On the bright side, I’m unlikely to read anything more stupid and insulting today than this Inside Higher Ed article arguing that it would be wrong to shrink graduate programs in English, because the higher education market is Special:
When you shrink graduate student enrollments (the supply side), you inevitably also shrink the size of graduate programs, which means, willy-nilly, that you decrease tenured faculty lines (the demand side) because they are the folks teaching in grad programs. Administrators would be happy to shrink our programs and eliminate some tenured lines through attrition and retirement because new, cheaper temp hires can easily fill in to teach the few undergraduate lower-division classes that some tenured faculty teach.
Seriously, that’s it. We can’t reduce the number of grad school slots in English, because that would reduce the need for graduate teaching, and you don’t expect tenured faculty at universities to teach undergrads, do you? Heaven forfend!
There are arguments to be had about whether or not restricting graduate school slots is a real solution to the endlessly discussed problems of the academic job market. This, however, is not what you might call a shining example of the critical thinking skills arts and literature faculty so often proclaim that they teach. In fact, it’s not an argument that should ever be offered again, anywhere. Certainly not within Internet distance of people who teach undergraduates for a living.