The Society of Biblical Literature
is the oldest and largest international scholarly membership organization in the field of biblical studies. Founded in 1880, the Society has grown to over 8,500 international members including teachers, students, religious leaders and individuals from all walks of life who share a mutual interest in the critical investigation of the Bible.
Career Resources Snapshot
The AAUP recently released its Annual
Report on the Economic Status of the Profession. Note especially a
supplemental data report entitled The
Employment Status of Instructional Staff Members in Higher Education, Fall 2011,
which compiles fall 2011 IPEDS data on employment status and provides breakouts
by institutional categories, gender, and race or ethnicity. This report adds to
the 2010 CAW survey
in efforts to develop comprehensive national data on working conditions,
careers, and compensation of academics in contingent appointments.
a Hierarchy, We're an Ecosystem February 25, 2013
Graduate programs should ignore the rankings and find their
Do you have your own alt-ac story? Let us know about it
for information about the
Employment Center, sponsored by SBL and the American Academy of Religion, which
provides the opportunity for employers and those seeking employment to register
for interviews at the Annual Meetings, as well as interview facilities, job
listings, candidate credentials, and a messaging service.
Tools and Advocacy
SBL strives to provide the most applicable professional development resources to its members.
On the Tools and Advocacy
- Grants and Fellowships - with brief notes on the grant or fellowship itself and the field it concerns
- Websites - helpful resources on outside sites
- Articles - on current topics related to the job market in the field of religion scholarship
Growing Concerns with the increase of Contingent Faculty Positions
SBL works with many different organizations and institutions to
enrich and broaden the spectrum of resources that the Society can offer
members. Its affiliation with the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW)
addresses issues of contingent academic employment, working conditions, and
their effect on college and university students in the United States. Many of
you participated in CAW’s
fall 2010 survey, which inquired about course assignments, salaries,
benefits, and general working conditions as members of the contingent academic
workforce experience them at the institutional level. Such data are critical to
our work in SBL, the future of our Society, and the Society’s context within
CAW is a group of higher education associations, disciplinary
associations, and faculty organizations committed to addressing issues
associated with deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on
college and university students in the United States. When faculty members are
not sufficiently supported, they are not able to provide students with the
highest quality learning experience. The survey finds that faculty employed in
contingent positions are not provided with the support resources necessary to
excel and consistently provide such a learning experience for their students.
Faculty employed part-time and paid the low wages documented in this report
would likely need to find some other means for supporting themselves, which
takes time and energy away from their teaching and interaction with students.
Moreover, while the survey primarily addressed material working conditions,
comments received at the end of the survey confirm the common belief that such
faculty operate under inordinate stress and uncertainty, often self-censor in
various ways out of a fear of repercussions or losing their jobs, and are left
out of governance discussions that affect them.
Equally critical are data from a new study by the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success.
The data report discusses
the impact of contingent working conditions on student learning outcomes,
supporting the claim that under the working conditions that many contingent
faculty face, they are not able to provide students with the highest quality
learning experience. See the Research and
Reports tab on the Coalition's website for more information on the history,
problems, and details surrounding this important segment of our field. Given
the fact that most of the academic workforce is employed in full and part-time
contingent positions, all faculty need to pay close attention to what is
happening in their own institutions. According to data from the United
States Department of Education’s 2009 Fall Staff Survey, of the nearly 1.8
million faculty members and instructors who made up the 2009 instructional
workforce in degree-granting two- and four-year institutions of higher
education in the United States, more than 1.3 million (75.5%) were employed in
contingent positions off the tenure track, either as part-time or adjunct
faculty members, full-time non-tenure-track faculty members, or graduate
student teaching assistants.
As a professional organization, SBL takes these issues
seriously. SBL provides affordable avenues for professional enrichment and
scholarly support. It convenes numerous sessions and events to bolster the
pursuits of faculty members. And it works with membership and professional
organizations to advocate for higher education and the importance of
scholarship in society. Participation in CAW and with other organizations on
issues of contingent academic employment fall among these pursuits and will
continue to serve SBL members as they face the dynamics of the academic
workforce and the problems that confront higher education.
The market continues to change but there are underlying constants:
- a core of faculty positions at private not-for-profit U.S.-based institutions
that are mostly tenure-track.
- Recent small uptick in entry-level and contingent positions
- Recent small downtick in upper-level positions.
- Course load for the average faculty has decreased, as has the degree to which
various skills and experiences are required by hiring institutions.
iteration of the jobs report focuses on data from January 1, 2013 through June
the full report here.
1, 2011 through December 31, 2012
1, 2001 through December 31, 2010.
Partnership and Collaboration
SBL partners with organizations in the fields of religious, theological, and biblical scholarship that are invaluable to its members. Partners include:
By listing jobs with SBL, contributing professional development resources, informing members of organization activities, or collaborating on diverse initiatives, these organizations are shaping a broad and useful axis for the field.
If your organization is interested in partnering with SBL, please contact us
Jobs at the Annual Meeting
To access employment listings advertised with SBL and the American Academy of Religion, click "find a job" to the left or click here
For analysis of the number and types of jobs listed with SBL and AAR, check out the latest jobs report
The Employment Center, sponsored by SBL and the American Academy of Religion, provides the opportunity for employers and those seeking employment to register for interviews at the Annual Meetings, as well as interview facilities, job listings, candidate credentials, and a messaging service. For more information, click "jobs at the Annual Meeting" to the left or click here