February 4, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 9

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    Chicago humanities alumni top Lingua Franca survey list

    By Theresa Carson
    News Office

    Chicago led the nation in the number of alumni with graduate humanities degrees who earned full-time, junior academic positions last fall, according to Lingua Franca’s February 1999 issue. With 110, the University had 46 more than the next most frequently represented school.

    Since 1990, the academic life journal has annually listed individuals hired into academic positions, the hiring institutions and the graduate school of the individual. This year’s compilation includes 600 universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. Following Chicago, Columbia University appears most often with 64.

    “The readers want to know how successful graduate schools are in placing their graduate students in a competitive market,” said Jeffrey Kittay, founder and editor in chief of Lingua Franca. “Over time, the list is a scorecard of how departments are regarded by other schools. It is an evaluation of how faculty elsewhere think of Chicago vs. other graduate schools.”

    The process began when Lingua Franca requested from colleges and universities the names of all individuals hired to full-time, junior positions for the 1998-99 academic year. Once these lists were compiled, they were sent to the individuals’ graduate schools, which were asked to add any graduate who might have been missed.

    Kittay cautioned that the journal relies upon academic institutions to provide data, and therefore, information from some schools might be more comprehensive than others. “Results depend to a certain extent on how responsible the graduate school is in responding to our requests,” Kittay said.

    Daniel Garber, the Lawrence Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor in Philosophy and former Associate Provost serving from 1995 until 1998, said, “I think that placing graduate students is an extremely important activity about which departments and faculty should be concerned.

    “Students need to know that there is life after graduate school,” said Garber, who was instrumental in providing solid data. This information is important for the morale of graduate programs, for attracting new students and for attracting and keeping new faculty members, he said.

    Garber acknowledged that room for improvement exists. “As well as we did, there are still some students who are not getting placed, and I feel very badly about that,” he said. “On the other hand, we can be extremely proud of our ability to place students in academic jobs.”

    Comparatively, other universities cited in the data show the following placements: 57 from University of Texas at Austin, 56 from Yale University, 51 from Indiana University, 45 from University of California, Berkeley, 43 from Southern Michigan University, 41 from Cornell University and 40 from Harvard University.