • Most CAA members (63 percent) joined when they were in graduate school
  • Almost half (48 percent) are faculty members at two- and four-year colleges or universities
  • The number-one reason why people initially joined CAA was to assist their job search
  • Job postings in the Online Career Center are the primary reason why people retain membership, followed by networking opportunities afforded by CAA
  • Most CAA members support a greater internet presence for the journals. About 72 percent would like an expanded online version of Art Journal, and 70 percent want to see The Art Bulletin on the web
  • Advocacy for the visual arts was voted the most important CAA function, with 67 percent of respondents rating it as “extremely important.” The Annual Conference and the Online Career Center tied for second place, with 58 percent each.
  • Only 17 percent of the CAA members who responded participate in CAA’s social networking on Twitter and Facebook
  • After CAA’s own publications, the most-read art periodicals by members are Art in America, ARTnews, and Artforum
  • The top-three advocacy issues for CAA members are government funding for the arts and humanities, freedom of expression and censorship, and intellectual-property rights (including the cost for image reproduction, fair use, and terms of copyright)
  • The majority of write-in comments addressed the costs of membership and the conference, but other recurring themes include the need to broaden CAA’s focus to embrace a wider range of disciplines and areas of interest, the need for further advocacy efforts, and the need for greater support for adjunct faculty

CAA greatly appreciates the feedback of its members.

As a service organization, CAA recognizes that knowing and responding to the professional needs of its constituents is vital to ensuring the effectiveness of the organization. In 2011, CAA contracted the services of an expert consultant, Raym Crow of the Chain Bridge Group, to help determine the future of its publications and membership program. The information gathered in the survey, and the resultant feedback from Crow, will be used by CAA leaders to help determine its priorities and potential directions.

Filed under: Membership, Research, Surveys

Earlier this month, CAA sent an email blast to 2012 Annual Conference attendees, asking for feedback on all aspects of last February’s event. Please complete the survey, which has several fields for open-ended answers, by Friday, March 23, 2012.

The survey asks you to identify yourself (artist, art historian, student, etc.) and your type of institutional affiliation and then to rate your experiences with various conference events and services—from online registration and the conference hotels to session content and Career Services activities. If you attended the Book and Trade Fair or used your conference badge for free museum admission, let CAA know. The survey also asks your thoughts about the conference website and how CAA can better deliver conference information.

Filed under: Annual Conference, Research, Surveys

The International Art Materials Association (NAMTA), an organization of more than 550 professional art-materials businesses, conducts a study of artists and art materials every three years and is asking all artists, art students, and art instructors to contribute by completing an online survey by Monday, April 2, 2012. The survey is open to American and Canadian artists, over the age of 18, working in any medium. CAA especially encourages art students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels to participate.

Prizes

For individuals: Two lucky survey participants are eligible to win $200 each in gift certificates to an art-supply store.

For schools: A gift box of art supplies will be awarded to the top five colleges that have the most students complete the survey. The gift box includes: Strathmore drawing pads, Golden and Liquitex acrylic paint sets, Winsor and Newton oil paint sets and brushes, a $100 gift certificate to Art Supply Warehouse, the Artist’s Magazine, and a book, Rethinking Acrylic.

Participants must register to receive the executive summary and to enter the drawing by clicking on the link on the thank-you page after submitting their completed survey. The drawing and executive summary sign-up is separate from the survey to keep the survey anonymous. All survey responses are anonymous and will only be reported as part of summary figures like totals or averages. Visit the website of Hart Business Research, which is administering the survey, to learn more about how to enter the drawing and competition.

NAMTA is donating $1 for each completed survey (for the first five hundred completed) to scholarships through the NAMTA Foundation for the Visual Arts.

About the Survey

The survey is the first phase of a larger study, titled Artists & Art Materials 2012, which will also include a questionnaire for retailers of art supplies. In the study’s second phase, Hart Business Research will analyze this survey data as well as data from the National Endowment for the Arts, various artist nonprofits, the United States Census, and individual artists’ websites to build a comprehensive picture of artists’ evolving activities. The report will be announced in summer 2012, accompanied by an executive summary that will be made available to all survey participants.