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lucky i came through when i did, i am

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I knew this already from the trouble that some people I’m trying to help through the Ph.D. application process are having this year, but here it is in html at Inside Higher Ed:

But there is a notable exception: Several colleges have recently announced that, regardless of application quality, they plan to admit fewer Ph.D. students for this coming fall than were admitted a year ago. The economics of doctoral education are different enough from those of other programs that some universities’ doctoral classes will be taking a significant hit, with potential ramifications down the road for the academic job market, the availability of teaching assistants, and the education of new professors.

Emory University plans a 40 percent cut in the number of new Ph.D. students it will enroll this fall. Columbia University is planning a 10 percent cut. Brown University has called off a planned increase in Ph.D. enrollments. The University of South Carolina is considering a plan to have some departments that have admitted doctoral students every year shift to an every-other-year system. These cuts are exclusively for Ph.D. programs. Terminal master’s programs and professional school programs are generally being encouraged to fill their classes; those programs are of course ones in which many universities assume students will pay most or all costs themselves, using loans as needed.

As someone who got into my Ph.D. program off of the “wait list” – and in the year of what was apparently the best (non-academic) job market in world history, 1999, when you had to be insane to take a $13,000 stipend rather than a ridiculous $100,000 job generating “content” for some “new media” outfit or other – I have a hard time fantasizing that I would have made it through the grinder if I’d been a prospective research student now. Lucky I am – don’t think I don’t know it.

You know, those of us who made it through just before the barndoor slammed shut might want to think about things that might be done to aid those still in the pipeline as the shit hit the fan. No one’s got lots of money to throw around… But I wonder what sorts of things might be done, our departments might do, hmmm…. I don’t have any specific ideas yet, but it’d be worth thinking about so as to prevent a “lost generation” effect from happening.

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 30, 2009 at 10:06 am

Posted in academia

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