When money is flowing universities can afford to bloat departments that don’t typically produce high earning graduates. As things stand now, money is not flowing.
According to the Modern Language Association’s forecast of job listings, released Thursday, faculty positions will decline 37 percent, the biggest drop since the group began tracking its job listings 35 years ago.
The association expects about 900 English language and literature positions to be filled over the next year, a 35 percent decline from the previous year; it projects about 750 foreign-language jobs, a 39 percent drop from the year before. Typically, 1,000 to 2,000 positions have been advertised each year in each category.
To make matters worse, the share of tenure-track jobs available has been shrinking. Tenure-track positions for assistant professors made up 53 percent of the English jobs advertised and 48.5 percent of those in foreign languages. From 1997 until recently, the group said, 55 percent to 65 percent of the advertised positions were tenure-track jobs. And since part-time adjunct positions are less likely than those for tenure-track jobs to be listed with the language association, the overall share of faculty members being hired for tenure-track jobs is probably smaller than the survey indicates.