Language, literature jobs decline for third consecutive year – Noteworthy News
The decline in the hiring of tenure-track language and literature professors continues, according to the latest report by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
Based on statistics compiled from the MLA’s Job Information List (JIL) for the 2002-2003 academic year (the latest year for which complete statistics are available), the number of jobs that U.S. and Canadian college and university English departments advertised in the JIL fell by 8.3 percent since 2000-2001 (from 1,828 to 1,680). The number of foreign language positions advertised fell by 7.8 percent since 2000-2001 (from 1,482 to 1,367). Based on jobs advertised in the JIL so far this academic year (2003-2004), jobs in both English and foreign languages are projected to drop at least another 10 percent.
“Regrettably, colleges and universities are hiring fewer tenure-track teachers at the very moment when college enrollments are at an all-time high and there is a great national demand for language study,” said Dr. Rosemary G. Feal, executive director of the MLA. “Moreover, there are many highly qualified candidates ready to use their expertise to help meet this need.”
MLA studies of job placement for new language and literature Ph.D.s show that between 200 and 300 new degree recipients in foreign languages and between 300 and 500 new degree recipients in English are placed in tenure-track positions in any given year. According to the federal government’s Survey of Earned Documents (SED), in 2002 (the latest year for which statistics are available) U.S. universities graduated 623 new doctorates in foreign languages and 968 new doctorates in English. The MLA has conducted 11 studies of Ph.D. placement since the mid-1970s. The latest covered job seekers who received their doctorates in academic year 2000-2001.
Advertisements for English language job openings are predominately in the areas of composition, British literature and American literature. Spanish language positions represent the greatest share (45 percent) of all openings in foreign languages.
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