In Winter 2014, Sara Aronowitz and I participated in the Learning Analytics Fellows seminar at the University of Michigan. Our project was to analyze undergraduate survey data collected in Winter 2013 by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sarah Buss.
Here is a (highly preliminary and informal) report of our results. In particular, one interesting finding was a statistically significant gender difference in students’ self-reported reasons for not majoring in philosophy; women were more likely than men to report that they did not find the subject interesting, and that they found it difficult to do well.
Additionally, here is a more recent presentation which includes some further analysis of our results, including:
· Over half (55%) of students who did not plan on majoring in philosophy reported that they did not do so because they worried the major would not help them achieve their post-graduate goals, including 17% who reported this as their only reason for not majoring,
· While a small percentage of students planning to major in philosophy (16%) reported interest in the subject as their only reason for doing, many more reported doing so because they thought additionally that it would help them acquire needed skills (32%), they liked the accessibility of professors in the department (19%), or both (21%).
· In open-ended responses to questions concerning the philosophy curriculum, the most common requests were for: non-Western philosophy [e.g. Indian, Islamic], courses with relevance to concrete, real-world issues [e.g. current events, popular culture], advanced logic, and philosophy of religion/theology.