Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Prospects for Faculty in the Arts and Sciences

Prospects for Faculty in the Arts and Sciences: A Study of Factors Affecting Demand and Supply, 1987 to 2012

William G. Bowen
Julie Ann Sosa
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 242
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Prospects for Faculty in the Arts and Sciences
    Book Description:

    This thought-provoking study of academic job markets over the next quarter century uses rigorous analysis to project substantial excess demand for faculty starting in the 1997-2002 period. Particularly severe imbalances are projected in the humanities and social sciences. Contrary to popular impressions, however, these projected shortages are not caused by any unusual "bunching" of retirements. The authors' discussion of factors affecting the outlook for academic employment includes information on changes in the age distributions of faculties, trends in enrollment, shifts in the popularity of fields of study, changes in the faculty-student ratio, and the continuing increase in the time spent by the typical graduate student in obtaining a doctorate.

    This work will appeal to a broad audience. It will be essential reading for those who are responsible for determining the size and character of graduate programs in universities, for aspiring academics who are looking for a sense of their job prospects, for college and university faculty members and administrators who must recruit new colleagues, and for those interested in the federal role in higher education.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6051-7
    Subjects: Education, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
    WGB and JAS
  5. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    American higher education has experienced periods of rapid expansion and retrenchment since World War II, with swings that have been sharp and at times destabilizing. The war itself had major consequences: returning G.I.’s swelled enrollments, and there was a new appreciation of the power of scientific research. After a brief hiatus in the early 1950s, the launching of Sputnik in 1957 stimulated another strong wave of interest in higher education. Then, in the 1960s, the baby boom combined with rising enrollment rates to create one of the greatest expansions ever seen. Shortages of faculty were widely proclaimed, faculty salaries increased...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Age Distributions and Exits from Academia
    (pp. 15-29)

    During most of the postwar period, rising enrollments were the primary force creating openings for new faculty members. Today, however, higher education is not expanding at a rapid rate; nor, as we will show in the next few chapters, is there reason to expect a sudden upsurge in enrollments any time soon. Replacement demand—vacancies created by individuals leaving the profession—will be the dominant determinant of the number of job openings in academia for the foreseeable future.

    A number of warnings have been heard recently concerning a possible “bunching” of retirements. For instance, President Michael Sovern of Columbia University...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Population Trends and Enrollment Projections
    (pp. 30-42)

    Prospects for faculty members in the arts and sciences are inevitably affected by the overall scale of the educational enterprise. There have been periods—the boom years of the 1960s are a good example—when changes in scale were so overwhelming as to dominate staffing decisions. We do not foresee such periods in the near future, but that hardly means that trends in population and enrollment can be ignored. Such trends define the context within which all other factors affecting faculty staffing must be considered.

    While this chapter is concerned primarily with aggregate enrollment, it is, of course, the size...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Enrollment by Sector and Field of Study: Trends and Projections
    (pp. 43-65)

    While the projections of aggregate enrollment developed in the last chapter are essential to understanding the outlook for faculty in the arts and sciences, they are by no means sufficient. As we shall see in this chapter, trends in enrollment in the arts and sciences (as best they can be inferred) do not always move in parallel with trends in aggregate enrollment. In the last decade, in particular, there has been a dramatic decline in the arts-and-sciences share of all degrees conferred, and shifting student interests must be taken into account when projecting the demand for faculty. It is also...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Student/Faculty Ratios and Projections of Faculty Positions
    (pp. 66-89)

    It is impossible to interpret past changes in the number of faculty positions or to develop reasonable projections without paying careful attention to student/faculty ratios. Anyone who assumes that student/faculty ratios are relatively inert, and can be treated as constants, runs a serious risk of overlooking one of the most dynamic—and most complex—factors affecting the outlook for faculty staffing.

    To illustrate, over the last ten years, striking decreases in student/faculty ratios have beenthemost important single factor protecting the number of faculty positions in the arts and sciences. When student interest in these fields waned, faculty positions...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Supply of New Doctorates
    (pp. 90-117)

    Traditionally, a large majority of faculty appointees have been younger people who have recently completed—or are about to complete—their graduate work. Thus, any analysis of the pool of candidates for faculty positions must begin with a careful examination of the number of new doctorates in the relevant fields of study. Over the last thirty years, there have been wide fluctuations in the number of new doctorates, and a principal task of this chapter is to use recent experience to project the supply of new doctorates likely to be available for faculty positions in the arts and sciences.


  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Changing Balance between Supply and Demand
    (pp. 118-143)

    The overall balance between supply and demand in academic labor markets will shift markedly, we believe, over the next few decades. The most dramatic changes will occur in the 1997–2002 period, when we project asubstantialexcess demand for faculty in the arts and sciences. If present trends persist, we would expect that there would be roughly four candidates for every five positions—a condition that could continue in subsequent years unless significant adjustments occur or policy changes are made. Although we project no comparable imbalance during the 1987–92 period, we do expect some appreciable tightening of academic...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT Adjustment Mechanisms
    (pp. 144-171)

    This country’s system of higher education is far more adaptable than people often assume. It is easy to draw wrong inferences from examples of rigidity on individual campuses or, for that matter, within sectors of higher education. Institutions, individuals, and markets all adjust, and that is a principal reason why the kinds of numbers projected in Chapter Seven will never be observed.

    Though these projections are valuable, we believe, in providing advance warning of the labor market problems that will have to be confronted, they should not be thought to show more than the likely consequences of adopting specified assumptions...

  13. CHAPTER NINE Questions of Policy
    (pp. 172-186)

    When we first outlined this study, we intended to make little, if any, reference to questions of policy. Our emphasis was—and is—on understanding as fully as possible the outlook for academic employment and the forces shaping it. Subsequently, we decided that the substance of our analysis, and especially the extent of the shortages projected in 1997–2002, compelled us to comment more fully on at least some policy issues. This chapter is not, however, a comprehensive analysis of actions that might be taken. That would require a study all its own.

    For reasons stated in earlier chapters, we...

  14. APPENDIX A Principal Sources of Data and Definitions of Fields of Study and Sectors
    (pp. 187-192)
  15. APPENDIX B Derivation of Exit Probabilities
    (pp. 193-203)
  16. APPENDIX C Correcting for Shifts in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions
    (pp. 204-205)
  17. APPENDIX D Additional Tables for Chapters Four, Six, and Seven
    (pp. 206-220)
  18. Publications Cited
    (pp. 221-225)