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« Whale Rider | Main | Mind games »

January 20, 2004



Nor should they be allowed to take on more students than they can reasonably handle.

This sentence and the general tenor of the bullet point it ends imply tailoring grad student intake to a number that extant faculty can support. Is that done proactively, to your knowledge, or is your comment for optimality? As a medievalist grad, I know that faculty sometimes apply gentle pressure to ensure enough students are admitted in their field--because there aren't enough--but I'm not familiar with capping at the other end. Just curious.

My advisor has far too many students, due to interdepartmental issues rather than a superfluity of English grad medievalists :) so the sentence caught my eye.

(Am here after seeing your comment at Baraita the other day.)


I was speaking of the Optimal Director as opposed to the Real Director. But yes, I do think Ph.D. departments should admit only as many students as they can support--not just in terms of $, but also in terms of faculty guidance. In some cases I can think of, however, the program provides adequate support but the students all flock to the same professor (who then promises more time than s/he can give). At that point, TPTB need to intervene, gently but firmly.


I'd agree for the optimal case, certainly. Pity it isn't the Real Director or a Real Chair so that one could see how such a department balanced things in practice. Hiring additional faculty (in a dept that has room for growth and can get FTEs reliably) to balance extant grads is occasionally done, but it doesn't seem the best plan.

In my advisor's case, two recent deaths and grad-fac personal issues have forced her into taking more students than anyone would like; both the deaths and most of the issues occur(red) in other departments. It's handy that the university approved her tenure review two years ago, but as you say, time becomes the pressure point.

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