Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Undergraduate Catalog and Data

One of the great things about universities is the vast amount of data that's published about the inner workings of the organization. I love reading the reports produced by the office of institutional research. (I also love census reports and public health data.) At this university the office of institutional research (your university has one, too) publishes everything from statistical descriptions of the freshman class to faculty salary data. Love it all. And now I have the new Undergraduate Catalog (a paper version! I guess everyone else hated last years experimint with .pdf-only as much as I did) and its great data. (And I don't feel bad talking about it here, as it is published in the Undergraduate Catalog -- which is widely distributed in both paper and electronic form.)

The most interesting part so far is under the heading "Department of ENGLISH." There is a listing of all faculty by rank, including highest degree earned (and where from). The English department has pretty close to a 50-50 split between {tenured/tenure-track} and {non-tenure-eligible-full-time} faculty. The tenured/tenure-track faculty all have terminal degrees (PhD or MFA); none of them earned their degree here. Among the non-tenure-eligible-full-time faculty, about two-thirds of them have terminal degrees. Almost everyone with an MA earned it here. Of the non-tenure-eligible-full-time-faculty with PhDs, about half of them earned their degrees here. This, I believe, says a fair amount about the job market in English and the university's desire to teach Freshman English in a cost-effective manner.