AAC&U Documents Liberal Arts Success

A new AAC&U report by Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly provides ample evidence of the role and value of a liberal arts education.  Here is a quote from the forward:

In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths, Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly address the concerns about whether college is still worth it and whether “liberal arts” majors provide a solid foundation for long-term employment and career success. Responding directly to the recent assaults on the humanities and social sciences, this report compares earnings trajectories and career pathways for liberal arts majors with the earnings trajectories and career pathways for those majoring in science and mathematics, engineering, and professional or preprofessional fields such as business or education. Readers who value the liberal arts will, we believe, find the results reassuring.

There is a much larger case—beyond the purely vocational or economic case—to be made for study in the humanities and social sciences, of course. These fields build the capacity to understand our collective histories, ideals, aspirations, and social systems. They are indispensable to the vitality of our democracy and to the future of global understanding, engagement, and community.

A number of interesting key findings point to the short-term and long-term economic viability of the liberal arts degree:

Liberal Arts Majors Close Earnings Gaps—Earn More than Professional Majors at Peak Earnings Ages

  • At peak earnings ages (56-60 years) workers who majored as undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences earn annually on average about $2000 more than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional fields. These data include all college graduates working full-time, including those with only a baccalaureate degree and those with both a baccalaureate and graduate or professional degree.

Unemployment Rates are Low for Liberal Arts Graduates—and Decline over Time

  • The unemployment rate for recent liberal arts graduates is 5.2 percent. The unemployment rate for mature workers with liberal arts degrees (41-50) is 3.5 percent—just .04 percent higher than the rates for those with a professional or preprofessional degree.


Letter Sent to Quaker Campus

To: The QC Editor

Re: “Adjunct professors begin to organize for unionization” (QC October 17, 2013)


As adjunct professors come to play a larger role in the Whittier College curriculum, the issues that they face become the issues that we all face.  Helping Whittier College be a place of employment that values adjuncts is also in all of our interests.  For these reasons, the Whittier College Chapter of AAUP supports our adjunct colleagues’ efforts to improve their terms of employment, which may include the formation of a union should they choose to do so, to voice and further their interests. We also invite all adjunct professors to join our Whittier College Chapter of AAUP.




Robert Marks

Acting President

Whittier College Chapter of AAUP


Faculty at Whittier College reconstituted an Advocacy Chapter of AAUP (the American Association of University Professors) after almost a thirty-year hiatus. The College had an active AAUP chapter in the 1970s and 1980s, and AAUP guidelines were instrumental to tenure and promotion policies and other principles of the Whittier College Faculty Handbook that remain in practice today.  One member of both the former and revived chapter, Joseph Price, Genevieve S. Connick Professor of Religious Studies, reflected, “More than thirty years ago when I accepted my first faculty position, two senior colleagues at Whittier encouraged me to join them as members of AAUP.  I did and benefited greatly, learning strong ways to work on behalf of faculty. Now that a Whittier chapter of AAUP has been reconstituted, I have enthusiastically re-affiliated with several long-time friends and a new generation of colleagues to promote faculty well-being.”

The Whittier chapter will support the policies and goals of the national association, including advancing the standards, ideals, utility and welfare of the profession. Robert B. Marks, the Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of History and Environmental Studies is serving as Interim President of the Whittier Chapter of AAUP and formally announced AAUP’s recognition of the chapter on Thursday October 3, 2013.  “Bob” Marks said, “The re-establishment of the Whittier College AAUP Chapter will bring positive attention to the college and focus on the strengths of the academic program. Faculty at Whittier College work incredibly closely with our students to produce global citizens but they also are productive scholars, fundraisers, and part-time administrators. AAUP recognizes the many hats faculty wear and the protections and benefits they deserve.”

Elizabeth Sage, Interim Secretary-Treasurer and Associate Professor of History agrees, “The changing higher education landscape presents us with unique challenges and also unique opportunities. It is imperative that faculty work closely with all members of the college community from trustees to adjuncts and staff to live up to the mission of the college.” The chapter is already very active with scheduled events during alumni weekend October 18-20. Please visit our website wcaaup.org for upcoming events.

About the AAUP
The AAUP’s purpose is to advance academic freedom and shared governance, to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education, and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good. From: http://www.aaup.org/about-aaup

Whittier College Mission Statement
Whittier College is a residential four-year liberal arts institution that prepares students from diverse backgrounds to excel in a complex global society. Through challenging, interactive courses, taught by accomplished professors, students learn to make connections across disciplines, understand cultural perspectives, and integrate learning with practical application. Inspired by a Quaker heritage, the Whittier education equips students to be active citizens and effective communicators who embrace diversity and act with integrity. From: www.whittier.edu/about/mission


Join us for the conversation this Friday at 10 am

Quaker Values and Giving Back

Join us for the conversation this Friday (10/18/13) 

Please join Faculty, Students and Alums for two conversations on Whittier’s past, present and future.

Quaker Values and the Curriculum: 10 am in Hoover 004a

Alumni Speak, or “Why I Give”: 11:30 am in Hoover 004a


Academe Magazine — latest issue

Hello, all.

Just wanted to point out that the latest issue of Academe (your one “real” benefit of your AAUP membership!!) has a number of interesting articles about most of the issues we are currently debating at Whittier, including on-line education.  It also contains a discussion with one small college’s AAUP chapter president which mentions how his chapter works with other elected faculty bodies on his campus — a topic we talked about ourselves last week.

It’s somewhat depressing reading, though, so don’t do it before bed.


Re-establishing Whittier College’s Local AAUP Chapter

We are pleased to announce that the Whittier College Chapter of AAUP has been re-established.  AAUP (the American Association of University Professors) is a professional organization established in 1915 for the purpose of protecting academic freedom, pursuing effective shared governance of colleges and universities, and advocating that colleges and universities provide adequate compensation to faculty to make the profession attractive.  These ideas and goals are spelled out in the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” which can be found in the Whittier College FacultyHandbook, Appendix 1.  Whittier College had an active AAUP chapter in the 1970s, and AAUP guidelines were instrumental in the establishment of key aspects of our faculty governance system.

From time to time the Whittier Chapter of AAUP will host presentations and discussions of ideas central to the concerns of AAUP as a professional organization; these will be advertised and open to all faculty.  Also, there will be occasional meetings of the chapter that will be restricted to members only.  For membership information, please contact any of the following:


Bob Marks, President

Anne Sebanc, Vice President

Elizabeth Sage, Secretary Treasurer.