Profile of American Studies Departments (HDS 3)
Findings and Trends
- Total enrollment in undergraduate American studies courses was 61,860 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 374.9 students per department).1
- On average, American studies departments awarded 12.3 bachelor’s degrees per department in the 2016–17 academic year. Students also completed an average of 8.6 minors per department.
- Total enrollment in graduate-level American studies courses was 6,115 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 37.1 per department). The average number of students pursuing an advanced degree in American studies was 32.9 per department that granted such degrees.
- American studies departments employed 1,610 full- and part-time faculty members in fall 2017, with an average of 9.8 faculty members per department. Eighty-three percent of them were either tenured or on the tenure track (among the highest shares among the disciplines included in the survey), and 16% were employed part-time.
- Twenty-eight percent of American studies departments hired a new permanent faculty member for the start of the 2017–18 academic year, and 30% of the departments had a faculty member come up for tenure in the previous two years.
- Women constituted 53% of the faculty members in American studies departments in fall 2017. Half of tenured faculty members were women, compared to 65% of faculty members on the tenure track and 54% of those off the tenure track.
- While 95% of American studies departments provided research support for their full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 67% offered such support for full-time nontenured or non-tenure-track faculty, only 35% offered such support for part-time faculty.
Supporting Student Careers
- Forty-five percent of American studies departments rated career services at their college or university “good” or “very good” for their students, and only 7% of departments rated the services “poor” or “very poor.”
Engaging the Digital
- Thirty-six percent of American studies departments had one or more faculty members specializing in the digital humanities, but only 10% had formal guidelines for evaluating digital publications for tenure and promotion.
- In the 2016–17 academic year, 9% of American studies departments offered fully online courses (the smallest share among the disciplines in the survey), while 6% offered hybrid courses. Departments offered an average of 2.5 fully online courses and 2.9 hybrid courses (each average was calculated over the number of departments offering a course of that kind).
- 1Students who enrolled in more than one course in the discipline are counted in each course in which they enrolled. The same is true for the graduate course enrollment values given below. Medians for all “per department” quantities mentioned in this section are available in the corresponding data tables (please see the Appendix, Part B).