FW: [SPF] Announcing the Humanities Indicators

Eugene Garfield eugene.garfield at THOMSONREUTERS.COM
Wed Jan 7 15:58:11 EST 2009




From: The American Academy of Arts & Sciences [mailto:exec at amacad.org] 



 Humanities IResource Center





Today the Academy publicly unveils a prototype set of the Humanities
We have collected for the first time in one place empirical data about
the humanities in America - material to give us information about, for
example, what is being taught in the humanities, how they are funded,
the size of the workforce, and public attitudes toward the field. 

This online resource is modeled after the National Science Board's
Science and Engineering Indicators, published biennially since 1973 and
providing comprehensive data about the nation's science and technology
enterprise. The prototype set of Humanities Indicators is a preliminary
effort at producing what we hope will be a robust source of data over

The availability of this prototype set of Indicators is the culmination
of a multiyear effort under the Academy's Initiative for Humanities and
Culture, an effort involving dozens of Fellows and collaboration with
nearly every major learned society and national humanities organization.
The process has resulted in the creation of a national network of
organizations and individuals committed to the future well-being of the

The Humanities Indicators provide scholars, policymakers, and the public
with a first-ever statistical picture of the state of the humanities in
the United States, and will help inform analysis of this critical
component of our national cultural and intellectual life. Data in the
Indicators reveal, for example: 

*	Adult literacy in the United States is polarized. Among Western
industrialized nations, we rank near the top in the percentage of highly
literate adults (21%), but also near the top in the proportion who are
functionally illiterate (also 21%). 


*	Public concern about K-12 teacher qualifications has focused
mainly on math and science, but data reveal that the humanities fields
suffer an even more glaring dearth of well-prepared teachers. In 2000,
the percentage of middle (29%) and high school (37.5%) students taught
by a highly qualified history teacher was lower than for any other major
subject area. 


*	Humanities faculty are the most poorly paid. They also have a
higher proportion of part-time, non-tenured positions compared to their
counterparts in the sciences and engineering. But almost half of
humanities faculty indicate that they are "very satisfied" with their
jobs overall.


*	Charitable giving to arts and cultural organizations grew
between the mid-1990s and early 2000s before leveling off. But little of
public or private sector funding for the humanities goes to academic
research. This trend undermines both academia and the public since
public institutions rely on humanities scholars to provide much of the
knowledge on which their activities are based.


*	Since the early 1970s, the number of Americans who support the
banning of books from public libraries because they espouse atheism,
extreme militarism, communism, or homosexuality decreased by at least 11
percentage points, although 26% to 34% of the public still supports
banning some types of books. In the case of books advocating
homosexuality, the decline was a particularly significant 20 percentage

I am grateful to the leaders of the Initiative: Norman Bradburn
(National Opinion Research Council); Jonathan Cole (Columbia
University); Denis Donoghue (New York University); Steven Marcus
(Columbia University); Francis C. Oakley (Williams College); and
Patricia Meyer Spacks (University of Virginia), and to the many other
Fellows and colleagues who have advanced this work. Special mention
should be given to Norman Bradburn, who led the work to organize the
Indicators into a cohesive whole. 

You can view the Indicators at www.HumanitiesIndicators.org
cNKI__QKlyE8> . We welcome your comments and input. 

Leslie Berlowitz
Chief Executive Officer 

P.S. Please save March 9 for a national symposium in Washington, D.C. on
Humanities and Culture in a Civil Society. Confirmed speakers include
David Souter, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Don Michael
Randel, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Patricia
Stonesifer, the new chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution and senior
advisor to the trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Francis
Oakley, president emeritus of Williams College; and Edward Ayers,
president of the University of Richmond. Program information,
invitation, and RSVP forms will follow. For questions about this event,
please contact Elizabeth Huttner at 617-576-5093 or ehuttner at amacad.org
<mailto:%20ehuttner at amacad.org> . 


humanities at amacad.org 


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