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Hire More Statistics Professors

Williams is hiring two assistant professors in psychology and two in religion. This is a misallocation of resources. Instead, Williams ought to hire 4 statistics professors.

Why?

Roughly speaking, the number of professors in a department should be proportional to student enrollment. Right now, the average professor in Statistics at Williams teaches twice as many students each year as the average professor in the vast majority of departments, including, I think, Psychology and Religion. Check out this course enrollment information for the two junior faculty in statistics:

Brianna C. Heggeseth is teaching 86 students this fall.
Wendy Wang is teaching 60 students this fall.

And their teaching loads won’t fall much, if at all, in the spring. That is nuts! It is unfair to them and unfair to the students who want a Williams-appropriate amount of interactions with their professors.

Perhaps I am misreading this data? Contrary opinions welcome!

And, more importantly, the addition of the Statistics Major will mean a dramatic increase in the enrollment of upper level classes.

Statistics is the future and the sooner that Williams adjusts its hiring to recognize this fact, the better.

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#1 Comment By frank uible On October 3, 2014 @ 9:28 am

I ain’t got no future, but if I did, it sure wouldn’t be in a wonky subject like Statistics – I’d go where the broads are. Maybe theatre arts. Don’t you think that I’d make a good Stanley or one of them other sensitive and tortured guys.

#2 Comment By Past Eph On October 3, 2014 @ 10:58 am

So to sum up your philosophy on Williams, Williams needs more wealthy kids, fewer kids from truly disadvantaged backgrounds, fewer kids without stratospheric SATs, fewer minorities, more military veterans, and more academic emphasis placed on statistics. Overcoming obstacles in life? Evidence character, intellect, and drive in ways other than testing ability? P’shah — we don’t need ’em, because they don’t have the genetic stock, as evidenced exclusively by high SAT scores, necessary to succeed at Williams and in life! And God forbid a LIBERAL ARTS school like Williams should seek to offer well-rounded course offerings regardless of what is popular in any given years, or for that matter, teach anything not directly relevant to increasing the earning potential of its students.

In related news, I believe that Williams needs to place more emphasis on recruiting and admitting Hobbits born in South Dakota, and devote all of its resources to a major in Wizardry. And yes, I happen to be a Hobbit living in South Dakota, with a few little Hobbits who will likely be applying to Williams several years down the line, and I’m now gainfully employed as a Wizard, but that’s just a coincidence!

#3 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On October 4, 2014 @ 9:04 am

Past Eph,

My argument is fairly simple:

Roughly speaking, the number of professors in a department should be proportional to student enrollment. Right now, the average professor in Statistics at Williams teaches twice as many students each year as the average professor in the vast majority of departments, including, I think, Psychology and Religion

If you disagree, please let us know. And, to the extent that you disagree with the claim that faculty hiring should (mostly) be driven by student enrollment (and long-term trends therein), what do you think should drive it?