CSWMG Report on 1997-2001 Department Surveys

Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups Report on 1997-2001 Department Surveys
Division of Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies

Please note that the supporting documentation for this report appears in linked tables that will appear in resizable pop-up windows so that they may be consulted alongside the report; these pop-up windows should be closed as you finish consulting each table. The full report, plus all the tables, are also available as Adobe Acrobat files that may be downloaded and printed. All the tables attached to this report end with means calculations for the entire period surveyed, plus a comparison with the means totals from the 1990-1996 surveys. All the CSWMG department survey results since the 1970s have now been entered into an Excel spreadsheet, so we will be able to trace some trends in the field longitudinally, as demonstrated in some of the figures attached to this report.


Each year, the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups (CSWMG) of the APA sends out a survey to Classics programs in institutions of higher education. Over the last five years 590-620 surveys were mailed, but only 120-149 institutions returned usable questionnaires, for an average of 130 returns. This represents a sharp decline from the 189 average return for the 1990-1996 period, and the 203 average for 1985-1989 (see Table I). It is therefore important to exercise caution in drawing conclusions from this set of surveys. The APA Professional Matters division is currently considering ways to improve all of the association's data collection and encourages department chairs to cooperate in this crucial initiative.

The results of the last five surveys are a mixed bag for Classicists. The position of women in the field has held steady and may even have shown signs of improvement. There are also promising signs that the needs of gender minorities (lesbians, gays and others) are increasingly being met. A clear majority of institutions that responded to the survey now have policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A third to a half of institutions now offer domestic partnership benefits to their employees. The representation of minorities, however, as they are defined in the surveys (African-Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino/Chicano Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islander Americans) remains very small.

The Status of Women

Over the last five years, the percentages of women reported to be employed in the field have risen gradually; according to these surveys, the average percentage of women in the total Classics faculty in this five-year period stands at 36% (broken down into 38% in BA-granting departments, 35% in MA-granting departments, and 32% in PhD departments, see Table II). The mean totals of all the CSWMG surveys thus indicate a positive trend, the slow but steady rise in the percentage of women in the total Classics faculty (21% in 1974-78, 25% in 1979-84, 27% in 1985-89, 30% in 1990-96, and 36% in 1997-2001). Figure 1 presents this trend in graphic form, and also indicates the slower rise with regard to tenured women.

Tenured faculty are more likely to be men, with a 72% average in 1997-2001 (broken down into 68% in BA-granting departments, 74% in MA-granting departments, and 76% in PhD departments, see Table III). There are reasons to hope, however, that the future will bring a more even balance between the sexes. Firstly, over the last five years, the reported ratios of women to men in tenure-track positions has been fairly equitable--at times approaching a 50/50 split (average 47%). Secondly, grants and denials of tenure do not show consistent patterns of favoring men or women; of the tenure cases reported in these surveys, an average of 92% were granted, and women earned 44% of these tenure grants. Table Va includes data on grants of tenure reported in these surveys, and Table Vb shows tenure denials (women accounted for an average of 63% of the tenure denials, though the absolute number of these was small). Non-tenure track faculty appear more evenly divided among men and women (average 49% women, broken down into 49% in BA-granting departments, 53% in MA-granting departments, and 48% in PhD departments). Table IVa shows the number and percentages of all male faculty without tenure as reported in these surveys; Table IVb presents this information for women, and Table IVc for minorities. Figure 2 presents a graphic comparison of the overall tenure status of Classics faculties as derived from the Means totals of the 1990-1996 and 1997-2001 surveys.

With the exception of the 1996-97 year, in which women were reported to have been awarded 36% of PhD's granted, women were reported to have earned right around 45% of PhD's in the period from academic year 1996-97 to 2000-01. In fact, averages from all the CSWMG surveys (hovering between 40-44% throughout) show that the percentage of women earning doctorates in Classics has not changed much since the 1970's. Table VIIa presents data on the number and percentages of PhD's awarded to women and minorities, and Table VIIb presents the statistics for MA's; Figure 3 presents a comparison of Mean totals since the CSWMG began collecting this information.

These surveys present a positive picture with regard to the hiring of women, with women getting an average of 50% of tenure-track hires (see Table VIb), 46% of non-tenure-track hires (see Table VIc), and 49% of part-time hires (see Table VId). In the April 1997 report, it was noted that women were a small percentage of those hired with tenure since the CSWMG had been tracking hires. According to the data of the last five years, there may be some improvement here; 7 out of 18 (39%) reported hires with tenure were women (see Table VIa). However, although these surveys present no consistent indication that women are getting disproportionately less desirable jobs, the much more comprehensive picture given by the 2001 Placement data reported in the February 2002 Newsletter indicates otherwise. The Placement report, which includes information on 209 hires in placement year 2000-2001, found that women constituted 43.5% of these hires, but only 27% of hires with tenure, 38% of tenure-track hires, and 47% of non-tenure-track hires, as presented graphically in Figure 5 from that report. This demonstrates how a small sample can distort the picture and underlines the importance of obtaining as much data as possible. Figure 4 presents a graphic comparison of the percentage breakdown of Classics hires according to tenure status as derived from the Means totals of the 1990-1996 and 1997-2001 surveys.


The position of minorities in the field remains dismal. The average percentage of minorities in the total Classics faculty in the 1997-2001 period is 2.5% (of whom 38% are tenured see Table II and Table III), representing only a minuscule improvement over the 1.3% average for 1974-78. This picture is unlikely to change soon, since members of minority groups earned only 3.4% of the 1997-2001 doctorates reported in these surveys (see Table VIIa and Figure 3).


These surveys indicate that the number of institutions offering courses on women, minorities and sexuality is increasing; in 1997-2001, an average of 55% offered such courses, as compared with an average of 47% in 1990-1996 and 40% in 1986-1989 (see Table VIIIb). The majority of such courses are on women; courses on sexuality are considerably less common, and courses on minorities are least common of all (see Table VIIIa).

The circulation, tabulation and analysis of the surveys is an important endeavor. It is also a tedious and time-consuming one. Special thanks are in order to Adam Blistein, David Fredrick, Lisa George, Barbara McManus, and Renie Plonski for their efforts which made this report possible.

Report submitted by John Rundin, Member, CSWMG
APA Division of Professional Matters
American Philological Association
August 2002

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