February 20, 2013
A AAAS interview with economist Dr. Stephan points out that the biomedical sciences are overproducing PhDs for the research positions available inside and outside the academy and have been for some time. According to Dr. Stephan’s research, many biomedical science PhDs do not perform work for which they have been trained.
Considering that sociologists–although more than capable of interdisciplinary work–are not necessarily encouraged to perform such work (especially in light of the discipline’s concern with disciplinary identity), how will graduate education need to change to prepare students to seek out and perform interdisciplinary research?
What kind of interdisciplinary work are you being trained to do? Tell us whether you’re a PhD candidate or a postdoctoral position holder.
We thank L. Williams of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for contributing to this blog posting.
January 23, 2013
Contrary to what we all hear and say anecdotally, women and men academics in some disciplines advance to full professor at the same rate. Data from the American Historical Association’s (AHA) 2010 Career Paths survey indicate that academic historians reach full professor in the same amount of average time, regardless of gender (Townsend 2013). The differences, however, were found in the different pathways that lead women and men to the upper ranks of academia.
Townsend attempted to explain this discrepancy by not only looking at the total time it took to advance, but also the number of years between each rank, how marriage and/or family and childcare issues affected promotion, amount of time spent on professional activities, amount of productivity, and other factors. Townsend found that married male historians in this sample were promoted faster than women who were married. And although women survey respondents reported spending more time on child and other family care than men reported, the amount of time they each spent on professional activities was the same. Although there was no direct comparison of the mothers and fathers in this sample, mothers moved through the ranks faster than women who did not have children. Data from an ASA survey of the 1996/97 cohort of sociologists support this notion (Spalter-Roth and Van Vooren 2012).
Is this true across disciplines? A forthcoming study from ASA’s 2012 Time in Rank survey of full and associate professors in sociology will further explore this question, including whether there is a significant difference between the amount of time it takes men and women sociologists to advance to full professor. As we examine the data from the Time in Rank survey of sociologists, we will look at these and other factors to uncover the pathways men and women take to reach full professor and the different challenges they overcome in order to do that.
The ASA’s–as well as the AHA’s studies–are based on responses to questionnaires. What would you add to such as study? Comment below and share your thoughts with us.
September 19, 2012
According to the most recent academic Department Survey, more than eight out of 10 sociology departments carry out departmental assessments that are often demanded by college or university administrators. Faculty members have mixed feelings about doing such assessments, especially when they are ordered from the top down.
The ASA Research Department on the Discipline and the Profession has just added a new PowerPoint presentation—Program Assessment with Benchmarks: Using Data from the ASA—to our collection of free downloads. The presentation describes how ASA resources—especially data collected from our Bachelor’s and Beyond Survey, can be used to “solve” common assessment problems. These problems include the following:
- Lack of faculty time to work on assessment
- Lack of departmental consensus about what should be assessed
- Lack of student commitment to engage seriously in assessment activities
- Lack of comparative data
- Concern about reliance on “self reports”
The presentation provides examples of how these survey data can be used and how they can be enhanced through combining them with questions that test students’ conceptual and methodological knowledge.
An example of data on assessment activities.
Source: Spalter-Roth and Scelza, 2009. What’s Happening in Your Department with Assessment? Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.
We’d like to hear from you about the issues that you are having with doing assessments. Also, are you adapting or have adapted the Bachelor’s and Beyond survey or other ASA data for your department’s assessment needs? If so, how? Was this effort successful?
August 7, 2012
Recently, College Funding Resource conducted an interview with Roberta Spalter-Roth, PhD–Director of the ASA Department of Research and Development. Listen as Dr. Spalter-Roth discusses what becoming a sociologist entails, and why she places this career field among the top 100 of the decade.
January 5, 2012
The Research Department has begun a new longitudinal study of senior sociology majors from the class of 2012. To conduct this study, the ASA has asked participating departments for the names and email addresses of students that will be invited to take the survey in the Spring. Department chairs and undergraduate program directors tend to face obstacles in providing this information, including sometimes strict Institutional Review Board requirements. We invite faculty to use this space as a forum for questions and to share experiences that might help other departments facing the same obstacles.
For those of you unfamiliar with the study, visit our website to learn more, download the Phase I questionnaire, and view a list of participating departments.
March 14, 2011
The American Sociological Association hosts a breakfast meeting during the sociological regional meetings for all interested department chairs to come together and discuss the major issues they currently face within their departments and how the ASA can provide support. Most recently, department chairs met at the Eastern Sociological Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia for a lively discussion about the challenges in their departments. These are summarized below.
- Assessment seems to be less of a problem this year. Have department’s made peace with the additional requirements?
- Recruiting diverse faculty is still an ongoing issue. What are some of the successful strategies employed by other departments?
- Recruitment of majors is also a critical concern. Some departments are facing the risk of being closed, primarily due to the small number of sociology majors. Sociology classes, however, remain in high demand for fulfilling general education requirements. What strategies have been successful in increasing the number of majors to avoid losing the department?
How do these challenges compare with your department? What others issues facing your department are not mentioned here?
When posting comments to this blog discussion, please note that all blog comments are publicly visible. Do not include your name if you wish to remain anonymous.
December 14, 2010
Here are some examples of ways in which the dataset from the ASA publication, Launching Majors into Satisfying Careers: A Faculty Manual and Student Dataset, can be used to teach undergraduates data analysis. These were developed by Central Michigan professor, Dr. Mary Senter, our colleague on the Bachelors and Beyond Survey and co-author of the manual.
Click on the following topics to view a sample assignment:
We would like to hear from other faculty members who have used the publication (even if not the dataset) in their classrooms. Feel free to post comments, questions, and links to your own materials.
Note: all comments are publicly visible. Do not include personal information if you wish to remain anonymous.
Click here to view an excerpt of Launching Majors into Satisfying Careers.
Photo by vlasta2
August 9, 2010
Each year, we conduct an audit of jobs advertised in the ASA Job Bank. (Findings from the previous years can be found in Too Many or Too Few PhDs? Employment Opportunities in Academic Sociology (2006 data) and Down Market? Findings from the 2008 ASA Job Bank Survey). In 2008, we expanded our study beyond comparing the number of academic and non-academic positions to include a survey of departments that advertised at least one assistant or open rank position in order to find out what happened to those jobs. Were their searches successful and, if so, were they filled at the rank of assistant professor? How many jobs were canceled or searches suspended due to a hiring freeze? Where openings remained vacant because of cancellations or other reasons, would temporary faculty be used to fill the gap? Because information on the job market is most useful to new PhDs, our survey is limited to departments that advertised positions for which newly minted PhDs can apply.
As reported in our new research brief, Still a Down Market: Findings from the 2009/2010 Job Bank Survey, the total number of jobs advertised has continued to decline since 2006. The number of jobs advertised has continued to decline since 2006, a finding similar to those reported by other social science and humanities disciplines. Comparing all jobs advertised by U.S. and foreign institutions in 2009 to those in 2008, we find fewer academic positions, but slightly more non-academic positions. Assistant and open rank faculty positions, which account for a majority of academic positions advertised in the ASA Job Bank (92% in 2009) fell 35% while the number of advertising departments fell 32% compared to 2008-2009 figures. On a somewhat optimistic note, searches were conducted in almost all cases, and about 86% of those were successful. Read more findings, including information on jobs not filled, and comparisons by departments and types of institutions in our new research brief.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Click here to post your comments and questions. As we will continue this study next year, we welcome suggestions as to what data we should collect for future studies on the job market for sociologists.
All comments are public, do not include your name if you wish to remain anonymous.
February 24, 2010
Below is a recording of a workshop held at the Eastern Sociological Society’s annual meeting in Baltimore in 2009. Research director, Roberta Spalter-Roth, discusses findings from a longitudinal study that was designed to track sociology baccalaureates from the Class of 2005. This presentation highlights findings reported in previous research briefs from this study, which you can find on our Bachelors and Beyond webpage. At a later date, we will be posting the workshop presentation of Mary Senter, of the University of Central Michigan, who has worked with us in this study.
Feel free to leave comments and ask questions by clicking “Add Comment” at the end of this post. Do not include your name if you wish to remain anonymous.
December 9, 2009
The American Sociological Association launched it’s new website this month. The new URL is http://www.asanet.org/
Click here to leave comments.
Note: Do not provide your name in comments if you wish to remain anonymous.