Background

In May 2019, the LSA Executive Committee approved the appointment of an Ad-hoc Data Issues Workgroup, comprised of representatives of various LSA committees (see below for a list). The purpose of this workgroup is to explore mechanisms for enhancing the LSA's data collection, analysis and reporting about key demographic characteristics of the linguistics community, including the LSA’s two online directories: 1) membership; and 2) departments and programs. The Workgroup has developed a framework for this project, and we invite member comments and suggestions for the best ways to achieve our goals. Please use the comment facility at the bottom of this page for this purpose. 

Goals

  1. To collect, analyze and report on data relating to the demographics of the linguistics community
  2. To develop a more complete picture of the linguistics community and how it is changing over time, with particular emphasis on those based in North America
  3. To map out strategy around cross-cutting issues of priority interest:
  4. Examine the long-term trends in the demographic profile of the linguistics community and what is causing them. Do data provide insights into possible causes?
  5. To address challenges and barriers to fulfilling our goals in this area
  6. To enhance existing LSA data infrastructure, bearing the purposes of the data in mind
  7. To explore new forms of LSA-sponsored data gathering/reporting
  8. To support enhancements to external infrastructure that allow for greater disaggregation of data about linguists/linguistics

Ideally, any picture developed would account for demographic disparities across the dimensions outlined below.

Demographic variables of interest: 

  • nationality; gender; race/ethnicity; sexual identity; disability status; linguistic subfield; employment sector (academia, industry, government, other); highest degree earned; tenure status; other (age groups)
  • for data reported on behalf of groups of individuals: 
    • US versus other countries; type of academic sub-entity (Lx dept/program; other dept/program);

Definitions

By “linguist”, we mean people who have a graduate degree in Linguistics, as well as people who knowingly recruit knowledge of linguistics or teach linguistics as part of their profession, avocation, or advocacy work.

Potential Research Questions:

Assumptions: Disaggregation by demographic variables and year/longitudinal variable

External (Sourced from Departmental, Federal, Allied Organizations)

  • How many students are enrolled in a linguistics course?
    • All courses in the program? In each Semester/Quarter?
  • How many students are majoring in linguistics? [There are institutions that only offer a minor in linguistics. However, students with a minor in linguistics and a major in a related field go on to earn graduate degrees in linguistics]
  • How many degrees are awarded (B, M, PhD)?
  • What are the career outcomes (Short term? Long term? In general?) for those with any degree in Lx?
  • For those linguists affiliated with academia:
    • How many are tenured or on tenure track?
  • What are the salaries of those who have earned degrees in Lx?

Internal (Sourced from LSA Databases)

  • What are the demographics of those who submit abstracts for the LSA meeting?
    • For those accepted?
  • What are the demographics of those who submit articles to LSA journals?
    • For those accepted?
  • What are the demographics of those who serve as faculty at the Linguistic Institute?
    • For those invited and those selected through the call for course proposals
  • What are the demographics of those who are nominated and selected for various LSA honors and awards?
    • Student fellowships to the Linguistic Institute
    • Awards, Fellows, Honorary Members
  • What are the demographics of students who attend Linguistic Institutes?
  • What are the demographics of those who attend LSA meetings?
    • And those who attend “Sister Society” meetings concurrent with LSA
  • What are the demographics of LSA members in the subfields listed on in the member profile?

Linguistics Community (sources TBD)

  • What are the demographics of those who submit abstracts for conferences related to linguistics (to be agreed upon by this group)
    • For those accepted?
  • What are the demographics of those who submit articles for linguistics publications (to be agreed upon by this group)?
    • For those accepted?
    • Committee of Editors of Linguistics Journals for reference

Big Picture

  • What are the trends for diversity in linguistics over time?
  • Based on federal data already available, we know that undergraduate degree production in Lx almost double in recent years and then leveled off. Why?
  • Based on departmental data already collected, we know that women not advancing into senior faculty positions at the same rate as men. Why not?
  • How can the LSA best serve the needs of graduate students interested in non-academic careers?
  • Do we know how many PhD linguists are employed
    • outside academia or
    • outside linguistics departments within academia?
  • How does Lx compare with the demographics of other STEM and humanities fields? Higher ed as a whole?

Mechanistic Notes

This effort will require collecting data on a regular basis, perhaps a subset every x number of years or every year, and then intensive data collection at a greater interval, and then there have to be longitudinal analyses. Some of this is already occurring, via the LSA databases, external surveys and federal agencies.

Workgroup Membership

Committee                            Representative

HMC                                     Ellen Brosselow

LiHE                                      Rafael Orozco

CEDL                                    Chandan Narayan, Jessi Grieser

CLIF                                      Kristen Syrett

Ethics                                    Christine Mallinson, Alireza Salehi-Nejad

COGEL (formerly COSWL)   Melissa Baese-Berk

CELxJ                                   Joe Salmons

CELP                                     Aroline Hanson

CoSCiL                                  Lauren Collister

LiSC                                      Daniel Ginsberg

LSA                                       Alyson Reed

As of April 2021, the Workgroup also includes:

COZIL                                  Sunny Ananthanarayan 

LBA-SIG                               Emily Pace