Monday, January 14, 2013
Looking for a job?
A new study from the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature found that there are fewer jobs being posted for college professors in theology and religious studies than there were prior to the economy tanking in 2008. The number of postings in 2009 was down 46 percent from the previous year across American higher education. In addition, the data show that fewer of the positions that are being offered are tenure track. In 2008, 82 percent of the positions offered were tenure track, but that number dropped to 51 percent in 2009 and 61 percent in 2010.
The study does not speculate on the reasons for the declines, but they most likely have to do with the recession that began in 2008. Other reasons could include less emphasis on religion relative to other subject areas, or lower student enrollment in religion courses.
This decline in job openings and tenure tracks for professors of theology or religious studies does not surprise me. However, if one were to narrow the statistics to include, say, only white males? Well, I think it is safe to say the decline might be considerably more precipitous. I had a friend who was denied tenure at a university and was told that if he were a Hispanic female with Jewish or African-American ancestry, there might not have been a problem but that they did not need anymore old, gray haired, white men on campus. Crude, surely. True, more than we dare to admit.
I know that there are those who will say I am being sexist and racist. My only response is that I do not do the hiring or the firing anywhere and that the statistics themselves presume a conclusion which can only be explained by preference for race and sex. That is all I am saying...