Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Future of One Professioriate

I pondered just yesterday where the professing profession is going.  Here is McGill's projections:

What can we make of it? 
First, our hiring freeze is really more than that--it is not just a cap on the growth of positions but a cap on hiring, so that there is actually a decrease in the number of tenure track spots.  McGill peaked in 2008 in terms of tenure track slots.  For the next few years, the plan is to hire less than the number of folks leaving. 

Second, for some reason, they expect a big spike in departures this year and then again next year.  I have not seen any announcement of any kind of early retirement program or on-time retirement program or belated retirement program (McGill has a bunch of people beyond the normal retirement age).  And the departures have to be retirements, because it is not like there are tons of jobs out there to which disgruntled McGillians can move.

Third, at no point in the future do they plan to hire as many faculty as they were in the Aughts. After 2011, they expect retirement/departure patterns to go back to their average.  Indeed, looking at this figure and the biggest puzzle is this: what were they thinking in the Aughts?  Especially the second half?  This kind of growth was clearly unsustainable.  Not to mention the free rides that are doing to end in the next five-seven years (the Canada Research Chair funding will end for the tier 2 folks like myself as it is a ten year gig).  I also would not be surprised if the slope of the line after 2011 is flatter than this figure suggests.  Quebec, I think, is not yet done with its budget cuts.

I guess I am glad that I got in when the going was good, and that we did a great job of hiring a whole mess of Assistant Professors and a few Associates.  We are unlikely to see any additions in the near or distant future.  We will be lucky to get replacements when we have folks retire. 

Finally, this figure indicates that the Canadian academic market is not going to recover anytime soon.

It could be worse--I could work for the Kyrgyzstan government.

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