Profile of Women and Gender Studies Departments (HDS 3)
Findings and Trends
- Total enrollment in undergraduate women and gender studies courses was 109,360 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 386.4 per department).2
- On average, women and gender studies departments awarded 10.3 bachelor’s degrees in the 2016–17 academic year. Students also completed an average of 11.7 minors.
- Total enrollment in graduate-level women and gender studies courses was 21,045 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 74.4 per department). The average number of students pursuing an advanced degree in women and gender studies was 44.1 per department offering such degrees.
- Women and gender studies departments employed 2,135 full- and part-time faculty members in fall 2017, with an average of 7.5 faculty per department. Two-thirds of these faculty were either tenured or on the tenure track.
- Thirty-one percent of the faculty in women and gender studies departments were employed part-time, which was a large share relative to the other disciplines included in the survey.
- Twenty-three percent of women and gender studies departments hired a new permanent faculty member for the start of the 2017–18 academic year, and 42% of the departments had a faculty member come up for tenure in the previous two years.
- Women constituted 89% of the faculty members in women and gender studies departments in fall 2017, a share 37 percentage points larger than for all surveyed disciplines considered together. Ninety-one percent of tenured faculty members were women, compared to 82% of the faculty members on the tenure track. (In only one other of 16 surveyed disciplines was the share of women on the tenure-track smaller than the share with tenure.) Representation of women among non-tenure-track faculty was 88%.
- While 98% of women and gender studies departments provided research support for their full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 73% offered such support for full-time nontenured or non-tenure-track faculty, only 29% offered such support for part-time faculty.
Supporting Student Careers
- Sixty percent of women and gender studies departments rated the career services at their college or university “good” or “very good” for their students, while only 7% rated them “poor.”
- A relatively small share—about 7%—of women and gender studies departments had a professional program (such as teacher credentialing). (The average for all disciplines in the survey combined was 24%.)
Engaging the Digital
- Twenty-six percent of women and gender studies departments had one or more faculty members specializing in the digital humanities, but only 16% had formal guidelines for evaluating digital publications for tenure and promotion.
- In the 2016–17 academic year, 26% of departments in women and gender studies offered fully online courses, while 11% offered hybrid courses. Departments offered an average of 7.6 fully online courses and 4.3 hybrid courses (each average was calculated over the number of departments offering a course of that kind).
- 2Students 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).