Here are some interesting data points that don’t really fit anywhere in some of the things I’m writing, or if they do, I’ll just post the big idea here and provided I get through peer review, you can read the rest of the analysis in other places. In any case, this is some quick hit data to give you a different view of the field.
Background: I have been researching and gathering data about technical and professional communication degree programs for around seven years. Part of this data has been published (see publications), but I have also been consistently updating that data so that means that the information you see here is recent–updated or gathered within the last 6-8 months. The research methodology and practices has been detailed in the published work and in a recent blog post, but if you want to know more, just email me. I’m happy to provide details or the raw data.
Technical and Professional Communication Program Administrators (TPC PAs)
Currently, there are 311 US institutions that offer a degree program in TPC. This can be anything from a minor, to a certificate, or a PhD. Many institutions, of course, offer more than one program. Someone has to be in charge of those programs. In some cases, that labor is split among people, but the vast majority of institutions have a single person in charge.
When you look at the gender breakdown of TPC PAs it looks like this:
- 55% are female
- 43% are male
- 2% are unidentified
This is not based on self identification. It is simply based on the not 100% reliable verification of name, picture, and in many cases, personal knowledge of the TPC PA. So what does the 2% identified mean? Well, it means that the website is so awful and/or so geared to enrollment (in the corporate sense) that there is no person identified as being the TPC PA. Instead, there is a generic contact number and form for you to fill out to request additional information. In most of these cases (n=6), they are programs administered through continuing education divisions or at small colleges.
In a different–but related study–some collaborators and I have been looking at the material work conditions of contingent faculty in TPC. Again, if you have questions about the methodology and research study design, just ask. This was a great case of having to do the work in a way we didn’t want to based on a number of factors (e.g., a survey was not–and is not–the best way to get the answers to the questions we really wanted to ask).
Of the 169 faculty who completed our survey, following are some demographic breakdowns:
- 72% female
- 27% male
- 2% would rather not answer
There were other choices but these are the three that received responses. Also 11 folks skipped this question.
While there is a race and ethnicity question on the follow up questionnaire that will go out to TPC PAs (I did one 5 years ago and this next one should be able to show us changes for the first time ever in the field), my guess right now (again, stress guess), is that while we have made strides with diversity, the vast majority of administrators (probably in the in 85-90% range) would identify as white/Caucasian. The strides we’ve made in diversity will probably be evident administratively within in the next 3-4 years as faculty move from early career to tenured and start stepping into more administrative roles.
My RA is about to start to work up a purposive sample to get a more accurate profile of faculty (that aren’t admins or contingent). I have some of this data, but it has holes so we need to make it a little cleaner.
- 94% white
- 3% Hispanic/LatinX
- 1% Asian
- 1% African America/Black
- 1% Multiracial
13 participants skipped this question.
Couple of interesting data points
What was really great about the participants here (in large part due to our study design) was that the respondents did represent all the institution types where TPC programs are housed in the US. As I have said in many public forums, TPC programs are mostly housed at Master’s level institutions.
Here’s one of the most surprising parts of the contingent data: 45% of faculty keeping our programs afloat do NOT identify as a TPC teacher/scholar.
Consistently on social media, you can run across a study where they are lamenting the gender gap in publishing. So this got me wondering if TPC has the same problem. So I took a look at a twenty years of authorship in TPC. (To answer that question that popped up, it was not easy and it was time consuming and a pain in the ass. And sadly, there is no way to automate it. It is butt in the chair data gathering and cleaning and coding. All told it was ~100 hours.)
So if you look at the five major journals in TPC over twenty years, here are some general data points:
- 53% male
- 47% female
This is a full on raw sort of number meaning that it of all the authors who published over 20 years 53% were male.
Overall, collaboration looks like this
- 62% 1 author
- 25% 2 authors
- 7% 3 authors
- 6% 4+ authors
But there has been an increase in collaboration over the last five years of the study. IEEE PCS is consistently the journal that publishes more collaborative scholarship.
Then if you look at a five-year snapshot (the latest years) within this set, you can get some additional details:
Empirical research over a five year snapshot (n=119) is that 61% of the pieces are collaboratively authored and 56% of the authors are men.
Pedagogical articles during the same period (n=82) is that 43% are collaboratively authored and 55% of the authors are women. Only 14% of the pedagogical studies are collaboratively authored by mixed gender teams. Of the single authored studies (57%, n=47) 30 are written by women and 17 by men. Most males authored collaboratively.
So there’s some things for y’all to think about.
Here’s to finishing the term strong. Take care of yourselves out there.