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Thursday, April 16, 2009
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.
I suggest that they cut both: PhD students and tenured faculty. Getting rid of 20% of tenured faculty would probably save 10 times as much money as cutting 20% of PhD students. And I doubt it will have any impact on school's performance. Tenured faculty members often come to work 2 times a week. Sometimes they are gone for an entire semester "doing research in Paris".