NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL SURVEY
[APA Newsletter] Editor's Note: In the summer of 1993, the APA, as well as other learned societies which are constituent members of the ACLS, expressed concern about the accuracy of the data presented for review in the NRC's survey of Research-Doctorate Programs (see October 1993 Newsletter p.4-6). The following correspondence represents subsequent actions taken by the APA's Board of Directors and the NRC's response:
February 9, 1994
Mr. Alan FechterExecutive Director Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, DC 20418
Dear Mr. Fechter:
At the most recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the American Philological Association, the Directors discussed at considerable length the National Research Council's Study of Research Doctorate Programs in the United States, scheduled for publication in the spring of 1994. The APA Directors unanimously voted to communicate to the National Research Council its continuing concern about the accuracy of the data collected for doctoral programs in the Classics, as well as the omission of several such doctoral programs. The APA's Board of Directors, therefore, urges the National Research Council to indicate in a prominent position in its Study of Research Programs in the United States the difficulties encountered in gathering the survey data and the omission of some programs. The APA's Board of Directors also strongly recommends that for future surveys the National Research Council works closely with the learned societies which have more current institutional information than that utilized by the National Research Council in its 1993 survey.
In the present decade academia and many of its institutions have been subject to very close scrutiny and frequently attacked by the press, the public at-large, and many state legislatures, not to mention many university administrators who rely on external surveys to wield fiscal cleavers. During the last few years the APA has witnessed a rapidly growing reliance by such university administrators, funding agencies and state accrediting boards on external surveys, including the APA's own data-base of all doctoral programs in the Classics. It is because of this heightened awareness on the part of the APA of the use of such surveys, that the APA Directors are deeply concerned that 13 doctoral programs in classics are omitted from the NRC survey and that of the faculty lists of the programs included 80% contained errors. The APA's Board of Directors acknowledges the significant influence which the NRC's Study of Research Doctorate Programs in the United States may have on many disciplines, institutions and individual departments and for that reason recommends that all measures be taken by the NRC to ensure that the survey contains complete and accurate data.
Sincerely, William J. Ziobro Secretary-Treasurer
February 25, 1994
Dr. William J. Ziobro Secretary-Treasure The American Philological Association College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA 01610
Dear Dr. Ziobro:
Thank you for your recent letter reflecting the concerns of your Board about the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our coverage of doctoral programs in the Classics in our study of research-doctorate programs in the United States. The committee approached its task with the greatest care, and developed strict criteria for the inclusion of fields as well as programs for this study. Their approach has been to work with participating universities and to rely on the institutional coordinators to gather the information needed. Even with this approach, the committee is aware that numerous meritorious programs have not been included in the 1994 analysis and that there may be discrepancies between the faculty lists provided by the coordinators and departmental lists. It is their intention to make every effort to alert readers to these types of limitations to the study.
In the meantime, I am sending a copy of your letter to the committee co-chairs for their information and will ask them to take your concerns into account when drafting the final report. The committee is acutely aware of the difficult fiscal environment in which its report will be released. And it shares your interest in assuring that the users of the results of this study understand the goals of the study and the appropriate application of the results in the university sector.
I appreciate the time you've taken to outline your concerns. We will do all that we can to address them in the course of completing this project.
Sincerely yours, Alan Fechter NRC