Faculty Without Students

July 21, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

I’m looking at low enrollments in some courses for the fall. The administration here pays attention to these numbers, and I may even have to cancel some sections.

So I took notice when I saw a recent paper called “Faculty Without Students: Resource Allocation in Higher Education” by William R. Johnson and Sarah Tuner.

The math department at Princeton, they report, has 58 faculty plus 8 visitors. It has 66 undergraduate math majors (a number that is nearly double what it was in 2007).

A student-faculty ratio of 1.0 or less is unusual.* But if you want to find low ratios like that, don’t go to sociology. Or any of the social sciences.

Here are two graphs from Johnson and Turner’s paper.

Click on the images if you want to actually see the graphs.

Student-faculty ratios are higher in the social sciences. They also show greater variation.

Political science is the interesting case here. Generally, the mean ratio increases with the popularity of a major. But in that case, psychology and English should have greater means and ranges than political science.

(Bleg: If anyone knows how to get Blogger to show a jpeg at a viewable size, please tell me.)

* In a post a couple of years ago, I told of my disillusionment at finding out that some “professors” never taught courses at all.


Aftersox said...

The student-faculty ratio could be worse though. I'd like to see these two plots combined into one 2-dimensional plot with the points labeled. You'd see philosophy floating out there.

For Blogger pictures - I've stopped using blogger to host pictures. I've started using TinyPic: http://tinypic.com/

Very quick and simple and then you just use the link they create.

Jay Livingston said...

Jesse, Thanks. I'll try it next time.

AV said...

about photos: Blogger automatically upload images on a Picasa webalbum, so it is possible to upload photos to Picasa, then embed images in the post at 800px and resize them by changing image properties.