No Math PhD for you

WVU to cut Math PhD, and other things.

those damn bow tie wearers can’t be trusted

What other programs do they expect to get cut? The ones people actually sign up for?


Somehow, WV doesn’t strike me as the type of place that has much demand for differential geometers

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They have way too much math faculty to not have a graduate program – I expect eliminating the math PhD is a precursor to downsizing the math faculty and switching almost all of the teaching to adjuncts.

In themselves, math graduate students shouldn’t be much of an expense – the teaching I did while getting my PhD was worth far more than the waived tuition and minimal compensation. I was paid about ~$20k a year (in current dollars, with no benefits) to teach 3-4 classes a year. Grad students are a lot cheaper instructors than tenured or adjunct faculty.

TIL WVU has a math PhD program.

At the risk of admitting that I’m an elitist jerk, I feel that currently there are too many bad papers published in math journals (I would put a couple of mine in that category). I think this is partly due to too many people getting PhDs, and am not going to cry over a reduction in supply.

I think another contributing factor to crappy research is having too many schools realize that they can get more grant money if they emphasize research and publication counts more and teaching less. Combining that with wealthy alums who would rather have their names on new buildings than support academic programs, the point of college gets lost in the money hunt. There arguably needs to be a national conversation about how we handle and fund higher education.

Oh, I figured it would be the monkeys in a room on typewriters thing. The more people writing papers the higher likelihood there will be a good paper amongst the bad ones. :slight_smile:

That is a tangential point imo, I don’t think as a society we all really agree what the point of college is.


Sure, but you’ve got to find the good ones

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Well its a start. A lot of humanities programs at the university level simply don’t pay off for the students, the state, or the university. Pay off pretty well for the professors and the administration though.

If they want to make a college degree worth the money in this country again there are 3 places to start cutting: administrative staff, 4 star level hotel accommodations for students, and useless humanities programs.

I was a postdoc fellow at one of these Ivy schools. About a year in I found out I was earning about 40% of what others in my group were getting. Between grad students and postdoc fellows there is just too much cheap labour

I’ve been saying this since PBS let Bill Nye on TV

When I got a research fellowship at a good school I thought I had finally made it. Little did I know you can be completely incompetent and publish nonsense as long as you keep securing grants.

“Publish or perish” really is a thing in grad programs.

It creates perverse incentives as well.

i imagine it is really hard to attract/recruit math phd students to WVU. at least among those from the US (outside of WV). and I say that as someone who got a degree in nebraska.

Yeah, I had a post-doc for a few years (not Ivy, but as expensive as one). It paid a lot better than being a graduate instructor (not a high bar), but still a lot less than my first (entry-level) actuarial job.

I still don’t understand how people can work as full time adjunct faculty in mathematics. You get treated like garbage, paid almost nothing, and there are plenty of better options. You get some work time flexibility, but you give up a lot to get it. And while I liked teaching (and was highly reviewed by my students), seeing your students get jobs paying twice as much as your teaching salary to do a job half as well as you could do it… grates on you after a while.

I was already an actuary (FIA UK) when I did my PhD. I got employed by one of the students I had assisted with their research. Imagine how stupid I felt.

He’s right about one thing, this is the tip of the spear. Colleges and universities have already seen substantial declines from their highest enrollment levels a decade ago. The United States demographics and high demand for non degreed workers is going to continue to pressure their budgets for the foreseeable future.

Went and found an article outlining the trend. Since 2010 in the US college enrollment has dropped by 15%.

The case for college: Promising solutions to reverse college enrollment declines | Brookings.