February 20, 2004

Dartmouth University?

John Bruce objects (permalinks bloggered; scroll to "Dartmouth and the Ph.D. Overproduction Problem").

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at February 20, 2004 09:19 PM

my ex-college now styles itself a "university" --
without benefit of grad school ... it's actually
a straight-up "small liberal arts college" (and
as far as i can tell, it's pretty *good* at
being one of those!). just more consequences
of the american cult of the bottom line:
*naturally* professional managers lack
the kind of respect for words and their meanings
that's taken for granted by actual academics;
the question is, how did we ever decide
to let 'em *run* the doggone thing.

Posted by: vlorbik at February 21, 2004 03:36 AM

At our university the incentives are very explicit. It isn't professors ro departments that particularly want lots of PhD students but the administration thinks it will add to their prestige as an upcoming research university (already ranked #50 in the US by US News and World Report). For example, the provost mentioned the other day that someone who didn't have any grad students was turned down for tenure by him against the faculty reccommendation. The model that the university has instituted requires all grad programs to be self-financing in terms of research grant production. Cross-subsidization is not allowed anymore. They also have discouraged masters programs. And finally we have to do underhand tricks to actually allow a grad student to teach a class! The whole thing is a homocidal path for all grad programs that can't obtain sufficient external funding.

In our field (econ) the number of PhDs is falling and the salaries of new assistant profs have soared in recent years. Our program is getting very few new applicants. Given our funding situation we will be allowed 2 new students this Fall.


Posted by: moom at February 21, 2004 08:32 AM

IA, thanks as usual for the link. Saturdays are normally my slowest day, but a link from you picks things up quite well! But my question is, why are so many people hitting my site from ".edu" domains on Saturday night?? I guess I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, though. . .

Posted by: John Bruce at February 21, 2004 07:54 PM

Decades ago our state colleges got upgraded to state universities. But, they weren't allowed to hold PHD courses. Still can't.

California, the first state with four year community colleges.:)

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at February 21, 2004 11:52 PM

At my old school, we held that a university was several colleges together under one roof, one-stop shopping if you will. At my new school, the word college is used to mean an undergrad dorm building and associated social structure. In either case university implies an aggregate of colleges, which are smaller units involved in the educational mission. I've never heard of this definition of a university before; is there really a tradition that makes the distinction based on whether or not the school creates a lot of PhD's?

Posted by: AGM at February 22, 2004 08:41 AM

I posted on the college/university distinction many months ago (see this entry). There are no firm rules, but in general college connotes a tweedy, New England-y undergraduate institution, while university sounds more modern, urban and research-oriented. From the Washington Post article that I cited in my previous entry:

George Dehne & Associates, a consulting firm, found that two-thirds of prospective students said they planned to enroll in a public or private university, not college. Dehne found that universities were more highly regarded than colleges by employers and graduate schools and more likely to be credited with having better students, a better social life, greater diversity of students, greater prestige and stronger science programs.

Not surprisingly, some colleges are renaming themselves universities.

Posted by: Invisible Adjunct at February 22, 2004 09:48 AM

John Lombardi, Chancellor of UMass at Amherst, former President of the University of Florida, and an academic specialist in something like the history of university management, applies the research-and-PhD definition to university and specifically excludes primarily undergraduate institutions like Bucknell that may call themselves universities but in his opinion aren't. My post was taken from a longer piece that I abandoned as unpublishable, but I go into that definition in more depth there.

Posted by: John Bruce at February 22, 2004 10:03 AM

Worldwide I believe that the accepted definition of a university is a college that offers doctoral degrees.

Posted by: moom at February 22, 2004 10:17 AM

Usage based on the Carnegie Classification would allow (but not mandate) an institution which granted at least 20 masters degrees a year to call itself a university. Less than that, and you're a college.

Posted by: at February 22, 2004 11:39 AM

The "inflation" goes all the way down the food chain (if you'll pardon the expression). In the course of my work as an IT drone at an IHE, I had occasion to attend a meeting at a local "junior college."

Except, when I got there, I learned from the signs that they were no longer a "junior college" but a full-fledged "college." I guess all the colleges becoming universities left some room in the college ranks!

Posted by: UnderARock at February 23, 2004 10:14 AM

Ah, thanks for the info, as well as for digging through the archive. I wouldn't have known to go looking for it, that was before I knew about IA.

Posted by: AGM at February 24, 2004 06:18 AM