Job Opportunities Improve for Language and Literature Doctorates

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NEW YORK

A report released at the 120th Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association late last month shows that faculty positions advertised in the MLA's Job Information List (JIL) are expected to increase about 10 percent in 2004-2005. But after three years when the number of positions departments advertised in the JIL's October and December issues dropped by almost 600, the increase so far this year still leaves the number of jobs announced through December some 20 percent below the recent peak in 2000.

"We are encouraged that new Ph.D.s apparently have more opportunities this year to start their academic careers," says MLA executive director Rosemary G. Feal. "But in a period when enrollments in language courses continue to rise, institutions are relying too heavily on part-time instructors to teach language and writing courses that are fundamental to students' college experience."

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education and released in November 2004, in fall 2002 faculty members holding full-time tenured or tenure-track appointments make up only 37 percent of the faculty. Faculty members holding part-time appointments make up 44 percent of the faculty. The remaining 19 percent of faculty members hold full-time non-tenure track appointments. Across all academic fields the proportion of the faculty holding full-time academic appointments of all types has fallen more than 15 percent since 1975, while the proportion occupying part-time positions has increased by 27 percent. These figures are based on four- and two-year degree-granting institutions (excluding medical schools) that participate in the student loan and grant programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. …