Dear CCHA Members:
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has just released its “Humanities Education in Community Colleges Pilot Study” and the results are very encouraging as we compare the relationships between humanities education, numbers of students, and two-year colleges. Here are some major highlights and talking points:
- About 2.8 million students took a humanities course for credit at a community college in the fall of 2015 (the year for which data were collected). They accounted for approximately 40 percent of all community college students taking courses for credit that term.
- Over 1.7 million students took at least one course in English, and approximately 700,000 students took a history course. About 300,000 enrolled in courses in languages other than English. More than 255,000 community college students took a philosophy course. Additionally, between 400,000 and 450,000 students took a course in another humanities discipline or a survey course in the humanities.
- About 70,000 faculty members taught at least one college-level humanities course for credit at community colleges, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all community college faculty.
- The student-faculty ratio in the humanities is “substantially higher” than the ratio for community colleges generally. The student-faculty ratio for courses in the humanities was 40 to one, compared to 20 to one for all community college courses. Philosophy has the highest student-faculty ratio among the humanities disciplines examined, with about 50 students for each faculty member. The lowest ratio among the humanities disciplines, at 26 students per faculty member, was in foreign languages.
- High school students in dual enrollment programs made up about 10 percent of humanities students at community colleges.
- The study found regional differences in humanities course taking. About 35 percent of community college students are in the South, but they make up only 24 percent of those taking foreign languages. But they make up 45 percent of community college students studying history. Community college students in the West are less likely to be studying the humanities than are other community college students, but they are more likely to be studying languages other than English.
We like to think that everyone in CCHA is an ambassador for the humanities. I hope you will take the time to study the information in the report and make every effort to reach out to your administrators and local media to help create a clearer picture of the humanities in community colleges.
CCHA Executive Director
*A copy of this report is available for download HERE.