ADAPTATIONS BY HUMANITIES DEPARTMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THE OVERSUPPLY OF PH. D.S (PHDS).
AuthorTHOMASSON, JOHN EMERY.
KeywordsDoctor of philosophy degree -- United States.
Education, Humanistic -- United States.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSince the shortage of humanities Ph.D.s turned to surplus in the early 1970s, a full generation of students has passed through graduate school and into the job market. This study explores the strategic changes undertaken by humanities departments in response to the continued surplus and the resulting unemployment of graduates. To gather data for the study, telephone interviews were conducted with representatives from 86 departments of English, history, and philosophy. The respondents were first asked what they thought should be done to alleviate doctoral unemployment. Then they were asked 19 questions representing individual strategic change alternatives being carried out in their departments, as well as one question concerning future changes they had planned. Finally, they were asked four questions concerning their past and present enrollments and doctoral placement rates. Analysis of the survey results showed that departments did indeed respond consciously to the poor employment prospects facing their graduates: they took measures to reduce the numbers of doctorates granted each year; they changed faculty personnel policies; they changed academic programs to better prepare their graduates for employment; they provided direct placement services, and they planned future changes. The findings also indicated that several intervening factors were related to the responses of departments. For example, public institutions were more responsive than independent institutions, and growing departments were more likely to implement changes than departments with shrinking or static enrollments. Research institutions and large institutions tended to cut back the number of graduates they produced, whereas other doctoral-granting or smaller institutions were likely to make certain academic program changes. Finally, history departments tended to prepare students for nonacademic employment; English departments prepared students for employment in high schools and community colleges, and philosophy departments were the most active in promoting their students to potential employers, although they did not target a particular job sector. In all, the departmental changes most positively related to graduate employment were changes in academic programs, and these program changes seemed to be more successful in placing doctorates in nonacademic careers than in academe.
Degree ProgramHigher Education