January 19, 2022

New Full Text Report: “The State of the Humanities: Higher Education 2015”

The State of the Humanities: Higher Education 2015 (24 pages; PDF) was released today by the Humanities Indicators Project at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Special Note: Page 19 of the report includes a chart titled, “New North American Academic Books in Humanities Subjects, 2009–2012” and the following text:

The humanities direct a larger amount of their research energies to the publication of book-length research than do other fields. Despite concerns about the state of humanities publishing in recent years, the number of new academic titles released annually in the humanities was slightly higher in North America in 2012 than in 2009, rising from 48,597 new books published to 51,789.

While the absolute number of new titles in the humanities increased from 2009 to 2012, the field’s share of all new academic titles published in North America contracted slightly, from 45% to 43%.

From a HIP News Release:

The new report provides a more balanced and evidenced-based depiction of the health of the humanities on college and university campuses. While exploring the key trend that has fed the story of decline in the field—a shrinking share of degrees at the baccalaureate level—the report also notes signs of improvement for the humanities fields, including evidence of rising interest in the humanities at the pre-baccalaureate level (evident in rising numbers of AP tests taken and community college degrees earned), increases (from low levels, in comparison to other fields) in funding, and steady numbers in the publication of new academic titles in the field.

Other recent findings in the Indicators:

  • From 1987 to 2013, the number of associate’s degrees conferred in academic disciplines classified by the Humanities Indicators as being within the humanities (e.g., “liberal arts” and “liberal studies” fields that generally require a disproportionate number of credits in humanities subjects) increased by an average of 4.3% each year, rising from 113,587 to 338,688.
  • As a share of four-year undergraduate degrees conferred, the humanities have been losing ground to other disciplines since 2007 (falling from 12.1% of new degree recipients to 10.4% in 2013.
  • The share of undergraduate degrees earned by humanities students at private not-for-profit colleges and universities—a traditional area of strength for the field—has been shrinking for two decades, and in 2013 reached the lowest point since at least 1987.
  • In 2013, charitable giving from foundations and individuals to arts, culture, and humanities organizations reached $16.7 billion; slightly below the record high of $16.8 billion given in 2007.
  • In 2014, average SAT scores on the verbal test fell near a historic lows, and the mean score for the relatively new SAT writing test scores hit its lowest point in 2014.

Direct to Full Text Report

See Also: (New) A Check-up on the Health of the Humanities in Higher Education (via AAAS)
Additional analysis.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.