Reducing Graduate admissions??

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Sun Jun 4 21:37:34 EST 1995


(Sorry, the previuos reply was mistakenly send without
comments - apologies - Alex Berezin)  

On 3 Jun 1995, Dan Zabetakis wrote:

> 
> 
>   With all the recent talk about the hard times for PhD's and others, I
> was wondering if there are any bio departments that are actively reducing
> the number of graduate students they are taking.
 
> _increasing_ the number of graduate students. The pressure for this is
> of course from the junior faculty and mid-career faculty who want more
> and more cheap labor to work on thier projects.

I see no significant difference in a desire for a cheap labor
from junior, mid-career or senior and pre-retirement faculty.
For as long as graduate studies remain a buyers market it is
unlikely to change.  
> 
>   Are there departments who are reducing the number of grad students?

In recent decades the academic science has reached what John Ziman
("Prometheus Bound", Cambridge Univ.Press, 1993) calles "DYNAMIC
STEADY STATE". That means that the growth (# of scientists) is
more or less saturated, at least nothing resambling the post
war boom. Most people in PhD programs aspire for academic (faculty)
careers. Consequently, the DYNAMIC STEADY STATE implies that each
professor should graduate as an averasge ONE PhD student per
LIFETIME (all right, let us  allow 2 or 3 - to account for some
minor growth + the fact that not all profs supervise grad.students,
etc). 

However, the present reward system in universities encourages
as many grad. student as possible. No limits. A colleauge on
a retirement party was highly praised for having 50 PhD student
in his career. Of course, it was all fine long ago (undoubtedly,
all 50 are now PhD - employed), but now the situation change
and such proclivity is getting quite irresponsible. Nonetheless,
being a faculty I can only say all this "ex officio" - I now
of at least one case when the administartion attempted 
to PUNISH a faculty member for arguing grad.reduction in press
(not, not in my university !). So, I am afraid, to expect that
departments will start practice volunteraly birth control is
about as probable as expect the Vatican to fund abortion 
clinics. Only the clientele (potential grad.students) can,
perhaps, do something to regulate the process. Alex Berezin   

> 
> DanZ
> 
> -- 
> This article is for entertainment purposes only. Any facts, opinions,
> narratives or ideas contained herein are not necessarily true, and do
> not necessarily represent the views of any particular person.  
> 
> 
> 



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