THE CENTER FOR A PUBLIC ANTHROPOLOGY'S 2006 NATIONAL RANKINGS OF PUBLIC OUTREACH IN ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENTS COMPARED WITH THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL'S 1993/95 NATIONAL RANKINGS OF SCHOLARLY QUALITY IN THESE DEPARTMENTS

The Center for a Public Anthropology's National Rankings of Public Outreach Based on the Degree to Which an Anthropology Department and Its Faculty Address the Concerns of the Broader Society (2006)
The National Research Council's Rankings of Scholarly Quality Based on the Academic Achievements and Competence of an Anthropology Department's Faculty Members (1993/95)

Ranking Determined by Assessments of a Non-Random Sample of All Full-Time
Anthropology Faculty in American Anthropology Departments and Programs Listed in the AAA Guide. 1428 Respondents Out of a Total Potential Pool of 3551 Assessors Chose to Participate in the Assessment. The Participation Rate (1428/3551) was thus 40.21%.
Ranking Determined by Assessments of a Non-Random Sample Selected by University Administrators in the 69 Schools Being Assessed. 19.7% of the Faculty (268/1363) in Anthropology Departments Were Selected To Be Assessors of Which Half Actually Chose To Participate in the Project (134/268). The Participation Rate (134/1363) was thus 9.83% .

1. Michigan State University (3.137)
2. University of South Florida (3.078)
3. University of Pennsylvania (2.922)
4. Arizona State University (2.863)
5. University of California, Berkeley (2.843)
6. Emory University (2.769)
7. University of Arizona (2.731)
8. University of California, Irvine (2.712)
8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2.712)
9. Boston University (2.686)
1.5 University of Michigan (4.77)
1.5 University of Chicago (4.77)
3. Univ. of California, Berkeley (4.51)
4. Harvard University (4.43)
5. University of Arizona (4.11)
6. University of Pennsylvania (3.94)
7. Stanford University (3.71)
9. Yale University (3.67)
9. Univ. of California, Los Angeles (3.67)
9. Univ. of California, San Diego (3.67)
9. Harvard University (2.686)
9. University of Washington (2.686)
10. Brown University (2.673)
10. New York University (2.673)
10. University of Florida (2.673)
10. University of Hawaii at Manoa (2.673)
11. University of New Mexico (2.660)
11 Indiana University (2.660)
11. University of Texas, Austin (2.660)
12. University of Connecticut (2.647)
11. University of Florida (3.65)
12. University of Texas, Austin (3.62)
13. New York University (3.60)
14. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana (3.59)
15. Univ. of California, Davis (3.51)
16. Columbia University (3.49)
17. Washington University (3.42)
18.5 Duke University (3.41)
18.5 Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (3.41)
20. Univ. of Calif., Santa Barbara (3.40)
13. University of Pittsburgh (2.627)
14. Case Western Reserve (2.620)
14. Univ. of California, Los Angeles (2.620)
14. University of Chicago (2.620)
15. Washington University (2.608)
16. University of Wisconsin, Madison (2.592)
17. Northwestern University (2.588)
18. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana (2.580)
18. University of Oregon (2.580)
19. Duke University - Cultural (2.571)
21.5 John Hopkins University (3.39)
21.5 City of N.Y., Graduate School (3.39)
23.5 University of Virginia (3.38)
23.5 Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick (3.38)
25. University of Pittsburgh (3.34)
26. Arizona State University (3.31)
27. Princeton University (3.30)
29. Indiana University (3.24)
29. University of Washington (3.24)
29. Univ. of N. C., Chapel Hill (3.24)

20. Pennsylvania State University (2.560)
20. University of Georgia (2.560)
20. Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst (2.560)
21. University of Colorado, Boulder (2.540)
21. University of Missouri, Columbia (2.540)
22. City University of New York (2.538)
23. Stanford University - Cultural (2.520)
23. University of Southern California (2.520)
24. Texas A&M University (2.500)
24.
University of California, Riverside (2.500)

31. Cornell University (3.21)
32. Pennsylvania State University (3.18)
33. Southern Methodist University (3.10)
34. Northwestern University (3.09)
35. Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst (3.04)
36. State Univ. of N.Y., Binghamton (3.02)
37. State Univ. of N. Y., Buffalo (3.01)
38. State Univ. of N. Y., Stony Brook (2.97)
39. State Univ. of N. Y., Albany (2.82)
40. University of Connecticut (2.80)

25. University of California, Davis (2.480)
26. Cornell University (2.469)
26. Syracuse University (2.469)
27. Ohio State University (2.460)
27. Stanford Univ. - Anthro. Sciences (2.460)
27. State Univ. of N. Y. at Binghamton (2.460)
27. University of Iowa (2.460)
28. Duke University - Biological (2.449)
28. State Univ. of N.Y. at Buffalo (2.449)
28. University of Utah (2.449)

41. University of Hawaii, Manoa (2.78)
42. Southern Illinois University (2.76)
43.5 Brown University (2.73)
43.5 University of Iowa (2.73)
45. University of Oregon (2.66)
46. Michigan State University (2.58)
47.5 Tulane University (2.56)
47.5 University of Utah (2.56)
49. University of Kentucky (2.51)
50. University of Minnesota (2.49)
29. Columbia University (2.440)
29. Southern Methodist University (2.440)
30. Southern Illinois Univ. Carbondale (2.429)
30. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (2.429)
30. Univ. of N. C., Chapel Hill (2.429)
31. Rutgers University, New Brunswick (2.420)
31. State Univ. of N. Y. at Albany (2.420)
32. Johns Hopkins University (2.408)
32. State Univ. of N.Y. at Stony Brook (2.408)
32. Wayne State University (2.408)
51. Boston University (2.44)
52. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville (2.42)
53.5 University of Missouri, Columbia (2.40)
53.5 Temple University (2.40)
55.5 University of Colorado (2.39)
55.5 Univ. of California, Riverside (2.39)
57.5 Vanderbilt University (2.35)
57.5 University of Kansas (2.35)
59. Brandeis University (2.28)
60. University of South Florida (2.17)
32. Yale University (2.408)
33. University of Kentucky (2.388)
33. University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2.388)
34. American University (2.367)
34. Princeton University (2.367)
34. University of Kansas (2.367)
35. Catholic University of America (2.360)
36. Univ. of California, San Diego (2.347)
37. Tulane University (2.327)
37. University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2.327)
61. Syracuse University (2.09)
62. Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (2.08)
63. Washington State University (2.00)
64. Wayne State University (1.98)
66. University of Oklahoma (1.89)
66. University of Rochester (1.89)
66. Ohio State University (1.89)
68. American University (1.86)
69. Catholic University of America (1.21)
NA Case Western Reserve University
38. Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis (2.306)
38. University of Oklahoma (2.306)
39. Vanderbilt University (2.280)
40. Rice University (2.265)
40. University of Alaska Fairbanks (2.265)
41. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (2.260)
42. Temple University (2.245)
42. Washington State University (2.245)
43. University of Nevada, Reno (2.224)
44. Brandeis University (2.204)
NA Emory University
NA Purdue University
NA New School University
NA Rice University

NA Texas A & M University
NA University of Alaska, Fairbanks
NA University of California, Irvine
NA University of California, Santa Cruz
NA University of Georgia
NA University of Nevada, Reno
45. University of Virginia (2.200)
46. Purdue University (1.837)
47. New School University (1.327)
NA University of New Mexico
NA University of Southern California

 

 

EXPLANATORY DETAILS ON RANKINGS

TOPIC OF ASSESSMENT

Public outreach was defined in the Public Anthropology Assessment as addressing social concerns in the broader world beyond the university. Assessors were provided with three categories of information on each department assessed: (1) the number and types of programs associated with a particular department that focused on public issues and public outreach; (2) the number and types of public outreach activities -- past and present -- that individual faculty members within a department chose to describe; and (3) following the example of ISI's Social Sciences Citation Index, the degree to which individual faculty members within a department were cited in prominent printed media.

The National Research Council (NRC) Assessment, in assessing the scholarly quality of a department, considered “the scholarly competence and achievements of the faculty” in a department (from Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States, 1995:124). Assessors used a list of the full-time faculty in a department to arrive at their assessments.

SAMPLE SIZE

Public Outreach Assessment: The pool of potential assessors (or sample) included all full-time faculty within American anthropology departments listed in the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Guide. Because the assessment took more than two years to prepare, both the 2005 and the 2006 AAA Guides were used. The assessment included 394 schools. The anthropology departments and programs at these schools collectively had 3613 full-time faculty members.

Despite repeated efforts to correct "bounced emails" – emails that were returned from the receiver's server without passing through to the actual individual the email was sent to – "bounced emails" varied during the assessment from between 62 and 89. Taking a cautious approach, I used the lower "bounced" rate, 62, and subtracted it from 3613, leaving 3551. It made no sense to include in the sample people who never received the Assessment's emails and, hence, could not participate.

Unsubscribes, individuals who were deleted from the email list, numbered 363. Of these, roughly ½ deleted themselves and ½ were deleted by me. I deleted individuals, for example, who indicated they were not anthropologists (though listed in the AAA Guide) as well as individuals who indicated (in an email) they were no longer full-time faculty and/or affiliated with the department they were listed under. I included all 363 unsubscribes as part of the 3551 sample. One might have made a case for deleting them. But I decided to take a cautious approach in this regard.

I also left in the sample all emails that were returned because the recipient was described as "out of the office" (or some similar such phrasing). A close look at those who participated in the assessment indicated that some of those listed in the out of office category were indeed participating.

In brief, then sample size (or pool of potential assessors) was 3551. 1428 faculty participated in the Public Outreach Assessment. The participate rate for the assessment was thus 1428/3551 or 40.21%.

National Research Council (NRC) Assessment: University administrators at each of the 69 schools involved in the 1993/95 NRC project selected the sample of participants. In all, 268 were selected from the total number of anthropology faculty -- 1368 -- at these schools. In other words, 19.7% of the faculty (268/1363) were selected to participate of which half (134/268) actually completed the NRC Assessment. Thus, 9.83% of the total 1363 anthropology faculty at the 69 departments being assessed in the NRC project participated.

INFORMATION PROVIDED TO ASSESSORS FOR MAKING THEIR ASSESSMENTS REGARDING A DEPARTMENT'S RANKING

Public Outreach Assessment: Assessors examined the outreach programs associated with a particular department as well as the outreach activities of individual faculty within that department. Information on programs associated with a department was collected by the Center for a Public Anthropology and sent to each department chair for review. Information on individual faculty outreach activities was drawn from two sources. To have a quantitative measure across schools, the Center used the LexisNexis databases to assess to what degree individual faculty members within a department were cited in the public media. Data were gathered from both the General News/Newspapers and the General News/Magazines and Journals databases. In addition, in an effort to gather more qualititative data, faculty members within each department were offered space to record their present and past outreach activities.

National Research Council Assessment: Participants were presented with the names of the full-time faculty in a department. No other information was provided.

EVALUATION PROCEDURES

In the Public Outreach Assessment, participants were presented with four randomly selected departments (excluding their own) that they then ranked by positioning a department (through a click and drag operation on a web page) into a hierarchy with the top ranking department in public outreach highest and the lowest ranked department at the bottom. Participants could not place two schools at the same hierarchical level. Given the breadth of data assessors had to examine on each school, it was thought best to present each assessor only four departments for evaluation. (In a trial run, increasing the departments an assessor had to evaluate to five or six seemed overly burdensome to several assessors.)

In the NRC Assessment, participants were asked to grade each department on a five point scale. There were no technical restrictions on how many fives or fours a participant could record though the NRC instructions requested assessors to use five (the highest) for only 10% of the programs assessed. Each assessor ranked up to 50 anthropology departments.

SCHOOLS ASSESSED

To be included in the NRC Assessment a department had to have granted at least five doctoral degrees within the past five years. In 1993, when the NRC assessment began, there were 69 anthropology departments that fit this qualification. For the Public Outreach Assessment, I took the NRC list and added schools I perceived as probably fulfilling this “five in five” requirement. The selection was not based on hard data. I wanted to insure that several departments which had developed strong doctoral programs since 1993 were included in the assessment. Only the University of Rochester, part of the NRC assessment, was dropped from the Public Outreach Assessment. It had terminated its doctoral program and, hence, no longer fit the NRC criteria.

Of the 394 schools from which potential assessors were drawn, 323 (or 82%) of the schools had faculty members participate in the Public Outreach Assessment. The NRC Assessment drew potential assessors from all 69 schools being assessed. It did not indicate, however, which schools the 134 faculty who chose to participate in the NRC Assessment came from.

TIES BETWEEN SCHOOLS

One of the interesting differences between the two assessments is that the Public Outreach Assessment has more ties and, in its numbering, softens the separation between rankings compared to the NRC Assessment. The NRC assessment, for example, skips a ranking when two schools are tied; the Public Outreach assessment does not.

We suspect that at least part of the reason for the greater number of ties in the Public Outreach ranking derives from assessors using a four rather than a five point scale. Also, as one can see from the chart on the next page (Overlap Between Schools with Different Rankings in the 1995 Assessment), the NRC method of numerical ranking may overstate the rank order of various departments. There is considerable overlap among departments in respect to their confidence intervals.

Center for a Public Anthropology
814 Kaipii Street
Kailua, HI 96734
email: webmaster@publicanthropology.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overlap Between Schools with Different Rankings in the 1995 Assessment

(from Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States, 1995:627)