Much of the public discussion about the humanities focuses on four-year colleges and universities.
But humanities instruction is extensive at community colleges as well. In an effort to draw attention to the extent of the humanities at two-year colleges, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences conducted a national survey of community colleges and is today releasing the findings as part of the Humanities Indicators project. Among them:
- About 2.8 million students took a humanities course for credit at a community college in the fall of 2015 (the year for which data were collected). They accounted for approximately 40 percent of all community college students taking courses for credit that term.
- Over 1.7 million students took at least one course in English, and approximately 700,000 students took a history course. About 300,000 enrolled in courses in languages other than English. More than 255,000 community college students took a philosophy course. Additionally, between 400,000 and 450,000 students took a course in another humanities discipline or a survey course in the humanities.
- About 70,000 faculty members taught at least one college-level humanities course for credit at community colleges, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all community college faculty.
- The student-faculty ratio in the humanities is "substantially higher" than the ratio for community colleges generally. The student-faculty ratio for courses in the humanities was 40 to one, compared to 20 to one for all community college courses. Philosophy has the highest student-faculty ratio among the humanities disciplines examined, with about 50 students for each faculty member. The lowest ratio among the humanities disciplines, at 26 students per faculty member, was in foreign languages.